The word organized comes from the Latin word “organum” meaning instrument or tool. And the basis of the word tool was originally used for “prepare”. This background reveals the true essence of organized. It is the tool or thing we use to prepare to do something. Organized is not about how it looks, it is all about functionality.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to organize and step back to see everything neat, tidy, and pleasing to the eye, but if I sacrifice functionality, then the tool is broke.
Can functionality look amazing? Yes! Functionality can be pleasing to the eye and even more so it is beneficial to being productive and reducing daily stress.
Before I understood that the true purpose of being organized, was to improve function, I would organize solely based on how something looked. But most time, the organization did not last and it caused me great frustration.
I would organize my husband’s closet regularly because he just did not get it! Talk about frustration!
I would organize my husband’s closet often and it frustrated me because he just did not get it. So I thought. A few weeks after my labor of love, I would walk in and his organized closet was a mess. Blue shirts with black jeans and suit coats in between sweaters. Why could he not put them back in the right spot?
As a solutionist by nature, I wanted to solve this problem. As we talked, he looked at me with the smile I loved and said, “Babe, the way you organized my closet, just makes no sense to me. It takes me too long in the morning to find what I want to wear and then at the end of the day, I truly do not know where to put them back.” I was shocked, but wanting to understand, so I asked, “Honey, how do you think it should be done?”
He explained that he would separate the work clothes from casual clothes and dress clothes. As he walked me through the reason or functional reason, I began to see the benefit. We organized the closet together and because it was functional for him, it stayed organized for a much longer time. The look was not precise like a men’s clothing store but it did not look dis-organized because the functionality was visible by the separations of the type of clothing.
Disorganized is when you remove, reverse or negate function, no matter the visual appeal.
The understanding of the connection between organized and function grew for me as I was asked to train other team members on “how to be organized”. What worked for me in my workspace, was not going to work for others in their space and function. Before helping them, I realized that knowing the order and function of their space was necessary.
The word Order comes from the Latin word ordo, ordin- meaning “row, series, rank.”
The word “order” comes from a Latin word means; row, series, or ranking. Before starting to organized, we must know the order or ranking of the first, this is the hard work of any organizing task.
The order makes a difference and creates functionality.
Ask these questions to identify the order needed to create functionality.
Ask these questions to identify the order needed to create functionality and out of that the organizational blueprint will be revealed. When answering the questions, keep in mind that this is your space, for you to function. Note: when addressing shared spaces the questions would be different.
- What are the top 3 functions you need to do in the space?
- What is the top issue with the current space?
- What items within the space do not compliment your top 3 functions?
- What do you have that if moved or repurposed could negate the top issue or improve functionality?
After answering the questions, take the following steps to clear your space to then bring order (rows, series, or ranking). Take these action steps:
- Move all items to the least used area of the space or room.
- Select the core or center area of the space or room.
- Example: Core would be the desk, drawing table, or machine that you spend most of your time in that space.
- Make whatever adjustment needed to negate the previous top issue.
- This may require you to repurpose or purchase something. But if you do not address the top issue, the function will be diminished.
- Review your top functions and place the items that compliment those functions within arms reach of the center of your space.
- When possible use an arc design so that you can have a left, center, right view of the items you need throughout the day.
- Review the remaining items in your space and do a serious sorting to determine what stays in your new functional space.
- Keep and place in or on storage in your space.
- Place in a general storage area, like a garage or attic.
- For items, you keep and place in your space, cluster these items by purpose so that when you use them, all of the items for the same function are together.
- Example: I love to take a break some days and color in my inspirational bible, so I have all the coloring tools and the inspirational bible in a basket together on a shelf in my space.
- Finally, make a list of items you want to replace or new items you know will improve function. Set the list aside for your next budgeting session and make a plan to make these purchases.
- Example: In the sorting process, you realize you need a new printer that would be wireless and not take as much room on your desk. This would be budgeted to purchase a replacement.
After you complete the design based on order and functionality, let the organizing begin.
Organization after order and function can really be fun and fabulous. There are many ways to organize items in your space that can make it both pleasing to the eye and functional. See the link above for some organization ideas.
It does not matter if you are comfortable organizing or if it is something you feel is too hard, we must all accept that without knowing the order of our work and the needed functionality for our workspace organization will not produce results or reduce stress.
When we accept the task of doing the hard work of identifying the order and function within our space, it will take it from just looking nice to being an efficient and inspiring space.