organization overload: getting it together is making us lose it

Let’s start with a quick quiz, shall we?

  1. Have you purchased a storage container for an item you did not yet have? “My new baskets will be perfect for those cashmere throws….I aspire to own one day.”
  2. Do you need a mild sedative upon entering/leaving The Container Store?
  3. Do you have a visceral reaction when you see those catalog pictures of well-stocked, organized pantries? You know the ones –the unseen homeowner has 16 bottles of Pellegrino, pasta sorted and stowed in airtight containers, and giant cans of Italian tomatoes, all perfectly aligned with nary a Ritz Cracker or Fruit Roll-Up in sight?
  4. Do you now, or have you ever, owned a ribbon caddy? Yes, a caddy for ribbons.  Or a caddy for anything, for that matter.

I get it.

If you looked at my room this very moment, you might not think that I get it. But underneath all that laundry, and the castoff sports stuff, you would find a baseline level of organization; so yeah, I kinda sorta get it.

I have the ribbon caddy, a recipe system, and a jar for cotton balls. My photos and movies are in order, and my kids know where to find the LEGOs. Well, one of them does.

Five years ago, that was fine.

It’s 2012 and suddenly, fine doesn’t cut it anymore.

Organized is the new rich. Or tan. Or maybe the new skinny. However you look at it, we want to be organized, and we want it bad. We’re no longer satisfied with knowing where stuff is, we’re looking for a new level of in-your-face, extreme organization that will make us the envy of our friends. We want our clutter so creatively and lovingly contained it ceases to be junk, and become treasure. We want every last possession in a basket, a tub, a bin, a repurposed bucket, or a mason jar, and there should be no rest until it is done.

We are a people out of control.

I especially get caught up in this after reading any article with “five easy steps to decluttering your way to a carefree life.” (Or worse, If I visit the house of someone who read the article, and is actually making it happen.) If I really wanted to be clever, says the Associate Editor of Clutter Control, I’d store my pony tail holders on a toilet paper tube. Heaven forbid, I just set the rubber band on my dresser, where I can pick it up again when I need it. “It needs to be on a TUBE!”

So this is how it goes: I get inspired and show the boys that their LEGO guys with heads still attached go here, and without heads go over there.  Movies with horses go in this box, and movies with aliens go in that one. They nod, knowing it will only be a week until I return to being satisfied with just keeping everyone in clean socks and underwear, until the next time I read an article and try to find a new system for storing paper clips in a beautiful way.

But then something happened to turn that happy cycle on its ear…Pinterest.

I asked my friend at work how she liked the booming site. “It’s a great way to collect everything you want to do or try or buy, or cook. But it’s depressing. I’ll never make that stuff.”

“Hmph, well I don’t want any of that,” I told her. The last thing I needed was to try to organize the Internet.

Two days later, I asked her to send me an invite.

Part of any organized person’s strategy is the list keeping. Through the years I’ve kept track of to-dos, to-buys, and to-think-abouts. When I was a kid I had lists of Esprit clothes I owned, people I knew, and states that I could remember without looking at a map. (Dang it, Delaware, how did I keep forgetting you?)

Now, with Pinterest, the list making is visual and easy, and there’s the fun social aspect of sharing ideas with your friends and glue gun toting strangers. It’s also immediately and dangerously addictive. It will likely suck you in and spit you out, bleary eyed and overwhelmed by clothes you don’t have, projects you won’t do, recipes you won’t make, houses you will never live in and organization systems you will fail at. It’s also by far the most convenient way I’ve found to combine sloth AND envy.

“What is THAT?” asked John as he looked over my shoulder to find three photos of braided hairstyles, two of cupcakes, two pretty necklaces, six pieces of furniture, a quiche, a DIY Easter Wreath, a DIY confetti lantern, a pair of boots, and a romantic black and white photo of New York City.

“Pinterest. It’s a way to organize projects, recipes, design ideas…”


“See, what you do is create your pin boards, then you categorize them, so you can organize your….”


“Wait, see, this one is just for hairstyles. This one’s dedicated just to mid century modern design, this one’s for appetizers, this one’s for jewelry,”

“Colleen, I love you, but I can’t even pretend to be interested in this.”

We’ve been married for 15 years so he can say that. I sure hope he can say that, because that’s what I say when we pull into the parking lot of an electronics store and I announce I’m waiting in the car.

My lazy Internet research revealed that 80% of Pinterest users are women (thanks!). Over at Google +, they are running close to that equivalent, male.

I suggested he look into Google +.

Keep in mind, this is the same guy who, when I am in an organizing frenzy, comes up with this sage advice:

“How about we just have less stuff?”


*the label maker is fun to use! And The Dewey Decimal System doesn’t hold a candle to our video organization with categories such as “chick flicks,” “high brow,” “spies!” and “classics” where you’ll find anything starring Will Ferrell, Steve Carell or Adam Sandler.


246 thoughts on “organization overload: getting it together is making us lose it

    • ennic says:

      Loved reading this! I ASPIRE to even a low-level of container-based organisation. Right now, if someone figured out how to turn the avalanche of clothes that tumble out of my undersized wardrobe into sartorio-electric power, I could disconnect my whole house from the national grid and win awards for ‘green living’. Unfortunately, this success depends on me never achieving the basic organisational level of ‘being tidy’. Luckily I have my two male student housemates to ensure I never stray onto the tidy path… sigh.

