Why you are never really done
It's best to just accept this reality rather than be enraged.
I wrote a post several months back about our entryway solution. After prototyping a “bin” system where each family member got their own bin for hats, gloves, sunglasses, etc, we went live with a fancy custom built-in solution.
I’m sharing the full size preview because the photo is important here, but also you should click and read this if you haven’t yet.
So basically I went to great effort to create a system that eliminates entryway clutter, holds our record and book collection, and looks nice (the article has suggestions if you very reasonably don’t care to drop $$$ on a custom build).
And today here’s what it looks like:
Scream emoji, right??
What the heck happened here?
I am re-organizing is what. And re-organizing is part of the system. You see, we here at Your House Machine are adherents to the 5S engineering philosophy:
Sort - separate what’s used from what’s not
Set - a place for everything and everything in its place
Shine - ensure everything’s clean and working
Standardize - have a process for maintaining the system
Sustain - DO the process regularly (see, even within 5S it tells you to redo your systems!)
In the tech, auto, aviation, and many other industries, these steps are revisited constantly, even daily. Not just one time, and then a month later the Boeing engineer is despondent that their workspace is messy and throws up their hands in despair.
In my case I’m emptying all the drawers, donating what no longer fits or gets used, rotating off-season gear to a lower priority spot, and tidying what’s left.
I hear repeatedly from people who’ve worked with professional organizers that the results are great but “don’t last.” Here’s the thing: no one-time organizing spree will ever last you the rest of your life. Which is why we don’t talk about one-time organizing sprees here — we talk about building systems.
If a wise friend forwarded this to you, enter your email to get more systems direct from the source.
I gently urge you to accept the reality that no organizing job is ever truly done. It’s always going to be a process of revisiting and redoing from time to time.
But how often do you need to redo your organizing? The more often a space gets used the more often you’ll need to revisit its organization. My triggers are generally:
When the thing starts looking messy
When the drawer/bin/whatever fills up and it gets hard to find what I’m looking for
When you have to move something to get something else (the WORST)
When you’re struck with inspiration at 3am over a better way to do it (or maybe this one is just me)
I have to acknowledge here that I am pointing out additional mental load that someone in your home needs to take on. Someone needs to not only do the initial organizing, but also be The Noticer and The Instigator when things need to be redone. Because you’re reading this, I’m assuming this person is you.
You can view it as a burden, or, like me, you can consider the alternative: living amongst mess and chaos. My husband and kids are not going to tackle the large-scale order-making necessary to keep our house functioning, so I do it and know that this is way easier than trying to get through a day where I can’t find anything. I’m grateful to them for following my systems and for appreciating my efforts. Plus, organizing is my hobby so I’m in a good position to take on this job.
Are you The Noticer in your home? Are you enraged? What are you noticing lately needs an overhaul?