Tidying vs. organizing


Hello all,

I’ve just completed a makeover of my studio. I’m including some before and after pics below.

I’m also reading a book called The LIfe-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the Japanese art of un-cluttering and organizing. There are some fundamentally good principals in this book. I think I should share some of them with you, my kind readers. The author Marie Kondo, suggests that one should never tidy and organize the entire house, or an entire room all at once, but rather should organize and tidy by category gradually.

You should start with socks and work your way to personal papers, and then do memorabilia last. Things with sentimental value and/or things that are rare should be the very last and take the longest to winnow.

Good Grief! And THIS is organized.
Good Grief! And THIS is organized.

What struck me most in reading this book was that she says, getting organizers (all those plastic drawers!) to store everything neatly in is, in reality, just another way to hoard things.

I never considered myself a hoarder. I think of those ghastly reality television shows with those poor people who can’t move for the mess in their houses! That’s not me, no, definitely not me.

What about all my teapots, my music boxes, and my books? I’m allowed to “collect”, right? Right. Collecting is another topic. Not according to the dictionary.

Hoard  1. a secret store of valuables or money. synonyms include accumulate, amass, and collect. Hmmmm. *sad face

 

Am I a secret hoarder? I decided to put this theory of hoarding to the test. I thought instead of starting with socks, (I can hold all my sock pairs in two hands), I would start with office supplies. Office supplies hold no sentimental value. Breaking this down by category, I pulled out all the pens from drawers in my studio, then out from all the drawers all over the house, my husbands office, gulp! in the kitchen. Goodness! We had so many pens. There was a pile six inches deep and three feet wide on our dining room table. Whoops.

So here I am beginning to take things off the walls. The blue is my "timeline" for books I'm working on. I line the chapters up to organize and stick them on.
So here I am beginning to take things off the walls. The blue is my “timeline” for books I’m working on. I line the chapters up to organize and stick them on.

 

So I’ve gone through and trashed all the ones that didn’t work well, then I filled all the pen holders in the house, and then I put the remaining pile in baggies for my church pre-school. The teachers are always looking for the allusive, working Sharpie.

But wait! That’s not all. While searching for pens I found we had four boxes of paper clips, eight boxes of staples, four staplers, way too much tape, and when I stacked the sticky note pads one atop the other, the stack stood fourteen inches high. Double whoops. While in the bedroom I found a lot of old prescription glasses. What to do with them? I don’t know.

So here I've painted my shelves. These were floor baseboards in this 100 year-old-house.
So here I’ve painted my shelves. These were floor’s baseboard in this 100 year-old-house.

So I’ve got some tidying to do. I’m not talking about organizing, I’m really pretty organized (mainly because I have so many boxes and whatnot drawers to hide things in). I’m talking about piling things up and deciding how I’m going to get them out of my house. Apparently, I’m realizing, I’ve got more than I will ever use.

This is where the computer and printers were.
This is where the computer and printers were

 

Now, the author of the tidying book says I should touch everything individually and wish it a better life elsewhere, and give it a kiss. Look, if you hear that I’m talking to inanimate objects you have my permission to call the white-coated folks. If I’m that emotionally attached I’ll just keep it. Seriously.

 

Now before, the walls were cream and the shelves blue, now the walls are blue and the shelves white. I like this better.
Before, the walls were cream and the shelves blue, now the walls are blue and the shelves white. I like this better.
Ack! Ack! Okay, so the mess under the desk is my scrapbooking yet to be done pile. But this is the gorgeous new corner (behind the door) for my computer and printers.
Ack! Ack! Okay, so the mess under the desk is my scrapbooking yet to be done pile, but this is the gorgeous new corner (behind the door) for my computer and printers.
This was where the computer used to be. Now it's my art only corner. Note I painted a chalkboard onto the wall between the shelves. This will be my new timeline.
This was where the computer used to be. Now it’s my art only corner. Note I painted a chalkboard on the wall between the shelves. This will be my new timeline.
This is where the first picture was taken. This is now the sewing corner, though I don't know how much sewing I'll ever get to, here's hoping.
Remember the first picture? This is now the sewing corner, though I don’t know how much sewing I’ll ever get to. Here’s hoping.
And THIS is just for grins.
And THIS is just for grins.

 

 

8 thoughts on “Tidying vs. organizing”

  1. Fantastic!! Will you come do mine? Pretty please??? I have a whole house to do.  Haha! Thanks for the inspiration.

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  2. Those are some interesting concepts. Actually almost all my clutter consists of paper I have left out to remind me to do something with it. Then a stack has been sitting on, say, the coffee table so long I decide to get it out of sight, so I stick it under the bed, but close enough to the edge so I will see it when I’m sitting on my little shoe tying bench before I make the bed, “so I won’t forget it altogether.” Now there’s a clear spot on the coffee table, and I begin to stack new papers there. It probably wouldn’t take all that long to go through all the paper and either deal with it, trash/recycle it or file it. Maybe a couple full days work. But I love my real work so much, I’d rather be writing my next book. Maybe I can adapt your book’s method by choosing one category of paper, such as things to file, pick them out of the piles and file them. Then reward myself with some writing time. Then another category of paper, and so forth.

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    1. I agree. That’s a good start. I just couldn’t believe how many pens of every kind I found around the house. I am going through old manuscripts today to see which ones I will likely proceed to work on or which ones are really just blathering nonsense!! LOL!

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      1. I have found a great way to address two things at once. One is sorting paper clutter into categories: deal with it, file it, shred it, or recycle it. Second: I love watching the Astros games, but most of the time seems wasted while the announcers scrounge for things to talk about between pitches. Lately, I sort paper while watching the game. So far, so good.

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      2. These are good suggestions. It reminds me of what my sis-in-law said when she was explaining WHY she loved ironing. (really??!!?) She would turn on the television to some mindless game-show and iron while she tried to beat the contestants. LOL!

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