What does it mean to be organized?

What does it mean to be organized?What do you think it means to be organized? According to the American Heritage Dictionary, to organize is to “arrange or systematize” for efficiency. So, I would like to say that a space can be organized but not necessarily beautiful. On the other hand, a space can be tidy and immaculately clean, but still be disorganized. Really? Yes. Let me paint you a picture of how this works.

Tidy Tina has a beautiful home, with hardwood floors, a custom kitchen, high ceilings and an entertainment system wired into the home. She has a cleaning service come every week and keeps it clean in between their visits. But, Tina’s home office is a different story. If you were to peek into the room, you would say that Tina’s office is nice and neat. But, open the closet doors and you will find that she has piles of papers left unfiled, mixed together with old photos, magazines, newspaper clippings and recipes that she wants to try. If Tina wanted to locate last year’s tax return or her favorite recipe for lasagna, she would not be able to do so. Tina is clean and neat, but her papers are not organized.

Efficient Eddie lives by himself in a rental home. The carpets are faded but clean, there are no pictures of any kind on the wall, and the kitchen has not been updated since 1984. His home is clean, but bare and uninteresting. He has not spent any time to make his home attractive. Eddie’s home office, on the other hand, shows that he has taken the time to set it up. He has a complete system for managing his incoming mail, a spot for current projects, and action files for upcoming projects. His “to be filed” pile is manageable, and he stays on top of his email inbox. The room is not beautiful. In fact his home office was furnished entirely with items from the second-hand store. But, Eddie is organized. He can get his hands on any paper he wants within a couple of minutes.

My point is this. A home does not have to be expensive or beautiful to be organized. As long as a system is set up to manage everyday life, it is organized. Beautiful is great – I love beautiful things! But, organizing is not about beauty. It is about arranging your belongings, your papers and your to-do list to support the life you want. Now, that’s beautiful!

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