      • imisstheolddays says:

        This is exactly how I feel. I spend more time reading organizational books, then feel guilty so I organize an “area.” A month later the area looks exactly the same! I even downloaded an app for organizing and cleaning. You are so right “organization” is in right now. The books on organization only end up making me feel guilty because I cannot ever get to the level that I would like to be organized. A person with kids would definitley have a hard time being organized all the time. Sometimes, I think it is better to just do a quick cleaning.

    • vegetarianinameateatingfamily says:

      Loved your blog, it’s a great read. I love any shop with storage solutions. I go mad at Ikea and, sadly, my favourite is Officeworks where I collect note books to write ideas of how to oragnise my life!

      When I got to your explanation of Pinterest I had a laugh. I lay beside my hubby at night, my hand around my Iphone to hide the light, and scroll through….pinning all these great ideas that I’ve always had for my home, but somebody else has done.

    • Jean K says:

      Sad to say, I AM the organized one…my cabinets are organized by not only alphabet but if the spice is used for cooking or baking. The kids closets are neatly organized, my pantry and storage areas have clip boards, pens and itemized lists that are changed weekly. I know, I am sick!

  1. Marni Godvin says:

    Oh my! For a brief moment I think you tapped into my life: slave to both a new-found organization frenzy AND Pinterest. LOVE it!

  2. susielindau says:

    I am getting to the less stuff stage after collecting it for years…I could still use a couple more storage containers though….
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  3. Mikalee Byerman says:

    Oh wow…this is hysterical.

    I am fortunate enough to not live anywhere near a Container Store…and I can’t quite wrap my mind around the Pinterest craze!

    To me, Pinterest is like the visual embodiment of all of my failures — all the things in life I can never create or make my house/hair/nails look like.

    So yeah — I avoid it. For now. Though people still follow me, which kinda creeps me out…


    • theamberlight says:

      Mikalee…we much in common! I do live near a Container Store but ahve never been. I am so focus on re-purposing stuff that I use paper boxes from work. IN my personal power coaching, I am finding that the energy is supportive of people sharing information AND oragnizing what they have.
      I have NO time for Pintrest and know VERY well it is feedng a need to teach and learn need we are experiencing…I would be found with my feet hanging out of the computer screen if I ever took the time I am sure….Look at the blog per day WITHOUT missing this year! 🙂 As much as I love to share and learn…OMG!
      Congrats on FP, a no brainer. I just cleaned and cleared my closet, put all of my office and personal stuff in paper boxes, and put it on shelves in the closet. No labels, none of that rot. I mean come on, how long will it stay in that exact spot really?
      Oh and now I cannot find anything! Hahaha!! Love it! The Best to You Fulcrums! AmberLena (and Mikalee)

  4. Lacey says:

    Wow, I love this post. I was nodding and smiling after the quiz… I actually have had to just get off of Pinterest, because I spent most of my time browsing the pictures of perfectly organized kitchens and closets. I would come close to a panic attack every time I looked at MY kitchen or closets. My mom is a chronic organizer, so as a kid I did everything I could to keep my world messy… you know, just because I could. Now that I’m married and have a house of my own, though, there’s nothing I want more than that ribbon caddy or perfectly aligned row of plastic pasta boxes… I guess there are some things you just can’t get out of your blood.

  5. noelchrisman says:

    Humerous and so true! I’ve been on the edge about getting into Pinterest, and thankfully you’ve put me off of it — I have enough lists and projects without organizing more! I love your realization about sloth + envy…I think the magazine industry really makes us feel that way!

  6. Magnet for Foolishness says:

    I thought my favorite line was “…with nary a Ritz Cracker or Fruit Roll-Up in sight…” until I kept reading and came across “It’s also by far the most convenient way I’ve found to combine sloth AND envy.” Hilarious! I just released a post yesterday entitled “The top 7 signs that you need to get your life together” (if interested, you can check it out here–> )so you can understand why I REALLY enjoyed your post!

  7. Shannon.Kennedy says:

    I love this post. I definitely freak out every time I get near a container store. It’s the same sort of feeling I would get when I was a kid and we walked past a toy store. I have also recently joined pinterest (it is definitely taunting me – too many beautiful and amazing things I may never have).

  8. Hontz says:

    I’m definitely the “less stuff” guy, but I don’t just suggest it. If there’s something hanging around, that never gets used, and that really has no home, it’s gone. You have to play with that tricky threshold, where you begin spending more time maintaining your stuff than you do using it. It’s for this reason that I can never collect things. That, and I’m an American, so I ALWAYS have too much crap.

  9. The Grown Up Princess says:

    I definitely had a conversation with my husband week where I tried to rework my schedule to fit in a trip to the container store, after the sale brochure came out with all sorts of amazing containers I’d never dreamed of needing before, at 40% off. Then he asked if I could barely find time to get there, when was I going to use the containers? It was a lightbulb moment. Glad to know I’m not the only one!

  10. Matt says:

    Binders, oh my lord you cannot have enough binders. A binder a day… well that makes you nuts, but at least you’ll have binders!

