“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” This saying is sometimes mis-attributed to Benjamin Franklin because it seems like an aphorism he would have said. With that in mind, I must have earned a raft of hours, because of all the time I’ve spent organizing stuff.
The concept of organizing is much more pleasant than the actual process. There are plenty of tempting products designed to tap into that attractive fantasy. Filing cases and cabinets, plastic storage “totes”, closet organizers, and drawer dividers come to mind.
I’ve tried them all, but the only one that actually lives up to its potential is the filing cabinet. The reason for its success is because it is designed for one purpose and one purpose only–the storage of paper documents.
A filing cabinet is beautiful in a utilitarian, practical way. The drawers can be organized with tabs by subject and in alphabetical order. When a filing cabinet is near our task area, it is easy to cultivate the habit of placing bill stubs, letters, and important documents in their proper places.
Plastic “totes” have the potential to be the great organizing tools for my life. Unfortunately, I tend to buy more “totes” each time I run out of places to store things. I regard “totes” as coffins for stuff I really need to get rid of. One good thing about these bins is that my clutter will be easy to move if or when I relocate.
My favorite organizing fantasy involves closet organizing systems. They are a practical person’s delight. Some of them feature color coded wire racks, shelving, drawers, and hanging rods. There is a place for everything and theoretically everything will be in its place. I love to look at advertising photographs for closet organizing systems, but I have never bought one. They require walk-in closets with much larger areas than the meager spaces my closets can provide.
Drawer organizers are better than closet organizers. The best ones are the tried and true silverware dividers. My flatware is perfectly organized so that setting the table for mealtime is a breeze. I wish there was a drawer organizer for cooking utensils. My spatulas, whisks, stirring spoons, mixer beaters, and so forth are crammed into the drawer next to my range.
One year I bought a junk drawer organizer. The thing is laid out with specially shaped compartments for items like a pair of scissors, a small flashlight, miniature sewing kit, pens, pencils, paper clips, and small tools. There are even printed adhesive labels to place in the bottoms of each compartment.
The thing hasn’t performed as designed. The junk drawer organizer compartments overflow into each other. The only compartments that contain what they were designed to hold are the one for a pair of scissors, and the one for a flashlight. Except that my small flashlight is slightly too large to fit precisely in its place. At least it’s easy to find twist-ties. Twist-ties can be found in every compartment.
I read somewhere that if you have to clean and organize it, you’d better love it.