Organizing life isn’t always tidy

?The trouble with organizing a thing is that pretty soon folks get to paying more attention to the organization than to what they?re organized for.? ?Laura Ingalls Wilder?

Hot career trends come and go. In the same way that the television series ?CSI? has inspired people to get into forensics, shows like ?Trading Spaces? and ?While You Were Out? have sparked as much interest in organization. Or in the very least, sparked some guilt about being less than organized.

Apparently there is career potential in the field?via training institutions like the ?academy of professional organizers.? (Just remember to advertise locally please, so I can find you easily.)

For the average person, more concerned about finding their keys than finding a new career, there are plenty of magazines devoted to defeating disorganization. And if you haven?t noticed, Sunday television is a repository of inspiration thanks to TLC.

I?m fascinated with the whole thing. I ooh and aah at the monogrammed filing boxes, finished scrapbooks and color-coded closets. It?s kind of ironic how these very shows keep me on my couch while my clothes haphazardly hang on mismatched hangers in my own closet.

Peter Walsh of ?Clean Sweep? (who just started a new magazine aptly titled ?Organize?) preaches letting go of the things that aren?t truly needed.

?You are not your stuff,? he reminds us.

He may be right.

Then again…no, he?s wrong. I believe I do need that old note from freshman English class and the cork from my honeymoon wine bottle. But I?ll sure take one of those cute little monogrammed boxes to store them in.

Still, I relentlessly renew my goal to become more organized, a feat that requires much research. Moving from the couch to the computer, I turn to the Internet.

I found plenty of ideas, which I randomly selected as examples. But unfortunately, there are a few glitches.

1. Don?t procrastinate. (Does surfing the ?Net instead of sorting my bills count?)

2. Make it a group effort. (This is my favorite?but to date, I?m the only one here who?s caught onto it.)

3. Keep like items in one spot. (OK, I can handle this one, but I need someone to explain it to my 2-year-old.

4. Keep a basket at the bottom of the stairs. (I thought this was a great idea and bought one. Now it?s a catch-all. I put off cleaning it out (see No. 1) because everyone drops a little bit of everything in it (see No. 3).

5. Maintain your organization once it is in place. (This requires completion of the previous steps. Revert to No. 1.)

With all these ideas, I should be seriously organized. But the plan won?t get too far without the right tools. And the tools have to be used in the right way.

I do own a desk planner that I fill in (most of the time). I have a cabinet full of file folders (not necessarily in alphabetical order) and a hanging pegboard (which for some reason has some old telephone wire draped over it.)

On the up side, since I?m not a reliable organizer, any achievement can be major. My shoes are hanging in the shoe rack? Halleluiah! Dishes are cleaned right after supper? Dream on. But both of my kids are accounted for? I rock!

I do envy those people who keep it all together. I wish I could too. But right now, it seems there?s a walking path carved through the toys leading straight to a half-read book on my couch. And I think ?While You Were Out? is coming on.

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