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The Benefits and Psychology of Being Organized

Do you need help organizing your possessions? Do you ever wonder why your belongings are where they are?

I simply put my stuff where it is most accessible to me when needed. Seems to work well for me. Then again I am not a fan of having much stuff around, especially gadget-y and non functional things. I love tools and they need to be handily available to me when needed.

Karl Weick

Karl Weick wondered so much about all this he devoted his life to this subject! Profesor Weick, born in 1936 in Indiana, is an American organizational theorist and acclaimed professor and author at many acclaimed universities. His curiosity led to the introduction of the concepts of mindfulness and organizational studies, to name a couple of his accomplishments.

Weick explained that mindfulness is when we realize our current expectations, continuously improve those expectations based on new experiences and information, and implement those expectations to improve the current situation into a better one.

Does it make sense?

I did a modest kitchen renovation lately and I had the opportunity to put this pull out spice drawer right up against my oven range. Why? It just made so much sense to have a pull out spice rack near the stove!

This is hilarious actually because cooking is something I avoid at all costs. The sillier part is when I do cook I use home grown herbs. But hey! It makes great sense to have spices near the cooking food that needs seasoning! Right?

I have read and studied a lot about this business of organizing, my own stuff as well as stuff in other peoples homes and businesses. This subject fascinates me. Like why would someone leave the dogs grooming tools 3 rooms away from where they actually groom the dogs?

Organization and Patterns

Apparently I am not the only one that has thought about this. When reading and engaging others on this topic I am learning this is a universal experience of wondering why people’s possessions are where they are. Who knew so many among us have the longing to understand the organization and patterns around us.

I thought I was the only one wondering about the factors and motivations that lead to the specific placement of items and trying to decipher the reasoning behind, for example, the dog grooming tools 3 rooms away from the dog grooming area.

Understanding why you put what where

light bulb moment

Better Organization:

When we understand why objects are placed where they are, we can develop better organizational strategies. By considering factors such as convenience, accessibility, and personal preferences, we can optimize the arrangement of our belongings to create more efficient and functional spaces. This can save time and effort in locating and accessing items, leading to increased productivity and a sense of order.

Personalization:

Object placement is a reflection of our individuality and personal preferences. By understanding the factors that influence our placement choices, we can better express our personality and create spaces that align with our aesthetic tastes and emotional connections. This allows us to personalize our environment and make it more comfortable, functional and meaningful.

Connection and communication

The placement of objects can communicate information about our interests, activities, and values to others. Understanding the factors influencing object placement helps us become more aware of the messages we are sending through our arrangements. It can also enhance our ability to interpret and understand the choices made by others, fostering better communication and connection.

Insight into Psychology and Behavior

Where we put our things can provide insights into our behavior, habits, and psychological patterns. By examining our placement choices, we may uncover underlying motivations, emotional attachments, or cognitive biases that influence our organization style.

This self-awareness can lead to personal growth and a better understanding of ourselves and our relationship with our possessions. I love the underlying motivation piece!

Empathy and ability to assist others

Understanding the factors influencing where our stuff lives allows us to approach others with empathy and compassion.

When encountering individuals who struggle with clutter or disorganization, having insight into the possible reasons behind their choices can help us offer support, guidance, or assistance in a non-judgmental manner. It enables us to provide practical solutions and help them create more harmonious living spaces.

The psychology of object placement

Personal Preference

A persons taste, aesthetics is why some folks put stuff where they put it. Sentimental reasons are another.

Convenience and accessibility

This is me. I am a ridiculously organized person always looking for a more efficient way to do things. If I had to look around the whole house or my art studio every time I needed something I would cry due to frustration.

I need things right where I am working on any given task. My home and studio are set up with one thing in mind, creating efficient, functional and relaxing spaces.

As you may have guessed my dog grooming tools are within reach of the table I use to groom my dogs. It would never occur to me to put the tools elsewhere. Like the spice rack near the stove, that little space that just cried out for a spice rack!

Habitual Placement

They say it takes a couple of weeks for a habit to become habit. Whenever I train the dogs a new behavior, I repeat the same exact thing for a period of 2 weeks. It works. Unless, of course, a squirrel or rabbit is in nearby!

Good habits

By returning objects to where they belong we create consistent patterns and habits which will serve us well by making us more efficient and less frustrated. In other words when I need say a pair of scissors I am not really thinking about this because it is my habit to reach in my drawer to get the scissors. In this case the habit is great!

Not so good habits

On the other hand if you have a set bunch of not so good habits it may take a while to break them. Try asking yourself the next time you can’t find something if it wouldn’t make more sense to put the object in a designated place every time for easy retrieval. Perhaps leaving car keys by the door you exit when getting into your vehicle will make life easier?.

