Most professional organizers probably agree that clutter is the result of postponed decision making. So, this thought begs two questions in my mind and, I bet, also in your mind regarding the title of this post. The first question is, what is organized clutter? The second question is, why would a professional organizer think that organized clutter is a step in the right direction?
Let’s define organized clutter
I did a little research on the term ”organized clutter” and found this article in which professional organizer, Matt Baier, answers the question “Is there such a thing as organized clutter?”
One of the things I learned when I read the article is that our word clutter derives from the Middle English word meaning to clot. That makes sense to me because clutter usually causes things to clog the flow. Much as a blood clot impedes the flow of blood through your veins.
Matt explains that clutter is tough to get rid of because it is the excess of stuff.
I relate to the expression organized clutter when I look at my office and my desk. I have a lot of stuff in my office. Some may say I have too much.
I love it and work well in my office.
If you look at the picture of my desk and the table beside it, you’ll see two very full hanging file organizers. One holds files related to DNQ Solutions and the other holds files related to the business I co-own with Jonda Beattie, Release Repurpose Reorganize. There is also a magazine holder on the table. It has partially used notebooks and some manila files. These are related to a few projects on which I am currently working.
The clutter in my office is organized in the way that works for me.
Ballroom Dance Closet
Another example of organized clutter in my house is my closet which holds my ballroom dance costumes, shoes, and accessories. It’s been a few years since I competed in a ballroom dance competition. My last competition was before the Covid Pandemic. I continue to practice regularly with my dance instructor and partner, so I have several pairs of practice dance shoes as well as several pairs of performance dance shoes. By definition, these things are clutter because they are clogging (or taking up space) the closet, but they are organized.
Other Examples of Organized Clutter
You may have a basket full of reading material like saved sections from the newspaper, magazines, catalogues, and some children’s books in your family room. This is organized clutter. You have not taken the time to sort out the things that do not belong.
In your kitchen, you may have a drawer full of odds and ends as well as multiple spoons, spatulas, and long forks. If you want to, you can sort through and remove the things you don’t use or need.
The front hall closet in your home may have a basket full of hats, scarves, and gloves. It may look disorganized to a casual observer. You know there are ways to organize these accessories better and maybe you will do so one day but for now, this system is working for you.
A Step in the Right Direction
Let’s take the example of my office first. When I work with clients, I ask them what is not working regarding the organization in their home. While I firmly believe things can always be better why would I want to fix something that is not broken? We always start with the place in which they want to create more order and more space.
The organization in my office is working for me. The thought of a completely clear surface on my desk gives me the shivers.
Things that, in my mind, go together are together. Could the top of my desk and the table beside it be better organized? Absolutely! But it is a step in the right direction. Every now and then I get the urge to have my desk area better organized and go through the notebooks, files, and folders and purge the excess.
How about my ballroom dance closet?
Yes. This space has a bit of organized clutter. I admit I have lots of accessories and dance shoes. Some of the dance shoes have holes near the toes and others have soles that are practically worn through. The soles can be fixed but the holes near the toes can’t. Those shoes are excess and need to be tossed. The problem is that dance shoes aren’t comfortable to begin with, so I want to keep the broken in pairs of shoes for practice until I can’t wear them anymore.
As a professional organizer I ask my clients to trust that I will organize the space to suit them. What ever that means. If having a few piles of excess things here and there works for my client and, if they can find what they need when they want it then organized clutter is absolutely a step in the right direction.
If you are interested in organizing a space in your home to suit you, contact Diane for a complimentary 30-minute phone consultation.
Diane N. Quintana is a Certified Professional Organizer® ,a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization®, Master Trainer and owner of DNQ Solutions, LLC and co-owner of Release●Repurpose●Reorganize, LLC based in Atlanta, Georgia.