I sat on a mountain and looked at the galaxy. I found infinite space infinitely overwhelming. I think many people see their belongings this way. My solution to the vastness of space was to feel the earth beneath me and to focus on the rock at my feet. Organizing is like that. Sorting and filing one item or topic at a time creates structure and reason in a chaotic world. It calms me.
I was once told to add "organized" to my resume. I said everyone says that. "No, most people aren't organized and don't say they are." I frankly didn't believe this but I've come to understand it's true. Innumerable books are written on the topic, though I can't agree with Marie Kondo's advice to "Discard everything that does not 'spark joy'." Crazy woman. Belongings are more complicated than that.
I recently house-sat for a friend. Before leaving, she suggested I amuse myself by organizing one of her bedrooms. I know, this doesn't sound like much fun for most of you, and you didn't even see the amount of clutter she'd managed to stuff into the room. It took me 2 days to get to the closet, and when I opened that closet things flew out of it and smacked me in the head. I laughed and dug into my project.
About halfway through my friend's trip, I got grumpy. I was tired from amassing large piles all over her otherwise beautifully decorated house, and also realized she wouldn't maintain the order I created. It felt like a waste of time, but I was committed by then. I trudged on repeating the mantra, "A place for everything and everything in its place".
My friend clearly wants to be organized. She has piles of new photo albums and frames, folders, containers, and organizing books -- which takes up as much space as the stuff she wants to store. Her issues are shared by many people. I wonder how many people are like myself who feel compelled to organize things?
I love my personal library of alphabetized books which are sorted by subject, yet I'm aware most people aren't looking for this kind of bliss. They just need to get their books onto bookshelves. They close the door to the crowded bedroom while my skin itches at the thought of the hidden chaos. I need to work on that.
This self-awareness reminds me of a time when a different friend and I shot photos of monarch butterflies resting after flying over Lake Erie in their annual migration. Each of my photos was a single butterfly, aiming for perfection in the details. My friend did landscapes of butterflies. It hadn't occurred to me to see the world as she had. I opened my eyes to seeing the world differently after that.
It takes all types. My disorganized friend loosens me up. I create order for her. I think the ideal is somewhere in the middle? I feel great satisfaction in the fact you can dance in that formerly packed bedroom. She's thrilled. I added "organized" to my resume.
"To put everything in balance is good, to put everything in harmony is better." ~ Victor Hugo