What does it mean to be organized?
January is National Get Organized Month, so the question is pertinent: What does it mean to be organized? Author A.A. Milne said, "Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up."
As convoluted as it sounds, I think A.A. really nailed it. You organize before you do anything else. It's the system you put in place for stuff to go through, so you know where it all is, and it's not all mixed up.
Here's a link to several other people's definitions of organizing. Words pop up like "efficiency" and "simplicity."
Here's a loftier view: "Order is the shape upon which beauty depends." —Pearl S. Buck.
I like that one because it emphasizes the context that organization creates. Let's take interior design. If everything is asymmetrical, then asymmetry has no meaning. It can only have an effect when it's played against symmetry.
So, let's say you have a fireplace with a mantle, and there's a bookcase to either side. On the mantel, left of center, you place a vase of tulips. Step back, and what stands out? The tulips.
But if you have a big window on one side and a bookcase on the other, the brain doesn't register the tulips as taking center stage (if you'll forgive the phrase). The brain sees an asymmetrical scene.
Getting back to the initial process of organizing... When we help clients organize, our mantra (and, in fact, our motto) is "simplify." The first thing we do is to subtract the unnecessary. Once that's done, we take a second look. Often, clients are astounded at the difference, once the space is pared down. They then can frequently take it from there. All the unnecessary stuff blinded them from the easier task at hand.
How do you know when you are organized? Do you have a technique? Do you feel lost and overwhelmed? I would love to hear from you, by comment here or via email.