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Practical Organization: Reality vs. Fantasy

Arranged to within an inch of its life.

Arranged to within an inch of its life.

Practical Organization: Reality vs. Fantasy

I love looking at beautifully organized rooms with everything color-coordinated and arranged in artful perfection. I even occasionally think about how nice it would be to have a collection displayed like the one to the right. The cars are all organized by color (according to the electromagnetic spectrum!) with every item the same style – even the spacing is done artistically. Then I wake up and remember that I live in the real world where I don’t have matching everything and am not going to want to spend my time putting every car back in the right place when playtime is over. I’m also not going to want to dust it. That’s my reality.

One of the first things I do with a client is to figure out where s/he is on that continuum in their fantasies, and where s/he needs to be in reality. They aren’t always the same thing.

For example, one person wanted to keep 10 pairs of one kid’s sneakers and shoes by the door (a shoe diva in the making). I’m sure the mother had an image of neatly lined up sneakers (maybe according to the color spectrum!) with the laces artfully draped inside each. But her reality was that she had a busy family of four who would constantly be walking near the sneakers, knocking them around unintentionally. The sneakers would be tripped over, with dirt/snow/mud from them tracked all over the place.

So instead, I suggested that she keep them all in a nice-looking basket next to a seat by the door. Then, she could dig out a set of sneakers when it was time to go out, and toss them back in when it was time to come in. It wouldn’t look as nice as perfectly lined up sneakers, but she would be able to keep up this system because it was just as easy to drop the sneakers into a basket as to drop them on the floor, and the basket was attractive. It was pretty and practical with a focus on practical.

Display your favorite jewelry.

Display your favorite jewelry.

Another person had a large collection of jewelry that she loved. Each piece seemed to have a story associated with it- who had given it to her, a special event she had worn it to, etc. They were in a number of jewelry boxes of different sizes and styles she had picked up over time. She was careful to put each piece away, but often wasted time searching for a particular piece since the jewelry wasn’t in any special order.

In her case, after weeding out a few pieces she didn’t like, I suggested that we display some of her favorite jewelry (something like the picture to the left) and organize the rest into similar sized cases. Each case would have one type of jewelry in it, and each piece of jewelry would have its own little compartment. Since she was willing and able to put away her jewelry, this was the best way for her to store it (as well as keep it safe).

 

 

 

 

Here’s an example for you to answer: The two pictures below show organizing methods that are on either ends of a continuum. Where does your fantasy organization fall? If you were realistic about the amount of time and energy you’re willing to put toward arranging underwear, which would you prefer? Put your answer in the comment section.

Perfectly arranged and folded!

Perfectly arranged and folded!

Just toss all the underwear in one drawer. Who wants to fold underwear?

Just toss all the underwear in one drawer. Who wants to fold underwear?

About the author

Beth@IHaveTooMuchStuff.com

I am a professional organizer in Buffalo, NY. I focus on helping people who are overwhelmed with all the Stuff they have in their lives. My specialties are: Decluttering, Downsizing, Clearing out a Home after a Death, Moving, and Hoarding. Visit my site at http://www.IHaveTooMuchStuff.com or contact me at beth@IHaveTooMuchStuff.com or (716)791-7293.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.ihavetoomuchstuff.com/blog/reality-vs-fantasy-when-organizing-where-do-you-want-to-live/

1 comment

  1. MarCat

    Beth,
    I know that my reality means that the bottom drawer works for me. I still like to separate panties, socks, bras, etc. and do so with a different drawer for each category.

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