No longer discombobulated in Mississippi


My life just got better!  I happened across a book in the library that I devoured this a.m. like it was a whole lemon ice box pie!

It caught my eye yesterday while I was fuming because I couldn’t find my favorite dress to wear to a party tonight.

I’ve looked in every closet, under every piece of furniture and in the laundry room.  It’s just gone. I even looked in the car but I can’t imagine that I undressed there unless I was sleep walking.

I’m thinking the dress was feeling so overworked that it just got up in the night and wandered away.

This fabulous book that saved my sanity is Julie Morgenstern’s “Organizing from the Inside Out.”  She is a genious, and I’ve already begun to incorporate her program into my life.

Did you know that American’s waste nine millions hours per day searching for misplaced items?  The Wall Street Journal reports that the average U. S. executive wastes six weeks per year searching for missing information.

It’s way more complicated than this, but in a nutshell Morgenstern’s system calls for you to begin by creating one clutter-free room in which you keep nothing but items you use and love.  If the experience feels good, create another room like that.  Move all the “rejects” to a single room and you can decide later what to do with all the stuff.

Now, after you’ve decided where to begin, use the 80-20 rule which states that we only use about 20 percent of what we own.  The other 80 percent is stuff we once used and feel we may want to use it again someday.  Pinpoint what the 20 percent is.  Imagine that there were a fire in your home and you only had 30 minutes to save to save your most important possessions and papers.  Which would it be?  Your answers will tell you what really matters.

Morgenstern explains why we can’t let go of stuff, and it wasn’t what you think.

004 I started my program in the kitchen because that is the most unorganized room in the house.  There is no rhyme or reason to how I stash my pots and pans or appliances.  I stuff things where ever they seem to fit.  NEEEW, folks, bad!  You should create “stations” for each activity and group like things together.

When I’m cooking, I will circle my center island about 20 times trying to pull together everything I need.  I feel like I just took a ride on the Merry Go Round half the time.

This morning I started on one corner of the kitchen – my spice cabinet.  Tucked next to two cans of cayenne pepper I found a can of white spray paint I’ve been searching for since last Christmas.

I took everything out and washed down the shelves.  I threw away at least 14 cans of stuff that were probably 10 or eleven years old.  I would never use them because I suspected they were rancid.  So why have I not thrown them away before now?


After completing this portion of the task, I was amazed how much space is now available for other things (see above).  I’m off to the store to purchase another “spice stadium” which really streamlines the storage of condiments.  You can see how the bottom shelf makes much better use of vertical space.

Now to tackle my pantry, and hopefully the rest of the house.  She suggests that we take it slowly – don’t push yourself.  Take one small area at a time.

4 thoughts on “No longer discombobulated in Mississippi

  1. Emily, downsizing forces this but you have to be careful as that room with the i’m not sure stuff tends to become overwhelming… in other words, I moved mine 300 miles!!!

  2. You: Used the book.
    Me: She bought a book to organize,
    To change her messy way;
    But first she has to find the book
    That she misplaced today.
    –Charles Ghigna

    I’m proud for you, girl!

  3. Miss Morganstern must know my Partner. Tom organizes everything by work station. Drives me crazy…everything I need is always there and I never have to look for anything., but sometimes I put something back where it shouldn’t be….just to get even….I think everyone should be disorganized at least one day a week….it keeps one sharp and alert…..

  4. I coexisted with my organized husband for 45 years by giving him his own special spaces that I never touched. Everything he used was duplicated and put in that space. He had his own bathroom and his own shelves and a drawer in the kitchen. I admit that I sometimes sneaked his scissors out of his drawer, but I knew I better put them back!

    How wonderful it would be to be organized, but I am like Jenny, and I doubt I will ever change.

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