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5 organizing tasks that are a waste of time

by respaced on July 23, 2012

If you have kids under the age of 8, they will never be able to keep their Legos this organized.

Some people (I’m talking to you, Martha Stewart!) go overboard when it comes to organizing. That is, they waste time organizing things that don’t have to be perfectly compartamentalized, sorted and arranged. Here are five organizing tasks you can ignore:

1. Putting all of the non-perishable food in the pantry into their own separate glass containers. It’s a lot of extra effort that does not increase the functionality of your pantry.

2. Sorting children’s toys into ever smaller and smaller categories (eg. separating out the race cars from the trucks from the buses). Children can’t — or rather they just won’t — take the time to put all of their toys back into multiple nitpicky categories. Think broader categories (eg. all of the cars in a bin) instead.

3. Putting each cooking utensil in its own container in a drawer. This just takes up a lot of drawer space. Furthermore, you won’t remember where each utensil goes once you have taken several out. Feel free to throw 6-9 utensils in a drawer and call it good.

4. Alphabetizing all of your CDs, DVDs and books. Your house does not have to look like the library. You will be able to find your books, music and movies just fine so long as they are on a shelf.

5. Putting all of your photos into albums. Who has time for that? Instead, sort them by year or range of years and put them in an acid-free photo box. Don’t forget to label the outside of the box!

Organizing is supposed to make your life easier, not more complicated. Aim for creating a functional, comfortable home instead of a pristine, high-maintenance one.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy July 24, 2012 at 12:34 am

Thank You MaryJo . It always feels good to hear a professional validate what you do. The toys idea is right on. In my classroom the kitchen stuff goes in the kitchen and the Mr. Potato Head stuff has a box as do the horses etc.. have a great day! Kathy

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respaced July 24, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Hi Kathy! I’m sure your classroom looks amazing! I’ve heard the teacher is pretty good too. 🙂

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Emily @ Make It Happen Mama July 24, 2012 at 7:46 am

Photos are always the ones that throw me. Honestly, I rarely print out photos anymore, but I have prints from the first 20ish years of my life (before diigital cameras) that I’ve been dragging around with me in boxes for the past dozen moves we’ve made – and we’re talking state-to-state here, not across the city. Any tips on how to go about sorting/storing older photos so they’re easily accessible? I feel really bad just scanning & shredding them…

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respaced July 24, 2012 at 10:27 pm

Hi Emily! Why, yes, I do have advice for dealing with older photos. Check out this blog post I wrote a while back. Sorry the formatting is a little funky on it. http://respacedpdx.com/2010/02/how-to-organize-your-piles-of-photos/ Let me know if that answers your questions or if you need some ideas. Thanks for commenting!

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Jo July 24, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Yay!!! Always so awesome to have a reminder that what some tell you is your laziness is really just a good method of not wasting your time (unless you want every container in your pantry to match).
Although I find putting photos in albums an incredibly boring task, I far prefer looking through an album than pulling them out of a box. I guess for myself, I know that I’m likely to drop the box, mix up all the photos, and try to avoid looking at them for fear of getting my fingerprints all over them. If I trusted myself, maybe I’d use the box idea.

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respaced July 24, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Hi Jo! I’m glad this post really spoke to you. You are most definitely NOT lazy when you refuse to turn your pantry into some magazine show piece. And it’s good that you know what works for you in the photo department. We all have to do what works for us. Thanks for the comment!

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