How Not to Get Organized: A Personal Story

The author's sudden resolve to organize her home has messy results.

| October/November 1992

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    Stuff accumulated over the years can become overwhelming to a would-be organizer who has never moved.
    ILLUSTRATION: KEITH BENDIS

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 50 percent of the American population has moved in the past eight years. Consider the psychological cost of all those moves! No wonder the buzzword of our decade is stress. It was inevitable that, sooner or later, I would catch up with the stress workshops, and sure enough…

Our calm, collected leader picked our brains on the subject of personal stress. I'd never really thought of my life as stressful, but after hours of taking in everybody else's problems, I couldn't wait to get out of there.

We were advised that these stresses must be exorcised if we were to be functioning individuals. I came home determined to deal with what I had identified as the source of my stress. It's all pretty well hidden in closets and drawers and cupboards—disorganization, the key plague of my life.

The next day, as luck would have it, I spoke for a group that was having a workshop session on getting organized! I hung around after I'd delivered my own chaotic lecture to see what I could learn. There were test questions to determine the seriousness of your disorganization. I flunked them all:



1. "Does it take you more than ten minutes to lay your hand on a given item in your household?"
I hid a gold nugget someplace in my house three years ago and haven't seen it since.

2. "Are there papers on your desk you haven't looked through in a week or more?"
There are papers on my desk that were mailed with 6-cent stamps.






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