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Neat vs. Organized

Updated: Jan 14, 2020

As I have been navigating the world of homes and businesses, kids rooms and kitchen. I have noticed a large misconception in the minds of people and their organizing goals. Often when people say they want to get organized they are not actually thinking about organizing, but are picturing a neat space. Now, neat can be a bi-product of organized but that’s not necessarily always going to be the case.

This misconception comes from organizing television shows and magazines, which always feature neat and organized spaces. So lets distinguish between the two so you have a better understanding. Neat is how the space looks; organized is how it functions. This means that friend you know that has copious books on shelves, paper piles on their desk, and mail on the kitchen counter might not be neat but could very well be organized. If when you ask them for something they go to a box, a shelf or a pile, and are able to retrieve it in a reasonable amount of time, then they are organized. They know where their things are in order for them to function effectively.

You could have a neat space, nothing out on surfaces, drawer organizers, nice photo boxes and plastic containers. You’re ready for the next issue of home and garden magazine, but don’t actually know what you have in those closets, boxes and drawers. Or you have a little of everything in each so you have to check multiple neat places to find what you are looking for, this though neat is un-organized.

"One person’s mess is merely another person’s filing system." -Margo Kaufman (1-800-Am-I-Nuts?)

I believe when delving into an organizing project the goal should be to accomplish both a neat and organized space. But if you want to get organized because you can’t find things and can’t seem to function effectively then don’t focus on neat. Focus on sorting your belongings, putting like things together and putting things in the places where they are used.

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