As I see it, the whole point of getting organized is to make life as easy as possible so that you can get to the things that matter most. Your organizing energy, therefore, should first go to the items you need to find and use the most. In fact, I believe there are many occasions when you are best served by UNDER-organizing.

Now, I know you may be saying that’s your whole problem: “I don’t organize enough!” Hear me out. Of course I see a lot of homes with insufficient organizing systems, but in those same homes I will also see excessive, complicated OVER-organizing. To arrive at a more harmonious balance requires a realistic assessment of the QUANTITY of stuff you are keeping and WHY, but that’s a subject for another post.

What I’m talking about here is strategic under-organizing opportunities. By minimizing your efforts in certain areas, you can maximize your efforts in more important areas. Here are 3 examples:

Sleeping Files. This is a big one. Sleeping files are basically archives. They are files you are keeping just in case. The likelihood of needing them is pretty slim, so there is no need to store them in your vital workspace and there is no need to carefully organize them. Just make the minimal effort of labeling and dating the box. That’s it.

Owners Manuals. Everybody’s got ’em and usually all over the house, but in some houses they’re carefully filed. Under-organize them! Just chuck them all into one generous sized box or drawer, where you can always find them, in the unlikely even you need them. Don’t waste file space. That’s prime real estate. Owners manuals and the extra stuff that comes with them can be very bulky. I like using gallon sized Zip-Loc bags to do a basic sort between computer, appliances, entertainment, etc.

Photographs. I know, I know. You’ve got great plans for your photos, maybe scrap-booking, but one step at a time. I think it was General Patton who said “A good plan today is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.” You can get an inexpensive 10 pack of plastic shoeboxes at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and start by simply sorting by year. At least they’re protected and you have a system in place for when strays turn up or for when you finally get that rainy day for scrap-booking!

TODAY’S KEY TO UNLOCKING CLUTTER: Under-organize some things so that you can free up some time to adequately organize the more important things.

Do you practice strategic under-organizing? What are some areas you find under-organizing makes sense?