    Very funny post, cheers.

    • Shweta Bhagwat says:

      I think binders is a men thing.. and containers is a woman thing 🙂 My husband has so many binders and those big plastic envelops to organize our “papers” , only he can figure out the “code” of where is what , as I can do with other containers in the house.

      I don’t mean to stereotype here , but that’s my observation

  11. Melissa Marc says:

    This is SO hilarious. I have a hard enough time doing my laundry and keeping my floor clean without the other stuff. I agree– advanced organization, while very helpful, is very difficult AND it can suck the soul out of your apartment. I still haven’t tried Pininterest.

  12. lovelivingincolorado says:

    I love this post because it is so true! The other day I was in IKEA photographing the inside of cupboards. I was so intrigued with the way they organized the inside of the display cupboards that I couldn’t resist taking pictures. I definitely have organization overload!

  13. jesusknowsmyname says:

    I can’t keep up with Pinterest, and yeah, like you, I keep getting followers and I haven’t done anything with it for at least a month, maybe two. I love being organized, but no ribbon caddy, istead, mine is rolled up on spools and placed in a clear retro glass bowl with cute red cherries on it that shows off the various ribbon colors. I use it as decoration on the shelves with the rest of my creative supplies–which are in baskets, and decorated tin cans that hold markers, colored pencils, etc.

  14. Jesse says:

    I love this post! I especially like your hubs response of having less stuff. Sounds familiar! I am all too often guilty of falling for the organization obsession. To me thinks like pinterest and delicious etc, though on the surface are great, seem to make me less organized because it deters my focus on things I could be actively doing in my life!

    And who doesn’t buy storage tubs!!! very fun post, thanks for the quick read.

  15. suburban eye feast says:

    Dear Fulcrum Chronicles (aka Diary),
    Confession 1: there’s a book called Clutter Rehab….and I own it. I’m not even much of a mess, but I constantly feel stomach aches with self-pressure that I can do more organizing, sorting, tossing, repurposing, and recycling!

    Confession 2: I had a 4-day buzz from lining my medicine cabinet with the most beautiful liner EVER. Now I am concerned with what my next “betterment” will be!

    I really needed your story on an especially un-organized feeling day. 🙂

  16. francoleman89 says:

    Reblogged this on lablanquita and commented:
    This is excellent. And so true. I have also just discovered Pinterest and feel the exact same guilt when I see my shoes lined up next to my wardrobe, why are they not beautifully stored in some purpose built bag/case/cupboard?!

  17. Side Quest Publications says:

    Let’s see, the quiz:
    1) Yes.
    2) No. And I don’t have a container store. But I do acquire boxes a little too frequently….
    3) No
    4) RIBBON caddy, no. But I do need something to keep USB cords and power cords and the like organized and tangle-free.

    I’m using the perfect way to stay organized:
    Set very low standards. 😀

    Okay, seriously, though, I’ve looked at Pinterest but never used it.
    We’re TRYING to find better ways to keep the Legos organized (because every last one of us is tired of the nephew dumping out three bins to look for one figure, and then refusing to pick them up after because it’s “too much work”).
    And while some of our movies are organized by category (Christmas movies, MY movies, good for the nephew to watch, and “everything else”), they are sorted within those categories in alphabetical order by movie name. Or series name, in the case of related movies that would find themselves ten shelves apart (i.e. “Shrek” and “Puss in Boots”).

    Books, on the other hand…there’s a system…I think. Maybe?
    Eh, I’m slowly going from print to digital, so I suppose that counts as “less stuff,” right? 😉

    • The Fulcrum Chronicles says:

      Thanks for reading and for your note! I actually color coded the books. It sounds ridiculous, but it actually works for me because I remember what the cover colors are. I can’t say that it works for everybody else in the house though. Keeps ’em occupied looking for their book. 🙂

      • Side Quest Publications says:

        Nah, my system is more like “wherever I left them is where I’ll find them.” It works just fine for something I’ve used/read RECENTLY.
        Provided I actually remember where I left things, of course. And provided nobody else moves things around (biggest annoyance with my cell phone is that my parents keep putting it somewhere else they think I’m “more likely to find it”).

        Books that I’m not currently reading?
        I used to keep authors/series together, organized by likely reading order, though without any other intended organization (aside from book size determining where they can fit).
        Now I don’t even have that. Maybe once I actually get rid of the ones I’m willing to part with…..

  18. Liz Alexander says:


    You need to come to my house, and help. XD

    I’m pretty much the most disorganized person I know. It’s driven ex-roommates and now my husband crazy for YEARS. If I’m tired, grumpy, hungry, or even just bored, the last thing I want to do is organize. lol (Sad part is, I work and have no kids.)

    Unfortunately, if it’s a choice between Fallout 3 and doing the dishes, Fallout 3’s gonna win it hands-down.

  19. Liz Alexander says:

    Oops, forgot something:

    Answers To Quiz:

    1. Not that I remember.

    2. No.

    3. No, but I often wish those women would come to my house. 🙂

    4. Does a sewing basket with an ecclectic array of different sewing…things…shoved into it count..?

  20. The Blond Pond says:

    Love your style but no, Pinterest doesn’t create the least interest in me and I am the least organized person on earth when coming to my private life. At work, as a matter of necessity, I have to.

