I used to often be embarrassed by the state of my house. It wasn’t terrible — just cluttered and very, very lived-in. My I need to see it/drop and run styles were in evidence in many places and on many flat surfaces. Having visitors required either hours dedicated to finding homes for things and putting them in those places or a frantic dash through the house to grab and stash.
These days, I’m embarrassed a lot less often.
If you were expecting me to say I’m never embarrassed, I hope you’re not shocked or disappointed. The fact is that knowing about organizing — and even writing about organizing — is different from doing it.
When it comes to organizing (and keeping things uncluttered) the “doing” is often hampered by real-life obstacles. Things like time, space and conflicting priorities lead us to take shortcuts that feel comfortable in the moment (like dropping and running, cramming and jamming or putting things somewhere), but that lead to piles and clutter we end up having to tackle later on.
Organizing is not a one-and-done process. (Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it were?) Balancing what comes in with what goes out in a timely fashion requires consistent time and attention. As long as both time and attention are plentiful, things go relatively smoothly. But, when we get busy or overwhelmed or other priorities emerge, it’s easy for things to pile up. Quickly.
When it comes to organization, no matter how much I learn and how much I write about it, I remain a work in progress. Some days, it’s hard not to see this through the lens of failure — as though simply understanding what I need to do will get the job done.
But it won’t. Although knowledge alone is insufficient to keep my surfaces clear, there is one piece of information that helps me keep things in perspective — one that I remind myself of almost daily.
It’s a process.
Copyright 2019 Lisa Hess