Admit it, organizing can be very tedious, time-consuming, and often difficult. So why do we even bother to try? The prize is in the results we get. Organizing even the simplest of things in our lives can lead to savings in time and perhaps money. Even more importantly, I think that having an organized lifestyle can actually reduce stress. Did I just say, reduce? Yes, I did. While at first glance, many naysayers might dismiss organizing as a cause of stress, I am a firm believer that getting your life and belongings in order will create an environment that only benefits you in the long run. Let’s look at an easy example to help illustrate my point:
Scenario 1: Lifestyles of the Chaotic
Pretend you’re planning your meal for the evening. First you head over to where you store all your recipes and start rifling through endless folders, boxes, and random pieces of paper. Frustrated, you just decide to make something you have memorized (or at least you think you do). You then head over to the pantry to see if you have the ingredients you need. Only finding half of the food items necessary for your recipe, you hop in the car and head to the grocery store. After 30 minutes, you arrive back at home, ready to cook. You begin getting out the cooking supplies you need when you realize the baking dish you want to use is dirty in the sink. Quickly washing it, you then start mixing your ingredients, occasionally wondering if you are using the correct portions. After the meal is prepared and eaten, you tackle the aftermath…a heaping pile of food-encrusted dishes. After rubbing and scrubbing for 20 minutes, you decide to put the leftover food away, heading over to your tupperware cupboard. When you open the door, several lids come flying out at you…it turns out whoever emptied the dishwasher that morning set a booby-trap. After you finally choose a container, you can’t find the lid that matches it. Eventually you just settle for saran wrap and call it a night.
Scenario 2: Lifestyles of the Organized
Again, you are planning your meal for the evening. You get out your recipe binder and choose a food category that you feel like preparing for your family that night. After settling on Soups, you page through the options and pick your favorite tomato soup. You head over the pantry to find the ingredients you need. Since you stock up on common items you often cook with, you have everything you need.
Next you prepare the meal, easily following along your recipe, since it was re-written by you to suit your style. Every time you have a few moments during the cooking process, you head over to the sink to wash some of the dishes you’ve accumulated. After your family has quickly consumed your yummy dinner, you finish the remaining dishes in a few minutes and begin to put the leftovers away. You find your tupperware cupboard, choose a container size and then grab the corresponding lid out of a neatly arranged box of lids. After tucking it away in your fridge, you’re ready to relax for the night.
I confess I’ve painted a rather ideal picture here and I’ll be the first to admit that nobody lives in such a perfect world. However, I think we can all see the stark difference between the two scenarios. If we adopt even just some of the practices of the organized, we can vastly improve our lives, right down to something as simple as how our evening meal goes each night. Looking back, the person in the second scenario saved a lot of time and a lot of headaches. And the good news is, there’s even more to be saved. Stayed tuned for Organization: Why Bother? (Part 2) to find out the numerous ways organizing ultimately benefits us.