  21. Simon says:

    I am going to risk the ridicule and share this with every woman in my life that has been sucked in. You sum it all up so perfectly. My office at work and office at home are still about as organized as my 10th grade locker and I like it that way. It makes my wife’s skin crawl but I don’t need a special case or place for everything. Sometimes I like to just put something down and relish in the fact that that is where it is. Sometimes I think if I carried around a sheet of labels so I could set my phone on the counter and then stick a sticker next to it that says “phone” it might lower my spouses organizational blood pressure. great post and congrats on being FP. One of the best blogs I have read in a long time.

    • The Fulcrum Chronicles says:

      THANK YOU! Thanks for reading and for your nice note! I laughed so loud with your phone label idea. I think you and my husband would get along famously. Seriously, your note kinda made my day. (as did your other one from the other post) I appreciate it very much.

  22. kaylieruns says:

    This is so true! I have so many friends and family members who freak about organizing their things. I tend to be a clean person who is disorganized- but as long as I dont have too much dust or nasty insects on my floor, I’m pretty content to leave my text books and lap top and various other items on my floor. Life is too short to freak about the small stuff. thanks for the post!

  23. edrevets says:

    In “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” the stuff is called kipple, and it multiplies if you don’t take care of it.

    Living in one room houses and moving every six months keeps the stuff down.

  24. bellissimom says:

    I am with you – organized is the new something totally fabulous. Pinterest and my pregnancy hormones are ruining and I dream about organizing my house at night. In trying to become more organized and get everything in its place the one thing I feel like I am losing is my marbles!

  25. sensiblesusan says:

    My sentiments exactly! I’ve had organization envy for years starting with the gal in high school who color coded her notes for each subject. And Pinterest?! Don’t get me started. It’s a love/hate relationship…thought I was the only one out there who feels inadequate after perusing all those beautiful pins….

  26. J. Boudreaux says:

    Aha! So your the one who’s been talking to my wife. Stop it now, she’s driving me crazy with over organizing the pantry . . . the Paul Newman Marinara Sauce next to the Angel Hair Pasta. Then there’s my sock drawer . . . blues go here, browns go there . . . !!!!!

    Closed Circuit to John . . . I feel for you buddy. Let’s meet in the parking lot of Big Box Electronics and go in and buy a couple of Plasma TV’s in which to drown our miseries!!!!!
    Great post. J.

  27. circuskitchen says:

    Woah woah waoh!!! Your “photos and videos are in order”!?!?!?!!! That is my absolute holy grail. Say it isn’t so. (Or say you only have less than 1% of the photos and videos I do.) PLEEEAAAAASE!?!??

    Thanks for the post though!
    ~An ever failing organization junkie (o:

  28. blackshepherd says:

    I used to be wicked orgnaized…honestly…I was…now I live in a 24 ft. RV and the entire rear section is cluttered with clothing…help! It is better than it was though and I’ve learned to fold things and stash them out of the way with some success but, thanks to you, I know I have light years to go and sadly, must confront the “hording” disorder which has lain dormant for so long cause I used to have more space…now I can see that I’m a horder (compensation for a lifetime of losses) but I think you’ve helped me awaken to it in time…I think I can deal with it…folding is not enough…I need an outdoor storage area for the stuff I don’t use…which is almost all of it. Yesterday I gave a beautiful red Indian heavy hooded sweater to my “yardmate” and as I was giving it to him I hesitated thinking: “I really like this sweater, I wonder why I’ve never worn it…” you know? But he already had one hand on it and this morning I saw him wearing it and he looked good and I knew it had buoyed his spirits…plus, I just found a really cool sweatshirt that is more my style…black and says “Lucky Strike” on the front and on the inside by the collar is a tag that says: “Stay out of the gutter…” it was meant for me…I know…

  29. Deana @bookananda says:

    My life will never even remotely resemble anything on PInterest. It just won’t. Pinterest is like a movie: you have the costumes, the hair styles, the perfect bodies, the perfect homes. Pinterest is a dream of perfection. It doesn’t make me feel bad about myself because it’s so far removed from reality that I just consider it an imaginary realm, like Narnia. I do need to go reorganize my closet for the 5 billionth time, though.

  30. argonzalez312 says:

    I think I suffer from the same organization illness! I am so not organized that I often dream/fantasize about how to be organized. Then I found pinterest and realized that I was doomed.
    Also I have the same conversation outside of best buy/ game stop, etc. with my husband!!! He and my sons happily go inside and I read an organization magazine in the car.

  31. Beverly says:

    Too true. Whenever I would move, organizing my books and movies made me happier than organizing the kitchen, because at least there is a hope of a bookshelf staying neat.

  32. irenelefort says:

    My home office is mess. I keep the door closed most of the time to keep my husband from getting worked up. (He is the more organised one between us.) But I know where what is and that is the main reason for being organised, right? By the way, I bought a couple of storage boxes from IKEA, which fit nicely in my IKEA shelf, about 2 months ago. Needless to say, they are still waiting for something to organise. 🙂 I hope I won’t be a storage box in my next life. You know as punishment for my treatment of them in this life. It could become a very lonely life indeed. 🙂

  33. diggingher says:

    First off…fun to read. Congrats on being FP. Secondly, I can’t even THINK about looking at another site that requires my active involvement. Thirdly, I agree with the husband…I say we just have less stuff. Hard to imagine that people actually make a seriously good living out of helping the rest of us “get organized”.

