In the Midst Of Chaos, Why Not Organize?


Posted by Katie Gambone

The election was very messy no matter who you voted for so I thought I would post today about cleaning things up.  Because if I’ve learned anything in life it’s that when things feel uncertain, the best thing you can do is to work on the things you can control.  Organizing things makes me feel better.  I’ll admit I made good progress earlier this year on my goal to organize and simplify my house, but I’ve fallen off course.  So, this post is not going to be full of pretty pictures and ideas for how to organize.  It is more of a reality check on where I am with this goal and what I am going to do next to get myself back on track.  I’m guessing that many of you may be experiencing what I am, so hopefully this is helpful.


A few months ago I posted about my love of the Marie Kondo method. Just as a reminder, with the Marie Kondo method you start with your wardrobe, specifically your shirts. From there you work on your pants, and then the rest of your wardrobe.  Once you master your wardrobe you can then shift to everything else – books, personal papers, “junk drawers,” etc.   The process should takes about 6 months, but the idea is that you will never (NEVER!) need to organize again.  Sounds good.

So how did I do?  Well, on the positive side, I successfully completed the clothing sorting process and am very happy to report that my wardrobe is still in good order.  Everything is organized, folded and in one place so that I am not searching around for clothes each morning.  I actually know exactly what I have and also what I need.  So I consider that step a success and I highly recommend that anyone give it a try.

As far as the rest of my house……I kind of stalled out.  I got busy with other projects and I just haven’t made the progress that I intended to.  I even joined a Facebook group hosted by one of my favorite bloggers, She Holds Dearly, that is for folks who want to motivate each other to complete the Marie Kondo Method over 12 weeks.  Some of the people in the group are making AMAZING progress, but I just haven’t found the time to keep up.  I do continue to follow the group’s posts and celebrate their successes, but I haven’t been a very active contributor.  In my defense, the past few months have been swamped, but if I ever want my goal of an organized and simplified house to become a reality I need to make the time.

img_1117So, I’ve been feeling a little down on myself for not completing the Marie Kondo process yet, but then I read a blog post from another one of my favorite professional organizers and bloggers, Simply Organized titled Why Your Attempts To Get Organized May Not Be Working. Out of her list of seven things that can throw you off of your organization goals (which I’ve conveniently listed below for your reading pleasure but you should read her full post) I would say I am guilty of 5 of them – namely numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7.  Definitely guilty of numbers 2 and 7!

  1. You Haven’t Stopped Buying Stuff
  2. You’re Blindly Buying Containers
  3. You’re Taking On Too Much At Once
  4. Lack of Patience or Interest
  5. You Need Help With Habit Changes
  6. Feelings of Guilt (For Getting Rid Of Things Others Have Given You)
  7. You’re Trying To Mimic Magazine/Pinterest Images/ Organization Blogs

Recognizing my problems has actually energized me that I can conquer them.  So, here is my simplified plan for moving forward.

  • I am going to set small goals that I know are manageable. Instead of saying I am going to organize my entire house, or even my basement, I have decided that before December 1, I pledge to clean out my bathrooms. That’s it.  Once I finish that, I am going to make a new goal for December.  And so on.
  • I am not going to any more container stores and definitely not stepping my foot in the actual Container Store, which is a favorite shopping spot for me. I pledge to you, Button Jar readers, that I am not going to buy any more baskets or organization tools until I finish going through everything I have.  Please understand that this is a really hard one for me because I really, really like buying organization tools.  So, hand slapped. No, no, no.
  • I’m going to keep looking at organization blogs and magazines because they really do inspire me and give me ideas, but I am not going to try and make my house look exactly like them. Because I can’t.  My house doesn’t function the same as many of the houses on Pinterest and in magazines because I live in the city and have limited space.  I need to organize based on my unique situation so I pledge to try and focus on what I have and making it work.
  • I am going to enlist the help of my husband. He keeps saying that we should do this together so I think I am going to hold him to it.  I think it will be good for both of us.

And that’s it.  That’s what I’m focusing on for right now.  I hope to have a positive update for you in the near future.  In the meantime, if you are tackling an organization project, know that the struggle is real and that we are in the same boat.  I’d love to hear what you are doing to overcome your organization obstacles!


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3 thoughts on “In the Midst Of Chaos, Why Not Organize?

  1. Samantha says:

    Hi Katie!

    Wow, thank you so much – first of all – for sharing that I’m one of your favorite professional organizers / bloggers! Means the World! Secondly, I am SOOOO glad my post inspired you enough to share it. Thank you!

    I love everything you have outlined for your plans to move forward and it sounds amazing! Doable and realistic.

    Again, my sincere thanks for sharing and I hope to continue inspiring you and others online that it’s never about perfection…it’s about progress. Little steps.

    Simply Organized

    • Katie Gambone (Button-jar.com) says:

      So nice to hear from you Samantha! I do love your blog and hope that some of our readers will check you out as well. You do amazing stuff!

  2. Sarah Gallup says:

    Thank you, Katherine. Today, I changed every sheet in my house, ironed pillow cases and washed blankets. It really DID make me feel better, because I concentrated on the tasks and refused to let my mind wander. It’s interesting that this is the way I have always dealt with stress. When I was a kid, my mom would give me the task of making all the beds. I put a Room number and bed number on each bed, put a nurse’s cap on my head and retreated into my imagination that I was a nurse, Dr. Kildare would be walking the floor soon, and I had to do everything right! Hahahaha! I never did meet Dr. Kildare, but I also never lost my mind…entirely.

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