Tag Archives: disorganized

Pantry Design Creates Clutter

Not all pantry designs are created equal! I can honestly say that this pantry is the

The least functional pantry I've ever organized.

The least functional pantry I’ve ever organized.

worst design of any pantry I have re-organized in my 18+ years working as a professional organizer.

First, I was shocked at how narrow the space was. It was like a dim, dark tunnel. I immediately felt irritable and claustrophobic when I stuck my head in it. It’s the kind of space most people would want to avoid.

To make things worse, the shelves were set back from the door about 18-24 inches, enough space to necessitate putting my whole body in the closet to access the shelves. Plus, the shelves were very deep — a recipe for terrible visibility and losing sight of half of the shelves’ contents. The only truly useful space, where items could be easily seen, was across the front of each shelf. The narrowness of the pantry made that space very limited.

The least functional linen closet I've organized.

The least functional linen closet I’ve organized.

This pantry reminded me of the least functional linen closet I have ever worked in. It seemed like a left over space that the builder decided to make a pantry. Clearly it was designed by someone who had little or no experience with food storage.

The whole time I was reorganizing this pantry I was thinking that the work I was doing was almost pointless. It would take no time at all for it to again become a disorganized mess. Why? Because it’s too hard to access the supplies and easily replace them where they belong. It would be pretty understandable that people putting things away might be inclined to pitch things into the space and slam the door shut hoping that nothing would tumble out before the door closed.

Why do I share all this? This pantry was a “Can you believe this?” experience for me. Sometimes I just need to tell others about this kind of experience. In this case it was not a nightmare created by a client. Rather, it was a nightmare created by poor design that left my client with few options for improvement.

Stay Organized to Effectively Navigate Crises

When tough times hit it’s very tempting to stop doing all the maintenance

Stay organized to stay afloat when you hit rough waters in life.

Stay organized to stay afloat when you hit rough waters in life.

behaviors that keep you organized and relatively clutter-free. The emotions that come up during an extended illness, the decline or loss of a special person or pet in your life, a divorce or period of financial challenge can derail motivation to do those boring tasks that keep you organized and moving. 

What happens when you stop doing those important maintenance behaviors (putting things away, hanging up your clothes, doing laundry, processing mail, paying bills, filing, daily cleaning up, deleting junk emails) is that you create pockets of negative energy in your space and on your computer.  Those energies produce stress that will keep you feeling bad and stressed and prevent clear thinking. Plus the chaos you create by not staying organized makes it very hard to get back on track once you move through the difficult period.

The truth is that if done regularly those maintenance tasks don’t take a lot of time. Plus, if you can make yourself do tasks that don’t seem very important during periods of crisis, you will keep yourself grounded so you can think clearly and make good decisions. 

Doing maintenance tasks in a time of crisis is not optional. It’s an important investment of time to assure that you can effectively navigate rough waters. Make doing it a priority during tough times. 

Is Your Closet Functional or Dysfunctional?

Closets! I’ll bet you’re all VERY excited about clearing out and reorganizing your closets.! Not! 

Why not? Could it be that most closets are behind closed doors and therefore prime dump spots for people looking for a quick fix to visible clutter? Or, perhaps you never clearly identified the function of a closet, so all kinds of undifferentiated things landed there? But, I’ll bet we could all agree that we dread dealing with closets because we never seem to have enough of them, and most of the ones we do have contain a jumbled collection of things  that just make us groan when we open the door!

Whatever the reason, closets are essential storage areas that regularly need attention and clearing if they are to be fully functional. Let’s compare a functional closet with a dysfunctional closet.

Functional closets

  • have a primary identifiable function, like holding coats, clothing or linens,100_0599
  • have secondary identifiable functions arranged by category, like gift and gift wrap repository, storage for off season decorations, framed photos,
  • are orderly, organized spaces with containers that conveniently hold identifiable categories of items for easy access,
  • are arranged so it’s easy to get items or containers in and out, and
  • have a majority of the most important items visible with no surprises lurking in the corners.

Dysfunctional closets, by comparison,

  • have no identifiable function, instead they house a collection of miscellaneous items,
  • contain many items that belong in other parts of the house,
  • are packed full of things, making it a logistical endeavor to get anything in and out,
  • are full of items that have completely gone out of conscious awareness,
  • are disorganized, messy spaces,
  • have few containers separating categories of items or have containers that are not well suited for the items contained in the closet, and
  • have items that fall out when the door is open. 

Now, it’s completely possible that some of your closets are quite functional while others are not. Some closets are more difficult to set up in an organized fashion and even more difficult to keep organized.

Why does it matter that closets be functional and clear of clutter? Cluttered, disorganized closets are pockets of negative energy. Think of the last time you went looking for something in a packed closet and came away feeling frustrated and annoyed because of the mess it had become. Not only does the disorder have a negative energy,  but it talks to you and says things like, “What’s wrong with you (or your son, daughter, husband) that you can’t keep this space organized, that you haven’t fixed this annoying space. . . “ That’s negative energy. Negative energy affects your energy and ultimately your health, wealth, relationships and more. And, it also blocks new, good things coming to you.

Tackle one closet at a time with goal of transforming your dysfunctional closets into  functional closets. It can be done!