  34. eao says:

    own less stuff? BLASPHEMY.

    excuse me while i go look for more snazzy tiny bottles in which to store my beading supplies. i must have the appropriate sizes to accommodate EVERY AMOUNT OF BEADS.

  35. inspiredness says:

    Loved this!! I was almost laughing out loud in the library where I’m reading this!
    I have been obsessed with anything to do with organization since I was very young (maybe I have a bit of OCD?). I love, love, love The Container Store; I know I’ve purchased a storage container for something that I don’t yet own; I definitely have that visceral reaction to beautifully organized pantries, closets, rooms, etc. I don’t yet have a ribbon caddy but it’s definitely on my wish list…not sure anyone I know would waste their money on this for me, though! And really, don’t get me started on Pinterest…love it! Is there a 12-step group for people like me…I’m sure my husband wouldn’t mind if I found one!
    Thanks for the entertaining read and congrats on being FP!!

  36. makespacenewyork says:

    Thanks for articulating so cleverly how so many of us feel! Organization should always and only be in service to your happiness. We all have varying levels of comfort with organized environments– and we should aim for what makes us feel just that, comfortable. Great insight into Pinterest, too. I definitely got reeled in, and then overdosed and had to take a break. 🙂

  37. Samantha says:

    I loved this post. I definitely enjoy organization, but don’t necessarily like the idea of tubs and bins that don’t go with everything else to use as storage unless it looks right to me. I’m the same like, “Why would I put my hair ties on a tube when I could just put it on my desk and it’ll be there when I need it next?” My mother, on the other hand, has always been of the “everything organized” persuasion, and gets annoyed when things end up on the floor even when there’s nowhere else to put them 🙂

    I enjoy Pinterest, but not at an obsessed level. I just enjoy being able to catalog things and have them for later IF i ever decide to cook those recipes or do that designing idea at a DIY, cheaper cost 🙂

    Congrats on Freshly Pressed! 🙂

  38. Kitty Hun says:

    AMEN!! I often feel my life is perfectly organized… UNTIL I pick up one of the many magazines dedicated to organizing, say, all the magazines you own. It’s insanity. I think simplifying your life might be disorganizing your life a bit!!

  39. lifecleaning says:

    “five easy steps to decluttering your way to a carefree life.”

    I can give you one: throw out and/or donate the shit you don’t need/use

    I have an almost UNBELIEVABLY small apartment (we’re talking <300 sq ft) and finally I've realized that I don't need to move around my clutter to make it look nice, I need to get RID OF IT or there's no room for the basics, like… my bed.

  40. Q. Annie says:

    Wow, you just gave me another view of how Pinterest works. I never thought it was organizing, but I guess it is. I’ll be using Pinterest tutorials for my venture into professional organizing. Thank you for the read!

  41. Ronda says:

    Oh, this is WONDERFUL. I could have written it and really, really wish I had I have never been to your blog before, but I read through this and laughed uncontrollably, while I read bits of it aloud to my husband, who (can you believe it?) didn’t get it. I think you and I are a lot alike. I try to declutter, I really do, but I’d far rather organize it. It’s a curse.

  42. ramblingwithramey says:

    Seriously, have you been living my life???? After almost 40 years my DH has given up on sitting down without looking to see exactly where his chair is (I’m a compulsive re-arranger of furniture too!) and never mind asking where some dish goes or which cupboard the spices are now in because it was “suggested” that they be put…………to be more efficient 🙂 I’ve been so busy the past few months with back surgery and working as the co-chair for our bi-annual quilt show (in June with 600+ quilts on display and over 60 vendors that the five organizational magazines and two books ordered specially from Amazon are waiting in the stack of other unread materials. Of course they are neatly arranged!!! OH—is this going to help or add to my…………………………………..

  43. Sarah Harris says:

    Hah, I made my own ribbon caddy! But your boyfriend has a good point, owning less stuff feels good too. I’ve done a lot of that recently and still added to my 101 things to do in 1001 days that I need to get down to 1 junk drawer – which will never be organized.
    I was organized – sort of – til I started blogging!

  44. Mama Veleke says:

    I currently have two 30 gallon Rubbermaid containers in my garage filled with various empty organizing containers that I’m sure I’ll need one day…you know when I get organized…right after the kids have all moved out…in 2031. LOL

  45. simplycontemplating says:

    Thank you for this post. So well said! I recently joined pinterest and agree that it can suck up time with stuff you will never touch in reality. Isn’t it so much easier to be organized with in our little fantasy lands 🙂 I agree maybe we should just get rid of stuff and keep it simple.

  46. Shweta Bhagwat says:

    LOOOOOOOOOOVED your post. I can totally relate to it. I suffer from extreme love for boxes. Specially for my kitchen. I have to control myself every time i reach the plastic section of any department store. I never seem to have enough boxes.
    I was planning to arrange tow of the cupboards at home the coming weekend, and the first thought was, should I get big boxes with lids for that stuff.

