Simplicity 101: 10 Organizational Systems That Do Not Work For Me

I am someone who use to believe they were unorganized on my way to  realizing my organized self as a non-cluttered person.  I've been on this road for several years and I've learned so much.  The first thing I've learned is that changing from being messy and unorganized to being organized and together is slow.  And it should be.  Change doesn't happen quickly.  You have to treat your home and whatever it is you're trying to organize like a sticky board: just chuck shit at it and see what sticks and what falls to the floor.  The things that stick, work.  The things that fall, no matter how cool of an idea or process it is, will not work for you.  That is, until you can make it work for you.  But we'll talk about that later.  

But before you can figure out what does work you for, you have to try a load of things that don't.  And it's great to remember the things that don't work for you because that way you won't try it again the future (at least not the way you're using it).  

Ten things that do not work for me that I've tried in the past are:

  1. File Cabinets.  I've tried being super organized with filing systems, only to find out that I only care about filing important things, so I know where to find them again.  Nothing else.  Everything else gets burned or recycled (I'm looking at you medical discharge papers and whatever else). 
  2. Opaque Storage Bins.  Do you know how many times IN ONE SITTING I will open the same bin and say "What was in this again?"  No way.  Nope.  All of my storage bins need to be a) labeled and b) see through.  Or else it's still a freaking disaster.
  3. Closed Small Storage.  Things with lids that I can't see into.  Same thing as above, I never know what the hell is in it.  And I hate storing stuff in small boxes or whatever when I can just get rid of the items instead.  Because if I clutter up my living room or wherever with various boxes full of who knows what, eventually, it will just become a junk box.  Never fails.  Always happens.  So no little boxes of anything.  If the item can't sit out where I can see it?  It can be put away or gotten rid of. 
  4. A Garbage Can With a Lid.  I consider my garbage can an organizational item since if I didn't have one, my house would be littered in random things.  So would yours.  This means anywhere but my kitchen (I need a lid on the kitchen one, as we have dogs).  My garbage can in my room just becomes another surface to put stuff on (like books).  So I recently took the lid off and left it off.  I also don't line it with a garbage bag, because I do not put food in it (you can do the same for your kitchen and only throw away table scraps in small grocery bags or even in boxes.  I just dump my bin directly into our outside garbage bins, no need to mess up our environment with more plastic bags if we don't need to.  
  5. Hutches (or anything that works as a "command center" or has lots of nooks and crannies to stuff things into).  Yes, I had all my envelopes, my stamps, and postcards, all in one place when I had a hutch.  And office supplies.  But also everything else you can think of.  When I did not know where to put something, I just shoved it into my pretty hutch.  And eventually, it just became a clutter magnet.  This style of "organization" does not work for me at all.  I am an all or nothing kind of gal.  So I now choose nothing.  I used to get my mail and stand over the recycling bin and then pitch 99% of it in.  Now I just burn it instead.  But the mail never makes it into the house to just sit around anymore (god, I used to have mail everywhere! especially in that damn hutch!) unless it's important mail I need to keep.  
  6. Storing Everything.  Meaning, I see the organizational stuff on Pinterest and it makes me want to barf.  I used to be that person who stored everything and tried to organize everything.  I used to be that person who wanted to be as organized as the pictures on Pinterest.  But now I see it all and think "Who needs all that junk?!"  Now, I am a person who gets emotionally attached to my stuff.  So I get it.  But organizing a mess, is still a freaking mess.  It's like my email: I have like ten thousand emails.  And much of it is from amazing bloggers with amazing ideas.  But when am I ever going to have time to read all of them??  It's like how Cas from says "A room full of useful stuff makes everything useless" or something like that.  But I will add that even if it's organized, it's also useless, because when are you going to have time to use it all?  If you do use it all, then by all means, organize it.  