Realistic Organizing

“A cluttered space, is a cluttered mind.”

I love organization books and have read just about every book that has been published on the subject.  I can tell you the good, the bad, the ugly, the unrealistic, the inspiring, etc.  This is the due to the fact that I like to organize EVERYTHING.  Everything should have a home, a space, a spot and this not only includes “stuff” but space for our families, our hobbies, family time, etc.  We organize time, our days, our lives.

A new recent (just published in September), hot off the press, The Home Edit book just came to my doorstep about a few weeks ago.  The cover has white space, color, organized color (may I add) and just looking at, makes me sigh and excited to read through.  As I turned the beautifully, staged photos, and read the entertaining content, I am struck by the fact that there is no way that some of this organizational inspiration will work for our home, my family, our stuff, etc. 

I love white! But I can’t do white organizers of any kind with kids.  I sat there and stared at a photo of a junk drawer that was organized magically with a white plastic organizer and true to form, everything had a space or home (if it does not, it lands in a clutter pile or this is how a junk drawer starts, with stuff that does not have a home) but I don’t want to clean that white organizer out weekly and then be frustrated with black marks, hand prints, spots, etc. on it.


Organization is not about fancy organizers, storage boxes, etc.  Most authors will discourage you from running out to purchase all the containers possible at the Container Store however, their artfully crafted photos in their books show that they did go make those purchase’s to organize their spaces or at least for the book/staged photos. 

I struggle between reality and wanting everything to be beautifully and artfully organized. A few realistic organization tips that I have learned to adapt too that are doable:

Don’t look at too many organizational books; they are beautiful, inspiring, but also unrealistic.  Who has time clean out white and clear organizers that get full of dust and hair?  Or that children with dirty hands touch all the time?  Am I right here?  Look at those books to get ideas but keep in mind that these are professional organizers, who are organizing the homes of the rich and famous half the time.  They all live in white carpet homes with clear organizer boxes because someone cleans for them. (sigh).

Don’t buy clear organizers.  I have tried this.  They get dirty quick; you can’t hide anything.  Which I know is the purpose, if you can see it, you will clean it and organize it.  However, this is unrealistic for me.  I also cannot organize all my pantry by color which looks beautiful in clear containers but who really does this? 

Organizing a kid’s room, supplies, toys, etc. by color… I love the idea, the beauty, the groupings of art supplies, matchbox cars, and crayons by color but I KNOW my kids will not honor this system.  Point at hand: I spent 3 days color sorting Legos.  3 DAYS! And you know how long those Legos stayed organized by color, maybe a month.  Any my son was scared to play with them because or he was going to mess up the organization.  How silly!!! He needs to feel free to play and build!

If you live in rural America, the chances of you keeping anything white clean are very small.  I live on a gravel road as well, so the house is coated in dust all the time.  Dust makes it way into the house and covers and sticks to most things that are white or it is easier to see the dust in or on white surfaces.  Any shelving, containers, organizers, etc. that are white are great places for dust to rest.  I have learned that buying white and clear boxes and organizers sets me up for failure and more work.   

Pick small organization goals each month or tackle one big project per month.  Like a room or space.  I tackled the pantry in September and in October, it will be one of boys’ rooms due to the holidays coming up and his birthday.  Everything needs cleaned and sorted but not in one day, weekend or month.  But this makes more sense to me than picking monstrous projects that take a ton of time and energy.  Baby steps.

I hope that you keep on plugging away with your home organization and keep up the good fight with clutter!  I have been told that a cluttered space is a cluttered mind.  But make it manageable and realistic.  Don’t aim for the stars unless you have the time and money to do so and if so, good for you!  If you want white and clear organizers, go for it!  But for those who do not, no worries!  Fight the clutter however you feel works best for your time, money and family.    

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