Two weeks ago I began a series called Organizing Myths & Mistakes. So far we've covered Mistake #1 which is over-organizing and Myth #2, doing it the right way. This week I'm exposing Organizing Myth #3: It's Genetic!
Over the years, many clients have expressed a suspcion that their disorganization was a genetic trait handed down through the family like a china pattern. Some things are indeed genetic such as curly hair and cowlicks, and although you're born with a dominant brain type and thinking style, disorganization isn't hard-wired and passed from one generation to the next.
That being said, a disorganized adulthood can be a by-product of childhood years spent in a cluttered, disorganized home, especially if you were never taught organizing skills or saw them modeled by your parents. What many people view as "genetic" disorganization is actually a result of their environment and a lack of skills and habits.
The good news? Just like swimming or singing, organizing can be learned. Although some people have a greater affinity for it than others (just like singing and swimming) anyone can learn organizing skills and use them to improve their lives.
If you believe you're genetically disorganized, here are five basic lessons you may not have learned from your sweet mama, that you can begin practicing today.
1. Store like with like. You keep all your clothes in the same general area right? What if you kept clothing in every room of the house? You'd have a hard time getting dressed every day because you'd never know where to look for anything specific and you'd need to traverse the entire house just to put an outfit together. Group like items together to create families. It's way easier to locate the entire family than an individual item, which could be lurking anywhere in the house.
2. Create homes for as much of your stuff as possible. Do you ever wake up and wonder where your toothbrush is? Nope. It's always the same place you left it, which is probably by the bathroom sink. Apply the same principle to most everything in your home (or office) and you'll save tons of time searching for your things.
3. Less is more. Clutter sneaks into your life in many ways, so pay attention to your surroundings. The only way to have less to manage is by noticing what's in your space and always being open to moving it out of your life when it's no longer important or isn't giving you value.
4. Think about retrieval. When choosing homes for items and families of items, think more about retrieving the item, as well as how and when you use it, rather than where to store it. Your goal is to make it super easy to have access to the things you use most often.
5. Store things near where you use them. It seems like common sense but you'd be surprised how many people keep their backstock of toilet tissue on the garage instead of in a bathroom. Think about where you use each item (or category of items), then make space nearby to store those things.
What are you favorite organizing basics that help keep you on track?