But if you don't...well, find the stuff you love and only organize that instead, and sell or donate the rest.  Like, I don't have a hundred purses anymore, I have a couple for different tasks (one is a dog walking purse that I carry with dog poop bags and a place to put my phone and water bottle).  I don't have a billion pairs of shoes anymore, I have one pair for specific purposes (winter, summer, mowing).  I have two coats, one for heavy winter, one for daily winter (that I wear with a hoodie).  Stuff like that.  I no longer need a hundred of something in order to not feel like I am missing out if I don't (FOMO is real).  I don't need that huge micro-organization wall, or closet or whatever, because I don't want to have to fill it up with crap I don't need.  Let me tell you, in 2018?  I got rid of over a thousand dollars worth of craft items.  And I STILL had thousands more that I took with me when I moved.  It's insane!  And since then I've been purging in passes (which you'll read in #2 of the "Simplicity 101" series) and getting rid of more and more stuff.  The next time I move? I want to have as little stuff as possible to take with us.  
  7. Planners.  Oh how it pains me to say this, but I really am bad at using planners, even though I love buying them.  Like, I will use them for all of two weeks and then I'll forget I even have one!  So I buy old planners to turn into altered art books instead.  They are usually spiral bound so there's tons of room for creating in them.  And it fulfills my need to buy planners, without having to actually use them, and it keeps them out of landfills and gives them new life.  I think I'm going to make a rule that I will only use old planners as art journals from now on and never buy a sketchbook or similar type of thing again.  Yeah, I like that idea!  Possibly even for regular journals, too! (just kidding, I have way too many types of journals I want to keep).
  8. Zone Cleaning (or pretty much any kind of regular cleaning system).  Sorry FlyLady, I love you, but I just can't do it.  I do not make my sink sparkle, though I did learn to use TP as a (mostly) daily cleaning device from you.  Which I still do.  But as for the regular cleaning on certain weeks or even days, I just CANNOT do it.  I have ADHD, and if I see something is dirty, I clean it.  That's how my cleaning system works.  If it's messy, I put stuff where it goes.  If the floor needs sweeping?  I sweep it.  I just can't keep up with the whole "Today is Tuesday, I so that means I need to grocery shop!"  Nope.  I am too busy writing or creating to think about stuff like that.  If we need groceries, I go to the store.  So my cleaning style is "as-needed".  And I am working up to a daily cleaning routine (nothing heavy or crazy), which you can see in my other post about creating an household bullet journal, but that's just for a reminder, not a rule to live by.  
  9. Meal Plans.  I am not a planner.  I am just not.  I used to be better at it, but I feel like I like to buy certain foods and work within those particular foods.  Like, universal things.  Cheese.  Meat.  Veggies.  Rice.  Mashed potatoes.  Real potatoes.  Milk.  And maybe some other stuff thrown in, but I buy the basics and work with what I have.  I cannot grocery shop for two hours at a time anymore, due to my body being an asshole to me.  So I buy the basics, and man, can I get through the stores so much faster now!  No more long ass grocery trips.  Thank goodness (otherwise I am in pain for at least two days after due to my POTS).  
  10. Open Air Shelving in the Kitchen.  Now, this isn't an organizational issue, per say, it's just a thing people do.  And I have a metal rack in my kitchen where we have to store stuff we cook with and let me you, it's nasty!  I hate it so very much!  Dog hair.  Cat hair.  Human hair.  Dust.  And dirt.  On our baking sheets and casserole dishes.  My cabinets are from 1962 and they are TINY.  So my crap doesn't fit into them (and we don't have a lot crap).  So I have to wash whatever I use that's stored on my shelves before I use it, because otherwise, gross.  It works for my pressure cooker, my electric griddle, and whatnot.  Things with lids work great sitting out.  But not for my cookie sheets and stuff!  Yuck.  So anyways, I'm going to find a way to store that stuff elsewhere and see what happens.  

So those are 10 things that do not work for me.  If you want to keep organized or tidy or whatever you want to call it, you need to come to terms with what is not working for you before you can figure out what does work.  

So, what's on your list?  

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