Permission to be unorganized

It’s okay to be messy! It’s okay if your desk is full of paper piles. It’s okay if your photos are all over your dining room table. Yes, this comes from a professional organizer, giving you the okay to be unorganized! How is that possible?

If you dropped in unexpectedly to visit someone, would you think their home should be in perfect order? All the counters would be free of clutter and dishes, everything would be put away, the desk would be neatly organized, and the children’s toys would be properly stored. But how realistic is that?

Visitors to my home sometimes expect perfection. I confess, without apology, that it is not so. Our home gets out of order just with daily living. We eat meals and there are dishes, mail brings in more paper, projects to be continued for several days or even weeks are strewn out on the table or floor. I appreciate what Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The only advantage in not being too good a housekeeper is that your guests are so pleased to feel how very much better they are.” People can feel good when they drop into my home.

There is much pressure on us to always be neat and organized but daily living happens and we don’t always have the time or take the time to be perfect. There is a saying, “My house is clean enough to be healthy and messy enough to be happy.”

If a home has a perfectly decluttered environment all the time I would tend to believe not much is happening in that home. Albert Einstein said, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk?” If you are working on “projects” you may need to spread out to work on your tasks. You may leave your progress out every day until the work is accomplished.

Clutter can be a sign of creativity. It may spark your imagination with the selective clutter you have around you. Your desk might look chaotic, but you can find everything you need in seconds. When I taught elementary school, my desk looked like a tornado came through, but I actually knew where everything was and organized it each day as I used everything on it that day. I know of some that just keep piling things up on their desks and have to search for what they are looking for, not having a clue where things are.

Some people need to work in a calm, clear environment to be effective. Others thrive on a busier, more cluttered area where it may look like everything is misplaced but it is actually stimulating to them. It comes down to different personalities and preferences.

I also believe that to be true of children’s toys. They may set up an entire scene or play town with their toys and come back to it the next day. If we require them to pick up their toys every day, it may stifle their creativity and imagination as they want to build on it each day. When interest fades, it can be put away.

There is a trend to be minimalists and to get rid of everything we don’t need. But what about the sentimental things that spark warm memories? They take up space and some may consider them clutter but they are part of who we are and they are important in our lives. We don’t have to follow every social expectation.

Of course, a messy space can also mean negative things like being too lazy to clean up, being too overwhelmed to know where to start cleaning up, or having too much stuff. It can also mean it is just not a priority in life. When it leads to stress for you or those you love, it may require immediate attention.

I am not advocating for a messy home, but permission is granted to be yourself and live your life without being stressed if everything isn’t in perfect order.

Doris Puls, of D & O Decluttering and Organizing, is a professional organizer whose mission is to make a difference in the lives of the people she works with in homes and businesses. Contact her at Organizealpena@gmail.com or at 989-356-9545.