Thursday, March 15, 2012

Don't get organised: simplify!

This week, I sold my Filofax on Ebay.  I can’t wait for it to be paid for and so I can put it in the mail!  

My Filofax is beautiful red leather, neat, tidy, with a clasp and just the right size.  And a big waste of my money. 

You see, I bought my Filofax at a time where I thought that all I needed to have a beautiful tidy house, and days filled with enriching activities for my son, was to be more organised.  

Only, as it turned out, I didn’t need to be more organised.  I needed to simplify.  

This is what I learnt from my expensive mistake:

- I am not a routine person.  I have routines which I follow; things I do at certain times during the day.  Things like when I eat, and when I check my email, and what I do when I get up in the morning.  But to have to follow a schedule?  That makes me break out in a cold sweat!   I love lists, and lists help me when I’m busy and I’m concerned I’ll forget something.  But if I make a list and I can’t get things marked off, it stresses me out.  A schedule is like a giant list that I might not get the things done.  A bad night sleep, a child who wants extra attention, a great article or book to read, an idea that has popped into my mind that I have to write down RIGHT NOW, something I need to know that is going to drive me crazy until I’ve found out, I just feel like sewing today, or a job takes longer than I expect: those things each mean something doesn’t get marked off, and I feel like I’ve failed.  
- I am already organised.  I am just an organised person.  Unfortunately, it’s all in my head and doesn’t translate to the chaos on the dining table, so I’ll forgive you for thinking otherwise. 
- I don’t need to be more organised, I just need less stuff.  The chaos on my dining table usually has more to do with my spontaneity and distractability than my lack of organisation, but the chaos filling the rest of the house has got to do with the lack of cupboards in which to keep it. The solution is not more cupboards.  The solution is less stuff.  I’ve been working on that, and my house is getting less chaotic. 
- I don’t need to be more organised, I just need to be less busy.  I know Mary has six kids, is on twelve different rosters at church, leads Bible Study, visits old ladies on Mondays, and listens to kids read at school, but I’m not Mary.  I’m only capable of X, Y and Z, and if I try to do more, then other things start to fall apart.  Besides, you don’t know what is actually only being held together by a loose piece of thread in Mary’s life.  She may be brilliant, or she may just not know how to prioritise or say no. 
- I’m not a tidy person, and I hate housework. I don’t need to be more organised, I just need less house to keep clean and less stuff to keep tidy.  And if you don’t like my imperfect housekeeping, well, you don’t have to live here, do you?
- Less busy-ness with housework and clutter means more time to do fun things with the kids. 

I'm getting $30 for my Filofax, and will soon be rid of something that is just cluttering my life. 


  1. This perfectly describes me as well. Before kids, when we were first married and lived in a smaller house, I seemed super organised and such a clean and tidy person. But that was because we had so much less stuff. I also get distracted easily which is why I have so many half finished jobs. I can organise doing them, I just start another job before I finish the first one.

    I also have to do less to be more together. I figure if I am out doing lots of things just because I 'should' then it isn't fair on my family because I can barely manage and I get really stressed. So doing less, means a happier family (and a happier me) and that is very important to me because your kids are only young and needy for such a short time.

    Thanks for this post. It has encouraged me! Kate

  2. You have taken the exact thoughts in my brain and translated it into something actually worth reading! :) glad to hear the 'organised' dining table chaos exists in other households too!