Five Common Misconceptions About Organizing

From my personal experience and learnings from the KonMari method of only keeping items that sparks joy, here are five common misconceptions about organizing:

1. You are a messy person and you can never keep your home tidy.

No one like to clean up. People do it because they are motivated by how the space makes them feel after it’s done. There’s a huge business in organizing because the ability to clean and organize is not something we are born with. We learned from childhood by watching how the grown-ups around us clean up, and by how our homes were kept. If you’ve never been taught how, or have been shown a system that’s hard to maintain, chances are you’ll end up with a messy home. And living in that environment from day-to-day without the skills to change it, you begin to label yourself as a messy person.

What really keeps one from living an organized lifestyle is the negative self-talk that we are messy by nature, incapable, or too lazy. We also live with a lot of guilt and fear from the possessions we hold on to. From the expensive outfit that we only wore once, the gifts we received that we don’t like, to the shame and embarrassment when unexpected visitors see our cluttered space, we have filled our closets and cabinets with things that makes us feel bad about ourselves.

Before you declutter your home, you must first rid your mind of the negative perception of yourself. Changing the way you think will then alter the way you behave.

2. You need to buy special storage boxes or shelving systems to get organized

The organization industry has tempted us with beautifully designed storage solutions that are great inspirations, but not always practical. Good organization is about having a system that allows you to easily access and return the things you use. It’s perfectly fine to repurpose boxes and bins as long as they fit your needs. Some special kitchen containers designed for mess-free pouring, or preserves the freshness of the contents, are worth buying because they can save you from frustration and waste.

Most importantly, before purchasing any storage containers, you must first go through and eliminate anything that does not bring you joy. It doesn’t matter how much you paid for it, who gave it to you, how little you used it. Have confidence in your decision on whether an item brings you a positive feeling or user experience. If it does, find it a nice home for it so it can continue to bring you happiness. Very often whatever boxes or shelves you have now will hold everything you need.

3. Your home has to look perfect all the time

Your home should be a reflection of your best self. It is a place where you have the freedom to express your interests and creativity. It needs to be a happy place you look forward to return to and relax in. It needs to get messy, because the most fun we have is when we make a mess. Think of the kitchen after cooking a great meal, the paint and glitter left from your child’s masterpiece, the many outfits laid out on the bed before going out on a special date. As long as you have a designated spot to put those things back at your earliest convenience, your home can be temporarily messy but still be organized.

4. You have to be a minimalist

If having less is your thing, go for it. Being organized isn’t about the number of items you own. If what you decide to keep after decluttering are things that truly makes you feel happy, then display them proudly and allow each of them to shine.

5. Why bother if it will just get messy again

Chances are you are still holding on to things in your home that don’t spark joy. When you go through a dramatic purging and organizing experience, and have thoroughly discarded anything that doesn’t make you feel good, you learn what you truly value. Your likes and dislikes will be clear as day. You also begin to appreciate and respect the things you are left with. This information will affect the choices you make in any future purchases. You will be surrounded by only the things that you love and makes you feel happy. That feeling is very impactful, and it is very unlikely that you will ever go back to having a messy home again.


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