Friday, November 6, 2009

Organization is the Key

I am not an organized person-there, I said it, and isn’t that the first step in overcoming a personal shortcoming? I wish it were that easy. I read somewhere that neatness is not a hereditary trait, but I strongly disagree-I am the product of two slightly disorganized parents, sister to three disorderly siblings, and I have attracted an equally unsystematic spouse, although he will never admit it. He often quotes the phrase, “Organization is the key,” whenever I am in a panic over some misplaced item, but he never finishes this saying-he stops there and I want to know the key to what? Is it happiness, success, individual fulfillment-maybe knowing the answer to this could help spark a change?

I am not an organized person and I wish I could change all that, truly I do. Somehow I do manage to keep it together at work, often resorting the “pile” approach for student papers and paperwork-this pile needs graded, this pile can be handed back, and this pile is, well, um… it’s “miscellaneous.”

However, I am not an organized person at home, and I often refer to my husband and myself as Mr. and Mrs.“Piles” because there are more areas than just our computer desk that have a pile of papers. It’s almost as if these piles are reproducing, you know, this pile got together with this other pile and they created these piles? And these papers do not belong to either one of us-these papers come from the little people in our lives and are various graded assignments, fliers about soccer and cheerleading, information about upcoming events at the school, and artwork of various shapes and sizes. If you are the proud parents of a primary grade student you know exactly what I am referring to. Every day I empty at least 10 papers out of my son’s daily folder, so multiply that by 5 days, then 4 weeks, that’s 200 papers a month and one heck of a lot of trees biting the dust!

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not an organized person so I can’t blame my children’s school for my lack of organizational skills. Once a week I sort and purge things down to one pile by my computer, and sometimes this is an insurmountable task, but I get through it and get things ready for the new piles the next Monday. I have to be a little sneaky when it comes to the school papers though-my son is very proud of all his work and doesn’t want to part with any of it, even the drill exercises. If I let him have his way, we might be living inside one of those piles of papers, so I put these papers inside other paper piles when I am actively tossing, and as long as he doesn’t see them sitting in the trash, I am home free. (I didn’t do this once and he came running into my room waving his papers and demanding to know why I threw them out-no amount of explaining eased his hurt feelings so I still have these-somewhere in a pile…) I have also learned to be more selective when it comes to what art pieces I keep because even though I love that macaroni collage with its missing macaroni pieces, I reserve space for the bigger projects. I can do this after child number two but couldn’t with child number one…

So what started me ranting and raving about how I am not an organized person (did I say that already?)? Well I had everything else organized on Thursday-I got home early, got dinner together and we ate early, helped the kids with their homework, and I was planning on taking a long, leisurely bath (my time out for Theta mom) when my husband jumps up saying he forgot about the soccer registration (the last day to register was last night). So I helped get the shoes and coats while my husband looked in the files for our son’s birth certificate, but then the looking turned to searching, and the searching turned to panicking because the elusive birth certificate could not be found anywhere. We had my daughter’s birth certificate, we had both baptismal certificates, marriage certificate, you name any other certificate and we had it. My husband went to register anyway and the coach gave us a two-week reprieve, but it’s a $10 replacement cost if we don’t find it-which I guess is not that bad, but we know that thing's in this house somewhere. And what about my leisurely bath? My husband does not have the best searching skills (just ask his mother), so I was sure I would find that blasted piece of paper while he was gone, but I couldn’t find it either, and it took so long to put everything back in order that I had to settle for a measly shower instead. (Disorganization =1, Susan = 0, but maybe I shouldn’t keep score...)

Sigmund Freud once said,
"Out of clutter, find Simplicity. From discord, find Harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."
Maybe all of this is a sign that I need to develop a better system for organizing our stuff, or maybe it isn’t. Maybe I’ll think about it tomorrow-now where did I put that store list?


  1. Organization is my arch nemesis! I'm awful at it. I can't even organize myself to find someone to organize me!

  2. I love how you say, "Mr. and Mrs. Piles". I have to find a simple way to get through all those piles and piles of school paperwork that my kids bring home. There has to be an easier way!

    Great post!

  3. I had to laugh. This sounds like me! I can never find anything. I'm currently on the hunt for my son's SS card. I know he has one. Where the heck did I put it? WHy wouldn't I have put it with everyone elses? And the piles of scribbled on papers...oh. I don't have the heart to throw them away, but what do I do with them? Right now there is a pile of STUFF balanced precariously on the table next to me. I need to go through it, but I don't want to. Because in it, I will no doubt find bills that I did not pay or registrations that I missed.

    Oh why, oh why can't I be organized?? Is there some organization gods/temples that I can go make offers to??

  4. I did a little more reading about people who were disorganized, and it's the creative types that suffer the most, so it's no wonder all of you can relate to this-or we all have ADD. (I prefer the first reason...)


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