This is something that trips up a lot of our clients, so here’s one of my theories about organizing: macro-organizing vs. micro-organizing.
Macro (meaning large) organizing is when we organize things into broad categories or focus on big-picture organizing in the room. Examples of macro-organizing include:
- Sorting things into broad categories such as tools, hardware, sports equipment, camping equipment.
- Sorting items into the rooms they go into
- Figuring out how each room should be used and which categories should live in each room
Micro (meaning small) organizing is when we organizing things into narrow, very specific categories or focus on very specific organizing tasks. Examples include:
- Taking your category of photos and organizing them by date
- Taking your category of hardware and further organizing it into screws, nuts, bolts, etc.
- Alphabetizing your books
- Rainbow-izing your closet or art supplies
- Taking anything that is sorted into a broad category and further sorting it into more narrow categories
Oftentimes, when clients tell us they have tried and failed to get organized on their own, it’s because they are trying to both macro-organize AND micro-organize at the same time. That’s really hard to do, will make your project take an extra long time, and is exhausting!
So when we work with clients, we teach them to macro-organize first. Then if they want to micro-organize something, we assign that as homework or work on it only after the macro-organizing is done. When I do initial organizing assessments in people’s homes, I note whether they are wanting help with macro- or micro-organizing tasks. It makes a difference in how we plan for the sessions.
Are you needing help with macro-organizing or micro-organizing? Can you think of other examples of macro- vs. micro-organizing tasks?