    We as a couple also realize we suffer from planning overdose. We plan our trips, weekends sometimes too such an extent that we feel “what’s wrong with us” 🙂
    Congratulation on being freshly pressed. I will share this post with my sister, she is pretty similar too. We both got it from our mom 🙂 … blame it on the genes.

  47. Audrey says:

    Love love love love love this post!!! Damn, and I thought I was the only one with this problem, with my overflowing ‘gift corner’, endless lists (which I keep for years) and multiple bags of ‘clothes for x, y and z’. I guess this answers why I have an absolute penchant for boxes, baskets, multi-drawer organizers and compartmentalized containers…Sigh. It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

  48. hungrylindsay says:

    Eek. Immediately upon reading this, I thought, “I have to find a toilet paper tube to hold my hair bands!” Fortunately (?), I’m far too messy to ever really attempt to be this organized.

  49. The Wild Mind says:

    Reblogged this on 2 Sexes and commented:
    This is perfect! One of the big things I promised myself after I divorced my second husband was that I was NEVER going to get involved with a guy unless he made me look like a slob. I looked like a complete neat freak next to ex, and while I’m not a slob, I definitely have room to grow where organization is concerned. Enter the “His” in my 2Sexes equation and guess what. He does make me look like a completely lazy slob (and I love that about him). He will be glad to know I am following this blog. He would most specifically love this article on organization overload, because I do have container that I don’t yet have stuff for. As he is always fond of telling me, “There’s just too much crap!” Really, there’s not, but that’s beside the point. Enjoy The Fulcrum Chronicles. I did!

  50. margiewrites says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head — “organized” is the new rich. I personally love pretty containers, and The Container Store for that matter, but that stuff is expensive! I don’t feel like spending hundreds of dollars on containers because where do you draw the line? What needs a container and what doesn’t?

    I recently thought about putting dry goods in the pantry in containers (mainly for freshness, not aesthetics), but again, cost is a factor. And how green is that anyway, when food already comes in perfectly good containers?

    I’m of the same school of thought as your husband and try to own as little “stuff” as possible — it’s just visual pollution and too overwhelming to sort through and organize so much.

  51. jomckee says:

    So when I lusted after a wardrobe design where the wardrobe in question had a pair of ANTLERS in the bottom cubicle, I’m normal? Who has room for antlers in their closet?

  52. Elle says:

    Great post! One comment.

    My ex got tired of seeing hair accessories all over the place too. His solution (which actually works quite well…) is to store pony tail holders on the doorknob inside of a closet or two around the house. Makes finding and hiding them pretty painless!

  53. jamieahughes says:

    “It’s also by far the most convenient way I’ve found to combine sloth AND envy.”—Genius!

    I am an organization freak, which is why I think I have a Pinterest account but refuse to use it. Once in awhile, I stick something on one of my boards, but I mostly end up feeling guilty because the dozens of people who follow me get nothing from my corner of the site. I just have a feeling I might go off the deep end and never come up for air… Great post!!

  54. kevintriedge says:

    So true, I often find myself losing track of things’ locations the more they are organized. Meanwhile, I often find things easily when I never tidy them up in the first place.

    That’s an inspirative post, keep up the good work 🙂

    My blog also houses some inspirative contents, be sure to check it out ^^

  55. omwaombara says:

    Hi there. Thanks for the tips. They will be truly useful. I am in love with bulbs and I never throw them away even when they switch off. I think they make nice wall decorations especially with creeper plants. Congratulations for getting Freshly Pressed.

  56. Christine R. says:

    Love this post! I’m also a list-maker and categorizer of stuff and always trying to figure out fun ways of getting even more organize than I already am. So this post was highly entertaining and I was humoured to know that you’re even more particular about getting organized than I am. Great classification system for DVDs by the way! Keep up the great posts 🙂

  57. Lulu Simawati says:

    In Java, it’s almost like an old saying “mangan ora mangan asal ngumpul” and “ngumpul ora ngumpul asal mangan”. In English, “eat or not as long as we are gathered” and “gathered or not as long as we eat”

  58. yourtruthdiet says:

    I am now learning the true meaning of “less is more.” I am throwing away things that I have not used in years and organizing the stuff that I really want to keep. I feel more in control now that I’m not trying to put away things that don’t belong in my space anymore. Thank you for such a great post.

  59. bloggingreadingwriting says:

    I couldn’t agree more with you. I’m a college student living in a dorm room all by myself, and I did not want my dorm room looking like my bedroom at home (aaah!) I tried so hard keeping myself as organized as possible because of this, very much so like you… a few weeks in, I’d get lazy, find a new system, try it, get lazy…

    It’s good to know I’m not the only one who thinks getting things TOO organized is a waste of time, and maybe (just maybe) not all of the stuff that I’m trying to organize is needed…

  60. dawnmcnary says:

    Oh you are too funny- and so ‘spot on’!!! I I i hate..oh shoot- ok I love Pinterest- sort of..but like many others I am slowly learning LESS IS MORE and I am often seeing the word PURGE on Facebook updates- not being a teen anymore I no longer am worried that my friends have an eating disorder- when I see the word PURGE I now know they have FOUND THE LIGHT and are in the midst of disentangleing themselves from everything they have ever bought, stored, categorized, or planned to buy! All while shouting the new MANTRA Keep, Toss, Give Away!

