Organized Thursday: Do Your Emotions Affect How Organized You Are?

Are you an organized person? Sometimes? All the time? Not often?
Do you get organized in bursts and starts, excited when things seem to be in line, with trouble staying on top of them after a while?

I consider myself to be an organized person, and I would answer those questions with "Sometimes" and "Yes." To me being organized that means I have an active "system" that I rely on and periodically tweak. My system keeps me organized so that I don't have to spend so much time doing it myself. I don't take time every day (or every week) to sort through things, and I'm not so good about putting things away in their proper home. Instead I use what I think of as a Holding Bin System. If I have papers that need attention, they go in my "Active" folder on my desk so that they don't get lost. Clean laundry goes in a basket on the appropriate floor (downstairs for Jeff and me, upstairs for the girls). Miscellaneous items that need fixing or need to be returned or given to people have a place on the kitchen counter. Things pile up in the assigned holding bin, and after a while I take some time to go through the folder/pile/basket.

I've noticed through the years that I tend to sort through those piles for a few simple reasons:

1. I have bills to pay or time sensitive things that need some attention (this applies to my "Active" folder).

2. Company is coming (this applies to the laundry baskets and kitchen counter pile).

3. Things have piled up so high that it no longer seems like I have a clean house with a pile here and there, instead it seems like I have a house full of piles.

4. I WANT to.

It's only recently that I've paid more attention to the meaning of #4. When I start to feel like I want to get more organized (and it's not because of numbers 1-3 above), it's a signal to me that my emotions are driving my actions. This happened just the other day. I cleaned out all of the file folders on my desk (the ones I currently add to on a regular basis - activities for the girls, church business, work stuff). I purged, sorted and filed. After I finished the files, I moved on to the desk drawers. And finally, the magazine/reading material basket. Those are my paperwork "hotspots," the places where things tend to congregate and get stuck. I did it because I suddenly decided that I wanted to know what was in those files, drawers and basket; where things could be found; and because I wanted to unload the things I didn't want anymore.

Boy, that felt good.

I do this every few months. I used to view it as a fresh start, a time to get organized "once and for all." I'll tell you, looking at it that way set me up for failure. I've come to realize that I don't want to spend a day getting organized and then stay that way all the time. It's just not my style. It makes me uncomfortable to have to put things away every day. Besides, I have a million other things to do. I like to semi-clean up every day, moving things to a holding bin close to their final destination, with the promise that someday, for some reason, they'll find a home.

My emotions are always changing. I have ups and downs, more energy some days, less on others. My desire to keep things orderly is an indicator of how I feel. After taking this past week to lay low, say "no" to new requests for my time, energy and creativity, and focus on myself and my family, I'm finding that my desire to clean things out is growing strong. I've given myself a break from life, and I'm getting ready to bounce back. Weeks from now (or maybe months), when I'm feeling rushed and overwhelmed, I'll look around at the tall piles of stuff in my home and I guarantee that I won't have the desire to clean anything out. That's okay, I know that it will cycle back around. In the meantime, I'm still an organized person.


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About Me

My name is Jillian. I started this blog as a way to experiment with my camera and it's a become a nice little spot where I enjoy spending time. I'm a mother to 6 and 4 year old daughters, wife to a cool computer guy, and mama to a cuddly cat. We enjoy eating local, organic food; managing several food allergies; homeschooling with love; spending time in nature; and we love to take time each day to be creative. You can also find me over at From Scratch Club from time to time. Welcome!