When faced with a pile of papers, or a closet full of clothes, do you struggle with how to organize them? Do you sometimes procrastinate because you are afraid of doing it wrong?
In this context I am using “organize” synonymously with “categorize”. The process of creating more space in your life also includes purging the things you no longer use, need, or value.
Let me give you some examples. I will suggest a few ways to organize and let you guess the right way.
Insurance Papers: File by Home, Auto, and Health? Or, by Farmers, AAA, and Blue Cross? Or, lump together under “Insurance”, as suggested in How to Create Your Own Simple Filing System?
Clothing: Hang together by function (i.e. dresses, tops, and bottoms)? By color? By style? How about by outfit, or casual versus dressy?
Photos: Sort by date? By subject? By event? The standard digital photo renaming format is Year-Month-Day-Who-What-Where, but you may not need, or want, to use that level of detail.
Professional organizers sometimes lead an exercise in which individuals or small groups organize an identical selection of items such as LEGO bricks. Some organize them by piece type, some by color, and some by size.
Have you guessed the answer yet?
Q: What is the right way to organize?
A: There is no right way! The only way that matters is the way that works for you. In all cases it depends on your goals, how much stuff and space you have, and how your brain works. That’s why in Six Organizing Systems Everyone Needs I don’t tell you how to do it. I ask a series of questions designed to help you figure out how you want to do it. That’s because you won’t keep the system up if it doesn’t make sense to you!
If there IS a wrong way, it would be the way that is so complicated that you don’t use it. The more categories you have, the harder it will become, not easier, to find what you are looking for. It depends, of course, on what it is, and how much you have of it. Sometimes you do need more categories.
The right way for you might not be the way I do it, either. How organized am I? I’m organized enough, and not one bit more. My job, as a professional organizer, is to help you create the right organizing system for YOU!
Do you worry about doing it wrong?
Have you found the right way for you? Do you need help?
Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
Copyright 2017 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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