A Perfect Mess

In my never-ending quest to become a better organizer and increase my knowledge of all things organizing, I have picked up the book A Perfect Mess. As an organizer it takes courage to read this book - it's all about the hidden benefits of disorder.

There is a section in the book that talks about the various strategies employed to keep mess under control and I thought these worth sharing with you. Many people who feel they struggle with organization think that they don't have time to get organized. I agree with the authors that this is not always the case. Some people keep mess at a tolerable level by employing one or more of the following seven strategies.

"The Mini-mess" - you may designate small areas in your home where you can have a mess in order to keep all the other larger areas under control - a closet, a junk drawer, a credenza, etc.

"The Full Moon" - you prefer to let the mess build up for a while and then partially organize your space at some fairly predictable periods. For many of us, we leave the mess during the work week and then spend some time every weekend putting things back in order.


"The Tower of Power" - you can make almost any mess look tidy if you pile it up neatly. You don't need to organize the pile itself. Just by creating a neat pile you feel more organized.

"The Archaeologist" - you have a large heap of items crammed in a drawer, a closet, a filing cabinet or even behind your couch with the most important items on the top of the pile. Every so often you can have some fun by excavating the area looking for those rarely used items.

"The Maintenance Plan" - you regularly scan through piles of stuff to keep it under control and functional by making sure nothing important is buried. Or you regularly corral enough of the clutter into one corner of a room to make the rest of the room usable.


"The Code Blue" - someone is coming to visit which requires an intense period of frantic organizing. You can employ this technique at home or in the workplace.

"The Satellite Mess" - if all else fails, rent an offsite storage facility and move all your mess there.

Mess is not really the issue; it's our ability to tolerate mess that's the problem. We all seem to have different tolerance thresholds and once we reach that threshold we then have to kick into gear and get organized. Figure out what works for you not what works for others and stop pressuring yourself to be super organized if that's not what you need!

Jane Veldhoven is a Certified Professional Organizer®, who owns Get Organized by Design and loves working with busy people to help them de-clutter, redesign, and redecorate their spaces, move to a new home, or renovate their existing home. For more information visit http://get-organized.ca/.

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