Seeing some of what I have seen in others homes would even have St Anthony scratching his head looking for it. I think it would be really pleasing to you to try forming new helpful efficient habits especially if it only takes 2 weeks time – which may or may not be the case.

Environmental factors

The spice rack stove thing falls within the physical environment category because the space I designated for spices is just too perfect a space for it. Who knows maybe having this pull out drawer of spices handy will one day make me enjoy cooking more?

Spatial design

If you have ever worked with a kitchen designer they will always want to design your kitchen in a triangular pattern because it is deemed to be the most efficient way to lay out a kitchen. This is called a spatial design.

The same is true with furniture. Spatial design can either facilitate or hinder organization.

Organizational Systems

As a person helping others to declutter their spaces I am loathe to suggest totes to store stuff in as well as storage facilities because often this a way to feel good about keeping a whole bunch of stuff you really don’t need or want aka clutter. Storage containers are the last step when decluttering.

I definitely recommend finding an efficient place in your home, room by room, drawer by drawer to store your things when not in use. Make it your habit to use and return object to this place each and every time. This will save you so much time and energy! Set up your spaces in a manner that works for you, your needs and preferences.

If you still struggle with clutter issues

I understand how real the struggle is for you. It is very challenging to learn how to let go. This can be done. You just need to practice the principals of letting go.

Emotional Attachment and Psychological Factors:

Some folks have very real emotional attachments to possessions and may need professional help to understand and learn how to live clutter free.

We are so lucky today to have doctors dedicate their whole careers helping others with psychological conditions like hoarding disorder, OCD, and ADHD that can contribute to clutter. These are real maladies and require our understanding and empathy to suffering individuals.

Practical Steps for Breaking Through Clutter

Decluttering for improved organization comes first. Start small, set realistic goals, and seek support if needed.

Pick up one object

Ask yourself ‘is this object still serving me?’ If it is keep it and find a sensible place to store object. If this piece no longer works for you get rid of it. Either discard, donate or sell.

If you can’t make a fast decision about what category your object belongs in throw it away. Be done with it once and for all. You are establishing new habits! Give yourself a hearty pat on your back! Then pick up another object and do the same thing!

Clutter free, organized and efficient are the goals

It is important our homes and work spaces are organized, clutter free and efficient. So many of us got an up front and closer look at this during the pandemic lock down. Many did not like what they saw.

Remember how hard it was to purchase certain office furnishings? The pandemic forced us all to slow down. Maybe for the first time ever some people really saw their surroundings and decided change was needed.

Organized or distracted?

We feel better in clean and organized surroundings. We work better because we are less distracted. It is healthier because clutter has a bunch of ill effects on our health

Life is easier and less stressful in organized and clutter free homes. I understand how hard this can be with an unwilling partner, or family member and roommates. There are tried and true strategies to overcome different situations.

Additionally there is professional help available. I hope if you can’t work this out yourself you will seek counsel. No shame!

Do you need help?

If organizing is a mystery to you, does not come natural and you want help there is help available. If you can’t stand the clutter surrounding you and don’t know where to start try this … pick up 1 object, whatever object is closest to you now and ask yourself ‘is this item serving me?’ How is this item serving you?

Answer these questions honestly and then make a decision to keep, donate, sell or discard item in trash. It really is this simple. It may be the quantity of stuff that has you feeling overwhelmed. Taking care of 1 object a day is 365 objects in a year!

Function or beauty?

Nothing gets in my space unless it is functional or so aesthetically pleasing I just can’t live without it. By the way the latter seldom happens except when I want to bring something home from the beach, walking trails or another artist’s studio.

Organizing spaces for efficiency

I tend to have a hand in many different things. It would be impossible to enjoy all these things if I was constantly frustrated and stressed out due to an inefficient layout of space and chaotic disorganization of all the things I need to accomplish when creating.

Reorganize every now and then

I am lucky.and think I must have been born organized because I love decluttering spaces, mine, yours, it makes no difference to me. I love organizing! I wonder if it is the artist in me.

I have an artist friend that I came to find does the same thing I do when creatively blocked. We both tear our studios apart and clean and reorganize! Why? Maybe the space just isn’t working for me that day or could it be because as we change our spaces need to change with us? All I know is every time I do this I get a bunch of new design ideas and am ready to start fresh!

Marj pic

Marj Bates is a life long ridiculously organized declutterer and artist. Less is more are words Marj lives by in everything she does except collecting dogs. “Dogs are like potato chips! Can’t have just one.” says Marj. Marj wonders if growing up with a fanatically clean Jewish mom means her decluttering and organizational skills are in her blood.

For more Declutter Buzz & Freebies check out our safe and private Decluttering community on our Facebook page. We are a safe and private space of like minded folks tackling this all encompassing clutter thing once and for all. No shame allowed! We will have a few laughs too!

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