Sunday, December 24, 2017

Don't go crazy with organization

This is my box of fasteners. Once upon a time I had some of these in the tool box, some in the milk crate, some in the cabinet and some in a shopping bag stuffed in a door pocket. I gathered them all up and dumped them here. All my fasteners and hardware in one place—until I mess things up sometime in the future.

Lou offered me this compartmented box so I could have most of my fasteners sorted by size and type. That would make sense if I frequently needed nuts and bolts. But I don’t. So sorting them would be wasted time. An hour or so of organization now versus a minute or less poking around in the box on the rare occasions I actually needed something.

I believe we should be only as organized as necessary to function on a daily basis. More than that and we end up servants to the organizational system rather than the system serving us.

True, I occasionally forget where I put something. What I need is one place to put all the things I won’t be using for a long time instead of several special places that made perfect sense at one time, but the sense of which has been long forgotten. I should sort them by frequency of use rather than, say, similarity to other items. It might be a small hassle digging through off-season clothing, tax papers, spare bulbs and owner’s manuals until I find, say, the stapler, but it’s better than moving the stapler out of the way each time I need a pencil or Post-it note. The long-term storage items could be shoved way under the bed and ignored instead of taking up room that could be better used by things I need often.

I think the key to “a place for everything and everything in its place” is accepting that the place for some things is that random pile over there.


  1. You are moving toward a great arrangement I think.

  2. at our place the boxes of accumulated odds and ends are labeled as "elsewhere" as in the belong elsewhere rather than in the organized storage places.

  3. When deciding where to store something, I have learned to ask myself "Where would I look for this?" instead of "Where should I put this?" It helps me actually find things since they are now in the place I would look for them.

  4. I must have a problem, I actually enjoy sorting through stuff like that.Am I OCD? Take care out there, lots of crap going around.

  5. You're dead on. The super-organization makes sense when you're workin' with the materials every day and want to find things quick. But for once in a blue moon projects? Then it's overkill.

  6. "....the place for some things is that random pile over there." I like it.