No doubt about it – organizing and decluttering have become household words – you say them and pretty much everybody knows what you’re talking about. But that doesn’t mean that everyone’s definition of “organized” is or should be the same. We all know that it’s easier to get somewhere when you know where you’re headed. So whether you’re on your own organizing journey or trying to help someone else, it helps to step back and think about your organizing vocabulary, most importantly, what it means to you to “be organized.”
When we organize, we create order and structure by putting some thought into how to set up our world – our space, our time, and our behaviors. When we organize, we get our “stuff” together, so we can be more efficient and intentional in the way we conduct our lives, leaving more space and time for what we enjoy most.
Being organized means something different to everyone. And it’s important to remember that people have different levels of organization that make them happy as well as different levels of tolerance for the amount of stuff in their space. Here are some examples of what organized means to different people:
- Feeling in control of your space, possessions and time
- Maintaining simple, streamlined and clean spaces
- Having a place for everything and everything in its place
- Making time to relax and pursue hobbies beyond the daily “work” of life
- Meeting deadlines and getting where you need to be on time
- Feeling calm, cool and collected
Clutter is generally anything that stands between you and your definition of organized. Clutter is a symptom of being less than optimally organized. It can be physical or mental, but we most often talk about physical clutter. Physical clutter is stuff you don’t need, use or love. Mental clutter is anything in your head that keeps you from moving toward your organized state. Going through the process of organizing your physical stuff will help you identify and work on your mental clutter too.
Decluttering, also known as purging or tossing, is the process of getting rid of items you don’t need, use or love. It is one piece of the organizing puzzle that can and should occur during all phases of the organizing process.
So whether you love piles or clear surfaces, getting comfortable with your destination organization will help you know what’s working for you and what you can work on to get there!