Putting Stuff Away

putting stuff away

I can’t stand not being able to find stuff. Since I consider myself to be a highly organized individual, it’s an affront to my mental well-being to be unable to locate something.

Case in point: A couple weeks ago my husband asked, “Where is the soil analysis the Co-Op did a month ago?” I knew what he was referring to and what it looked like. I recalled that I had intended to file the papers in the “landscaping” folder because that seemed to be a likely home.

It wasn’t there. Nor was it in the “to be filed” stack or the 2021 paperwork box. I called the Co-Op, and (with exemplary customer service) they scanned and emailed me another copy within minutes. So problem solved. But still, I was upset with myself for misplacing the test results.

Intending to write this post on how to improve organizational skills, I was surprised to find that a search of “best organizational skills” first brought up a slew of work-related and resume-related answers.

The employment listing company Indeed says that: “Organizational skills are some of the most important proficiencies you can have as an employee. Being organized will allow you to meet deadlines, minimize stress, and carry out your duties more efficiently.”

But when it comes to personal organizational skills, I’m willing to bet that most of my readers have heard of tidying expert Marie Kondo. Her premise is that we’ll be happier in a tidy, uncluttered, simplified home and life. One of her oft-repeated phrases is to keep an item ONLY if it sparks joy.

Just looking at her website has a calming effect on me.

I don’t recall where I read it, but I believe it: Clutter is the enemy of a peaceful home. And, as it turns out, it’s also the enemy of good mental health!

An article in Psychology Today cites studies that show clutter at home and the workplace can cause us to be less efficient in visual processing and thinking as well as spur a deterioration in good mental health.

Clutter and disorganization can spark a sense of uneasiness in me. And it can happen even when I’m watching something. I recall the (now canceled after nine seasons) tv sitcom The Middle about the Hecks, a middle-class family in Indiana. I loved the show, but their cluttered house gave me anxiety. Seriously.

And even watching a one-man bell ringing performance of the Lord’s Prayer (wow, that’s a mouthful, right?!) made me nervous because the guy didn’t systematically put the bells down in the same spot where he picked them up! I found I could enjoy it more if I just listened and didn’t watch.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and tidy up.


Marie Kondo

Trailer for The Middle where you can see snatches of their home

The Lord’s Prayer in bells on Facebook

or another way to watch the bells if you’re not on Facebook

Psychology Today article on clutter disrupting mental health

3 thoughts on “Putting Stuff Away

  1. Bill Thatcher says:

    You know what they did to the last perfect person, don’t you??? They crucified Him!!!! Move on, we misplace things, and will continue to do so, as long as we are alive, after all, we are human!!!! It’s just a part of life and when I have mislaid something, it just gives me another opportunity to really challenge my brain, and force it to remember where I last saw/had/used it, and within 20 seconds, I will recall its location. Turn it into a positive. We create our own stressors and usually they are over things that don’t amount to a picayune!!! Inhale relaxation, and exhale stress and tension, is my formula. RST. Works for me.

  2. Julie Busony says:

    Norma. Great writing. Thanks for this and the links to resources. Please let us all know when you find that soil analysis report and where you found it.

    • Norma Thatcher says:

      Julie, thanks for being a first-time commenter. I did print out the copy that was emailed and it’s safely in the Landscaping folder. And the electronic version is in a laptop folder by the same name. I’ve covered! Alas, the original still has not surfaced.

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