Organizing advice is around every corner and on every newsstand. But not every organizing rule should be treated the same. There are some of my favorites like the 80/20 rule of using 20 percent of your stuff 80 percent of the time. Or the one in one out rule of when making a purchase of clothes make sure you remove an equal amount from your closet.
However there are bits of organizing advice that I think are just plain silly and some are just straight up lies society tells us.
The most prevalent organizing lie that we are told is to only touch paper clutter once. Are you kidding me? If I did that, I would never get my mail out of my mail box. I would be overwhelmed with anxiety each time I make the walk to the end of my driveway. I would wonder what sort of paper hell would great me in the box.
I don’t know how it is humanly possible to only touch paper once. For example if I was to get my electric bill in the mail, I would open it, read it and then put it in a pile to pay another day. Under the only touch it once rule I would need to sit down and pay it right then. But in order to pay it I would need to check my bank balance, find my check book, realize that I am out of stamps and decide to just call it in and pay online.
And then I think about the fact that I should be receiving statements online and why am I even going to my mailbox. So then I decide to sit down and signup for paperless billing. Then I remember I have to make dinner and I am only supposed to touch this dumb piece of paper once. So I throw it in a pile and get frustrated. My solution of my only touch paper clutter once is I hand the whole pile to my husband and have him deal with it. Done!
The second lie that people are sold is that if they have the perfect container will make the clutter go away. While I love shopping at the Container Store I know it never made me more organized. If anything I left feeling overwhelmed and inadequate.
In all my years of organizing I have found one organizing container that helps contain clutter and that is the garbage bag. That is the truth. Grab a garbage bag and start filling it with stuff that you no longer use or does not spark joy.
If you walk around every area of your house with a garbage bag I guarantee you will not need that perfect container. Take those filled garbage bags and drop them off at your local donation or consignment shop. You will find that your drawers and closets are less full. So when you get the urge to buy the perfect container, pause for a minute and walk around your home with a garbage sack and get ready to donate!
Finally my favorite lie is to tidy for a few minutes a day. Are you kidding me? My house is super organized and even I need more than a few minutes a day. Well, really if I put everything away right away I wouldn’t need more than a few minutes to tidy. But for the most part people are so overwhelmed with that dang paper clutter it just continues to pile up. It is going to take more than a few minutes to tidy.
I have found that the only way to get this whole tidy thing to work is to get the whole family involved. My husband had it down to a science when our boys were little. He would just sit on the floor and point to where the toys would go. I wish I could do that now, just point and have someone put the things away. Oh wait, I do. I am looking at her reflection of my computer screen. It starts with me. I am the messy one in the house. I am the one who needs to tidy. Dang, I was hoping I could just snap my fingers and have the organizing fairy come to my house too.
So before you start jumping on the organizing band wagon remember that not everything you are told is correct. Use your lifestyle to determine what would work for you. Just remember to not beat yourself up and to be kind to yourself on the organizing journey.