The Gift of Organization

2014-11-16 16.59.27I began a new organizing assignment last week, tackling a client’s huge storage space and sorting through everything from old family photos to decorations for every holiday.

I enjoy all of my clients, for different reasons, but this one is especially fun for me because I’m completing this project while my client is out of town. In the span of about nine hours, I will transform a source of major frustration into a space that’s both useful and inspiring. I feel a bit like an elf, working my magic out of sight, then getting to see her reaction when she comes home to a completely reorganized space!

Yesterday’s work involved creating a gift center – space set aside specifically for gift bags, boxes, tags, and ribbon. Because there is no table or counter nearby, I used baskets to hold most of the supplies, so they can be easily transported to another room for use, then just as easily returned to their assigned shelf. I made sure to include scissors, tape, and a couple of nice pens, and divided the bags and bows into two categories – all occasion and Christmas.

For the longest time, organization like this has been associated with Martha Stewart wannabes or obsessive compulsive types, who also alphabetize their spices and have labels on every shelf in their house. But, in my mind, organization is as much about making order as it is about being a better steward of our possessions and our planet.

  • Knowing what you have and where to find it prevents unnecessary trips to the store and duplicate purchases.
  • Having a system in place for reusable items, like gift bags, makes it more likely you’ll save and store ones you receive throughout the year, sparing your wallet (because you won’t need to purchase new ones) and the landfill (because you won’t be tempted to just toss them when you’re done with them).
  • And if you expand your gift center to include a shelf, drawer or cabinet for gifts, you can enjoy gift making or shopping throughout the year – when the mood strikes you (or you find a great sale or have an awesome coupon), rather than when you have to. You’ll find yourself thinking of loved ones and special occasions more often, with anticipation instead of guilt or dread.

There is so much we tackle daily, monthly or annually that can benefit from this kind of approach. Think of other things that make you anxious, but which you cannot avoid; why not prepare for them? Control what you can, spread the work out over a reasonable amount of time, and find ways to make it more enjoyable.