Organizing is more than just tidying up

Organizing is more than just tidying up at I'm an Organizing Junkie blog

Hi friends, a couple of weeks ago I wrote about my husband’s definition of organizing.  Basically his idea of organizing is all about just tidying up by putting your stuff into nice piles. And while that will certainly make your house look neater in the short term, in no time at all you’ll be right back to where you started, tidying up all over again. Do you ever feel like you can never get ahead and the piles, once started, just continue to grow and grow and grow? There’s a reason for that. Tidying up (in my opinion of course) typically involves the stuff shuffle dance where things just get randomly moved around to give the appearance of neatness.

Organizing, on the other hand, is about a specific PROCESS that includes purging and implementing systems for lasting change. Keep in mind though that when I say lasting change, I don’t mean do it once and done. We don’t live in bubbles after all. However it does mean that when done properly we add a simplicity to our lives that is not inviting to clutter and chaos. Well most of the time 🙂

Answer me this. When people come to your home do they see the clutter and piles of stuff lying about? Would you cringe if someone should drop by unannounced? Or do visitors see a tidy home as long as no one dares to open up a closet or a drawer? Do you hide clutter in random spots just to get it out of sight? Or worse, cover your piles with a sheet as if that somehow makes it better?

People just don’t want to take the time or be bothered making decisions about their excess stuff.  Shoving it away, thinking you’ll deal with it another day, is certainly one way of managing it all but it’s not sustainable. If more stuff comes in then goes out we’ve got a problem. A big big problem. And then you’ve got to factor in life which can throw us some pretty hard curve balls every once and awhile. Many that we may have absolutely no control over. This can make a messy, unorganized house go from bad to worse in no time at all. This only adds more stress to an already undesirable situation.

As most of you know, I was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, back in the fall of 2014. I was really really sick and there were many days I couldn’t get out of bed. The flares are fewer and farther between now but I still get occasional days where I just don’t have the strength to do much of anything. Thankfully, the organized systems I have in place and the minimal clutter in our home means that my house doesn’t fall apart when I’m ill.

My kids have been doing chores since they were little so those things still get done regularly. Important things like clean bathrooms is the responsibility of my middle son (16) so not having to worry about that is such a comfort to me. The fact that I taught my kids to cook at a young age was such a blessing when I got sick because I knew they could quite easily fend for themselves. The hours of training when they were young was and is so so worth it. Believe me, I know it’s easier and faster to just do it ourselves sometimes. But you just never know when life is going to hand you a different set of circumstances. The time to organize your home and implement systems and chores is now before a crisis hits.

We can’t control everything that happens in our lives. But we can control the amount of stuff that comes in and out of our homes everyday.

To help you with organizing your home, follow these PROCESS steps I created plus use my free printable purge labels. The purging step is so very important. Ask yourself these questions when you declutter and regardless of how much joy something brings you, you’ve got to purge until it fits.

These posts may also be helpful to you:

The Top 4 Reasons Why You Have So Much Clutter

Top 4 Reasons Why You Have So Much Clutter

10 Simple Solutions for Organized Living


Is Organizing Stressing You Out?  Here’s What You Need to Know

Is organizing stressing you out

The Rewards of Living an Organized Life

Rewards of Living an Organized Life

So which would you rather, a temporary fix that is exhausting to manage time and time again? Or a lasting change that contributes to a peaceful, less stressed, clutter-free life? If you’ve got further questions for me, let me know in the comments. I’ll be happy to try and help.

You’ve got this!


Filed under: Organizing Basics, Purging, Simplicity


7 Responses to Organizing is more than just tidying up

  1. 1
    Handy Tim says

    Every time I have to tidy up I postpone it for another time, or day, that’s my ‘sin’. You know it’s time to tidy up when there isn’t single spot around to leave your laptop, or you can’t find the book/magazine from the piles you’ve brought up.
    There have been several occasions uninvited guests came banging on my door. I was literally stressed to invited them in, because my crib looked like a bombarded war zone. Even thought they are close friends of mine that we grew up together with I still feel uneasy in front of them.

  2. 2
    Seana Turner says

    Tidying up, in the traditional sense, often leads to bigger projects down the line. When everything gets tossed into bins or baskets and mixed together… headaches! You are right, it is about the process.

  3. 3
    Jessica [Havok] says

    I’ve always felt the same about tidying up. To me, that phrase means a quick once-through the house, putting things in a place so that it *looks* clean, not that it actually is organized! Organized, to me, is being able to blindly find where whatever item is (because you know where it is!) and then, of course, putting it back when you’re done using it.
    I also know the plight of days that are just, well, bed days. And it is definitely easier to be okay with having to take those days slow knowing that the house won’t turn into a tip without doing the normal every day.

  4. 4
    Aimee says

    My paperwork piles had been accumulating since we moved into our house one year ago. That is one area I procrastinate on. Then one day, my husband was looking for something and I got motivated to tackle this project. So, I spent an entire day last week going through every piece of paper in the piles. It took hours, I threw out a ton, but it was such a huge relief to get that project crossed off my list. I hope now I can keep up with it. That seems to be the problem, don’t you think? Getting a mess cleaned up takes more time than doing a little maintenance every day. Now, I’ve got to organize my master closet. Any tips for that?

  5. 5
    Kylie says

    I love this so, so much. I struggle with health issues too, and there’s nothing like three days stuck in bed to really highlight to you what needs a revamp. I’ve learned that the time invested in creating a successful system instead of just cleaning truly creates a more restful atmosphere when it’s time for me to get off my feet.

  6. 6
    Mary Paitsel says

    About the packing cubes–I just ordered some. When I traveled home from a visit to my daughter’s home a few months ago the baggage handlers managed to break open my relatively new Samsonite hardshell luggage. While Delta resolved the issue as pleasantly as could be I have purchased baggage bands to go around my suitcases as well as baggage cubes to go into my luggage. I lost an earring that went to a set and one of my favorite combs among other things and I know if those small items were in a cube they would not have been lost. Luggage cubes and baggage bands now and forevermore.


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