“I’ve been looking for that!” No matter how many times I hear this phrase, it still makes me smile. Clients often exclaim this as we dive into the back corners of drawers and the dark recesses of cabinets.
Some very organized and well-intentioned individuals ask how the item was lost if it was so important. A simple explanation is that often there are more items in a designated space than can adequately be stored.
When cabinets and drawers stretch to capacity or shelves start to bend under heavy loads, one additional item can ruin the entire organizational system. It can be exasperating: an individual might spend a lot of time organizing objects “just so,” yet it is still not working.
I typically see this during my first appointments with clients. They show me their organized (yet filled) cabinets and wonder out loud why the system is not working.
In these cases, deeper cuts are necessary because the excess volume is the culprit. You might be setting yourself up for failure if you have to spend more than a minute or two putting items back in their respective homes. If you do not see any empty space on the shelf or in the drawer, your system is vulnerable to collapse.
If you free up enough space, one more apple will not upset the apple cart. You will spend less time fighting to retrieve items. You will also spend a lot less time “Tetrissing,” as I like to call it. The less time you spend maintaining your organizational systems, the more time you have for far more enjoyable activities.
Additionally, you will use those remaining objects more frequently because they will no longer be blocked from view. You might part with three seldom-used kitchen gadgets and instead make sufficient space for your tried-and-true utensil that never fails you. With fewer items in the area, you will readily see your objects, remember where they live, and more easily retrieve them when needed. So even though you have fewer items, you will be able to enjoy them more than you could before pruning your collection. Then you will be less likely to exclaim, “I’ve been looking for that! What was it doing here?” It means that you are probably spending more time enjoying your possessions and less time searching for them. That is what I call organizational success.
Author: Judith Dold
Musings from yours truly about all things organizing.