The Organizing Odd Couple

sore thumbThe opposite of out of sight, out of mind would, I suppose, be in sight and in mind, but that’s often seen as a bad thing for organizing. If all your floors and surfaces are covered in clutter, it’s overwhelming and stressful. The exact opposite is not a good thing either. Good organizing is about striking the right balance between what is hidden and what is visible.

There are times, when being organized requires you to have things as visible as possible. For example, here’s a photo of my front door, from the inside. See that object sticking out over the ledge at an angle? That’s my iPod. It’s been recharged and needs to get back to my car in the garage downstairs. With the iPod positioned close to the door and sticking out like a sore thumb, I am giving myself the best odds to complete this action, when I head out. In fact, I call this the “sore thumb” technique.

The unseen reason that accounts for the success of this technique is that there are not a dozen items piled up on the ledge. The more items collected, the less compelling they are. It’s no accident that there aren’t more items here. I have created homes elsewhere for every item that is not leaving the house. The rest have already left!

Getting organized is about taking the less important things out of the way, so that you can get to the most important things. It’s not just about hiding everything in pretty closets. You could say there is a yin and yang to organizing. With my “leaving ledge” I can reliably get to what’s important (having some sweet tunes in my car for my long drive to Maine), because I have struck the right balance between hiding what’s unimportant and making visible what is most important. Staying organized relies on both. They are interdependent.