1 The Meaning of “Organized”

YOUR PARENT SAYS:  Your room is a mess!  Clean it up now! I don’t want to see any of your clothes, toys, or books on the floor!

If you’re like most kids, at least once you’ve had your parent get very mad at you because your room was a mess.  And if you’re like most kids, you gathered up all the clothes, toys, and books that were on the floor and pushed them under the bed.   No one could see any of the mess!

YOUR PARENT SAYS: I want you to put things away where they belong, not hide them under the bed.  I just bought you a storage rack with bins you should use.

So you took everything from under the bed and threw it into the bins of the new storage rack.  It was still all mixed together because it seemed like a lot of work to separate the clothes from the toys and books.

YOUR PARENT SAYS:  I want you to organize your clothes, toys, and books so that you can easily find them when you want to use them, and then easily put them away when you’re finished with them.

Let’s compare the definitions of “messy” and “organized.”   Some words that are similar in meaning to “messy” are  “cluttered,” “jumbled,” “untidy,” “sloppy,” “disordered,” and “disorganized” (notice that the prefixes “un-” and “dis-” both mean “not-“).  Some words that are similar in meaning to “organized” are “orderly,” “arranged,”  “grouped,” “sorted,” “categorized,” “classified,” “systematic,” and “structured.”

So now it is easy to understand why your parent didn’t like your first two attempts to get rid of the mess in your room. Putting everything under the bed or piled into bins doesn’t organize it.

Organizing is the process of designing an ARRANGEMENT OR STRUCTURE that enables effective INTERACTIONS with the RESOURCES you have organized

An organizing system might use shelves, containers, drawers, bins, boxes, cabinets, cages, or calendars to arrange the resources it organizes but that’s the result of organizing, not the process.  A lot of people don’t succeed at organizing their things because they start by getting containers and boxes before they design the organizing system that might use them.

Likewise, many people are not good at organizing time because they start by getting calendars and planners that have “boxes of time” in them instead of first thinking about the events and activities for which they need to design a schedule.

In the next chapter we’ll start to explain the process of organizing in more detail.




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"The Discipline of Organizing" for Kids Copyright © 2022 by Robert J Glushko is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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