Are You Disorganized or “Differently Organized”?

by Vanessa Hayes

in Organizing

Disorganized! I'm just guessin'...

We have this preconceived notion that being organized means having picture-perfect homes and picture-perfect offices like the ones you see in magazines.  Let’s face it…we’ve all looked in a magazine and seen a gorgeous kitchen with shelves full of matching glass containers, cupboards with perfectly stacked dishes and sparkling clean counters with not a single crumb on them and thought, “Wow, that’s gorgeous! That’s what I want my kitchen to look like. That’s perfect.” Well let me tell you something…if that kitchen looks like that all the time I guarantee there’s no one using it! That goes for any other area of your home too.

You see, organizing is more than appearances. It’s about efficiency. It’s about being in control of your time, possessions and clutter as opposed to them being in control of you. Organization and disorganization can take many forms and can be deceptive.  What you think is organized may not necessarily be so, and vice versa.  Here are a few actual examples from people I’ve worked with before:

Disorganized Office = Organized Person:
One gentleman worked in an office space that was a complete mess. He had files stacked on the floor and on top of every cabinet. Papers were piled on practically every square inch of his desk and his office supplies were located in several different drawers and cabinets around the room. You’d think because his office was such a complete disaster he had to be a mess too. But contrary to what you might think, he was extremely efficient at work and could easily find what he needed.

Disorganized Office = Disorganized Person:
Another gentleman I worked with also had a messy office. His desk had virtually disappeared under all the clutter. He even had files stashed in his car!   The difference with this gentleman was that he was just as much of a mess as his office desk. He thought he was organized and that his mess had no influence on his work but unfortunately it did. He lost important paperwork, wasted time trying to find things, was late to meetings and frequently failed to complete his tasks on time. He thought he thrived in chaos when in reality he drowned in it.

Organized Picture-Perfect Office = Disorganized Person:
One woman always looked immaculate and had an immaculate office. Her desk was always neat and orderly and her files and office supplies were nicely organized in her desk and cabinets. By all appearances, you would think she was totally organized. In actuality, she had difficulty completing her tasks on time because she didn’t have an efficient way of keeping track of her incoming papers, meetings and suspenses. She portrayed the “illusion” of being organized but had no systems in place to actually be efficient or effective!

So, can you see how the idea of being organized can be deceptive?  Looks can be deceiving.  As a matter of fact, Julie Morgenstern, a well known professional organizer, addresses the same concern in her book, Organizing from the Inside Out.  Basically, in order to determine if you are organized or disorganized, you can simply ask yourself these two questions:

1. Can I find what I need when I need it?

2. Am I comfortable in my space?

If the answer is NO to either question then, yes…perhaps you are a little disorganized and could use some help getting organized.

If you answered YES to both questions then you’re probably not disorganized…you’re just “differently organized.”

So, if you find yourself wondering if you’re organized or not, try asking yourself the two questions above as a good starting point! If you conclude that you might need a little organizing help, check out the great selection of books in the Get Simplifized Store by clicking on the Store tab above! You’ll find tons of great references there.  Of course, keep checking right back here on for all the latest hints and tips to not only organize your life, but simplify (I mean “simplifize”) it too!

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