    And it is good for the soul!! So if the worst I do is PIN IT…then I’m good…for now!! 🙂

    Thank you for making me laugh today!

  61. whyyyjen says:

    I get this. I love seeing things organized but it’s a lot more difficult if I am the one to personally do it. 🙂

  62. naturalbeautycabinet says:

    Genius post! I’m too scared to investigate in detail but I suspect some weeks I spend more time organising than doing. It’s like we’re all working towards a utopia where everything is so organised that no further organisation will ever be needed ever again. Which is about as feasible as hoping there’ll one day be the ‘last ever’ load of washing or ironing.

    And I haven’t gone near Pinterest. I’m far too frightened to fall down that rabbit hole…


  63. Barb Drummond says:

    I love having a big clearout, so the way to ensure that wonderful sense of purging, I have to collect. Or maybe it’s the other way around. The ebb and flow of stuff gives me a sense of some sort of natural tide, a rhythm outside other rhythms. Or maybe I’m just a slob. Hmmm…It’s different if you have a cat. If you can’t find the cat, it’s time to have a clearout.. Just in case

  64. Canyon Blog says:

    This was hilarious. I do think that the “let’s just have less stuff” angle is solid. But then you wouldn’t be helping capitalism, now, would you? 🙂

  65. alundeberg says:

    Loved this post. I work with a woman who is compulsively organized– I mean she can see the top of her desk! As for me, as long as no one moves my piles, I’m organized.

  66. typesketchbook says:

    But when the toilet paper tubes are full of hairbands, do I put them in a toilet paper tube caddy? And when the toilet paper tube caddy is full of toilet paper tubes full of hairbands, where do I put that? Where!?

  67. quirkymelbournian says:

    I love your honesty and realistic view to life. I agree with you in saying that people aren’t just trying to be organised, but so organised to the point of insanity. My Mum bought be for a container for my ribbons and hair stuff when I was a kid and then organised those things – into colours and types of hair-clips… so ribbons that I wore for school weren’t with the green ribbons and then my butterfly clips weren’t with the push back style of clips….
    The craziest thing about is I still have it and have still kept it this way…

  68. Joanna says:

    I would totally be one of the overly organized people.. But only with certain things like my photos, folders, books, pens, lots of school stuff. But mostly important email! A messy inbox drives me crazy!

  69. Elizabeth B. says:

    I sure had to scroll a long way down to put in my comment! Great post!

    Pinterest spooks me the same way the Facebook did. I don’t need to know, I don’t need to know, I don’t need to know. 😉

    Glad wordpress organizes blogs so I could find yours!


  70. Rustic Recluse says:

    i’ve gotten to the “let’s do with less” stage too, so that I can concentrate on just organising things that i really care for..or maybe i’m just getting lazy. great post there, thanks for sharing!

  71. Pitchgreen says:

    Thanks for making me see my media surroundings – decluttering really is the big topic these days! Ever since January of 2011 I’ve been using bread tabs to determine which clothes to keep in my closet and which to chuck. You know, wear it once, put a bread tab around the hook of the clothes hanger. So far I’ve thrown away 40+ items. It’s a good feeling. Early on it was easy to cut “the fat”, but now I’m starting to cut muscle, so to speak. (I can also tell you which ties I’ve worn and how many times. If I told you anymore about my closet regimen both out brains would explode.)

  72. jodijojo says:

    Love this post. Life is messy. People are making problems for themselves by striving to achieve this kind of perfection that is unobtainable. I agree a better alternative to clutter is consume less.

    • The Fulcrum Chronicles says:

      When everything is put away in the perfect spot, I don’t even want them playing with their stuff. Not a sustainable situation by any means. Thanks so much for reading and for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful note!

  73. Find Focus says:

    Ok… I started reading everyone’s comments after reading the post and realized I’m looking for “like” buttons on different responses because I completely understand and agree. lol! I LOVE Pinterest (even did my own ‘confessions of a pinner’ post), but you have so accurately articulated everything about it that is wonderful and awful at the same time. I love it, yet also strangely despise it. : ) I’ve managed better than most by already attempting 5-6 different recipes and one crafty project, but the organization stuff is what I really need and fail most miserably to actually work into my life and home.

    Your comment about it being the ‘most convenient way’ to ‘combine sloth AND envy’ STILL has me giggling!

    Great post! 🙂

  74. Life At A Glance says:

    Did you read my last blog or something?? Hehe… definitely me right now, freaking out with wanting to be super organized and de-clutter by getting rid… but, God forbid I EVER get a pinterest. That’s the LAST thing I need! 🙂

  75. green4u says:

    Love this post! I want to be organized in a visual way to other but I never do it because I know where everything is so there is always something better to do right… like Pinterest! I sent my husband your post because he will laugh at it all especially part about your conversation with your husband, pretty sure we had the same one.

    I have made 2 recipes I found on Pinterest though so I am living the dream!!

  76. Jennifer Butler Basile says:

    Hilarious! For many reasons – most of all because I found myself all throughout! Have you found the organization series, neat? My husband is forever making fun of me for quoting its host, Helen Buttigieg. One bit of her sage advice, do not buy any organizational paraphernalia until you’ve purged. A very difficult proposition with places like Container Store!

