We have all seen pictures of spaces that are perfectly organized, places where everything matches and nothing is out of place, but when does it go from being organized to being OVER organized? As you would imagine, there are various levels of organization. We touch on this topic in our Micro vs. Marco Order U session, but today we are going to talk about the most extreme side of organizing.
Dictonary.com defines over organization as: “to stress formal structure, status, rules, and details excessively”. The key word in this definition that we want to focus on is “excessively.” Organization is meant to help improve your life but when you reach a point that it is excessive, organizing is no longer improving your life and may even be hurting it. If it takes more time to keep up with your organizing than it would if you had no system, then we would say you may be over organizing. When maintaining your system no longer helps improve your efficiency because of the time required to manage it, then it is over organization.
Here are some examples of over organized systems.
Over Color Coding: If you are looking to reorganize your closet, you have probably thought about getting new hangers, but be careful when you head to the store. There are new hangers that are colored to match the color of the shirt on it, for example a yellow hanger for a yellow shirt. Though this might seem like a good idea at first when you have the perfect amount of each color for your current wardrobe, what happens when you get rid of a shirt or get a new one? Do you only shop for the clothes that match the color of your empty hangers? Do you buy more hangers along with the new shirts to match? Or do you just put it on a mismatched color hanger? Now your organizing system has failed even though you are just going about your life. This is a perfect example of over organizing.
The solution: get all of the same hangers so it won’t matter what you put on them and they will still look nice.
Over Container Transferring: It is a nice treat to purchase a new spice rack with matching spice containers, but what about the spice you are missing from that rack? You may have seen cute little metal or glass jars that look great in your spice cabinet but what happens when you go to get a new spice for that new recipe you have been wanting to try. You now have to move the spice from one container (the one it came in) to the another (the matching one). But what if you don’t have any more left to fill? Or what if you bought a 4-ounce spice but your containers only hold 2 ounces?
The solution: get a tiered spice rack where you can organize all your spices, it might not look perfect but it will work.
Over Categorizing: We love creating categories when it comes to organizing but there becomes a point where you can create categories beyond what would help you save time and make your life better. Let’s think about one of the most popular kid’s toys, Lego. They come in many different shapes, sizes and kits so how do you organize them? If you start categorizing your Lego by not only color but by size and type of brick, you’d end up with too many categories and you’d spend more time categorizing than building. Plus, your system would break because you’ll never have all the right size containers for all your categories and putting them back in the right containers would be too much effort for you or your little builder.
The solution: try creating more general categories by sorting the brinks by color or theme.
When thinking about over organizing the rule is simple, if your system is over organized it can easily be broken. Your organizing systems should work for you, not the other way around. Though it will take some time to get your systems set up, maintaining them should be smooth and easy. If maintaining your system is stressing you out, maybe the system is too complex for you.