    Thanks for an entertaining read.

  77. intrepidallergymum says:

    You tapped a vein here, congratulations! How to organise yourself, let alone your kids – ughhh.

    Pinterest = tantric shopping, without the have and to hold.

    I wish my house was more organised, but I now reconcile its state by saying ‘its a phase’, looking forward to the next phase and I hope its soon!

  78. stillthinking2023 says:

    My favorite is the stacks of plastic shoe bins with the Polaroids on the front to tell you which shoe is napping inside. If I had time to organize that, I’d have time to lift the box lid and peek in for myself!

  79. stephanieough says:

    Thank you. Now I know what Pinterest is. I was confused. I’m with you that organizational tools don’t work. Actually they can clutter up your home worse. We are decluttering (for the last 2 years) and it wasn’t that I needed to organize or to put stuff away but actually that we had at least twice as much stuff as a house needs. Now that we have less crap it’s starting to be easier to look organized.

  80. Onchita says:

    I love how succintly you expressed this obsession with ‘getting organized’. My boss advised recently that I should get a whiteboard to list the projects I am working on. And I thought it’s enough that I put them down in my diary! I think being too prim and proper can inhibit creativity, because then we start locking our thoughts in storage boxes.

  81. smcwrites says:

    I do like organizing but I am staying away from that pinterest site, it sounds dangerous! I do like the suggestion of less stuff 😉 I once moved from a 1300 sq ft town house into a 300 sq ft bachelor suite, that helped! Great post though, very funny take on the current state of affairs 😉 I am thinking if people spent less time on pinterest and more time physically organizing and de-cluttering they would be set! I will admit, I am one of those people with an alphabetized DVD collection, but I don’t feel bad at all – it actually makes finding a movie you want easier 🙂 my boyfriend laughed at first but now he’s realized it just works.

  82. Maureen says:

    Genius! This article is genius! I’m not even a mom yet and I completely identify with everything you’ve said including the insights about Pinterest. It’s like we had a Vulcan mind-meld or something. Thank you for calling it like it is–we are ridiculous about organization.

    Favorite line: “We want our clutter so creatively and lovingly contained it ceases to be junk, and become treasure.” That needs to be a quote…on Pinterest. 🙂

    Oh, and, yes, totally guilty of the reaction to the perfect, HUGE pantry stocked with healthy, organic foods.

  83. ifreticraftirun says:

    Great read. To me it felt like you were surfing my brain yesterday. Because aim for organization was high. This was also a keen reminder of why I suspected I shouldn’t traverse the rabbithole of Pinterest. There are way too many beautiful things to look at over there. 🙂

  84. Ian Burgess Photography says:

    I admit I did once by a labelling machine, which I still use and boy does it make me feel organized.

    They are also handy for writing 70’s style retro ransom notes, so it’s all good, really 😉

  85. forkmyfood says:

    my husband has the same response to pinterest. haha. I’ve been forcing myself to try the recipes on pinterest and other awesome organization/homemaking tips. but then, like you, a week later i’m just glad we have survived another day. i’m always amazed when i got to someone’s perfectly kempt and organized house b/c i’m not sure i’ll ever get there, which is fine by me!

  86. Sara says:

    I live your post! It made me laugh at times. It’s so spot on!
    Personally, I find that thinking of organising my stuff eventually helps me getting rid of what I don’t really use/need. We don’t need over-organisation if we stop hoarding. So when I see a nice basket etc. I ask myself: do I really need this? If I don’t at the moment but I really like the item, then I make a note on my little books, notebooks etc. where I jot down ideas for work but also about other stuff. After writing down a note on an item we like, then we can wait say, a couple of months and chances are that when we re-read the note we don’t find that we want that item anymore. This system needs some discipline, though. The impulse to buy can be difficult to control but well, I try… 😉

  87. jvlivs says:

    Organization is a major pain in the patootie! That’s why I’m selling my stuff on eBay. I got too much stuff that I am dying to get rid of. I can barely keep my room clean let alone keep things in order. And every time I try to organize things, I just snap!

    sometimes I just wanna throw stuff away, but I can’t do that cause I gotta sift through ’em and find out what they are so I can shred ’em first, then toss the rest.

    And me being a photographer, too? I don’t see that happening very often (with myself).

  88. Janine Pugh says:

    hmmm i can relate! my husband sounds like yours and many others. “if we didnt have stuff, we wouldnt need to organise it!”he says. case in point. but i say ” where would the fun be then!” great post.

  89. Beloved says:

    Yes, this is like reading something that has been contained in my head. The legos of my kids have tier boxes, one for different types. I do agree that less stuff makes it all better. I used to think I had OCD with my organization/ container affinities, but glad to know it is just a way to keep life simple in the house along with knowing where little things are. Now what do I do with all those travel lotions and shampoos?

  90. Carmela says:

    I’m also an organization junkie. One of my keys to being organized is compartmentalization. I too have containers for a lot of things.

    But I do believe that “Less is Best” and have gone through all my stuff and have divided it into 3 areas: 1) To Keep. 2) To Throw. 3) To Give Away (while the item is still in style).

    …and at the end…the best thing that works is having a few beautiful “key” items and having less.

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