My Latest Ah-Hah! Moment: Organizing

Image: renjith krishnan /

I’ve struggled with organizing for my whole life. In some ways, I am super organized. In other ways, I am an unorganized mess. I have no idea why this is. I just want to be organized all the time!

My ah-ha moment happened last week. I had to take the turbo mini van to get it checked out. Jim and I went over to pick it up. I took the receipt from the mechanic and followed Jim home.

I knew the receipt had to be put away in the glove box. I imagined how I would carefully fold it into thirds and put it in there with the other receipts. Then I thought I should get an accordion folder to hold the receipts, which I would organize by date, latest on top. That would be a great way to keep track of the maintenance. Certainly it would be neater than the system I had now of papers filed in willy nilly order in the glove box.

I picked Jim up so we could finish our errands. He promptly gets into the van, picks up the receipt, sloppily folds it, and puts it into the glove box. I’m speechless!

I recover and shriek, “But you folded it wrong!”

He just laughed. Then made some smart ass comment about me not being able to sleep that night because I would be thinking of the incorrectly folded piece of paper in the van.

Well, I’m not that bad. But I do like things even. Corner to corner. Neat folds. Getting a piece of paper folded into equal thirds would be heaven. I like my towels with even ends, tags to the back, thank you very much. I like piles of books and magazines with the corners matched, smallest on top.

So where is my ah-ha moment? When I realized that if Jim hadn’t gotten into the van and quickly folded the receipt and put it into the glove box, that it would have sat there forever. Literally. Because I would have gone on to something else. I would have forgotten the need for an accordion folder. Eventually, the paper would have migrated into the back of the van and would have been trampled and ruined. And you know that that would be the receipt I needed in a few months!

If you do an Internet search on perfection and procrastination, you’ll find page after page of sites. Is it the perfection that leads to the procrastination? Or is the perfection disguised as procrastination? Kinda like the chicken and the egg to me.

Here’s the gist of my ah-ha moment: sometimes you just have to do things. Getting something done is better than waiting for the exact time to do something perfectly. Perfection isn’t always necessary.

This need to do something perfect has plagued many areas of my life. I would never have written the first draft of my first novel if it wasn’t for the absolute freedom that National Novel Writing Month (aka NANoWriMo) brought. Sit down and write 50,000 words in 30 days! Don’t worry about spell check! Don’t worry about grammar! Just get the words on paper. So I did that with gleeful abandon. Those words flowed so easily! Every day was an adventure.

Yet, the novel still sits here, unedited. Because I don’t know the perfect way to edit! I want a system! I want to know what works for other people. Except the more I research it, it seems that there is no perfect way. There’s whatever way that works best for you. Once November and NaNoWriMo is over, I will be doing editing of the two pieces. Hopefully, along the way, I will learn a method of editing that will work for me.

I am going to read one more book on organizing though. I love Hellen Buttigieg and have ordered her latest book, Organizing Outside the Box: Conquer Clutter Using Your Natural Learning Style. I will review the book when I am done, to let you know if it helps me. I love Hellen’s show neat that is only in re-runs now. I found it so helpful. Hopefully, her book will be as helpful! If you want to order the book and read along with me, here’s a link to purchase. Let me know if you do and we can do this together!

6 thoughts on “My Latest Ah-Hah! Moment: Organizing

  1. OMG, you crack me up! I’m kind of organized, well, except for my blasted desk. At work and at home it seems that the desk is my “dump-all”. I have papers, notebooks, writing stuff, kids homework, kids toys, remotes for the TV/DVD player/2 phones/2 printers, books, eek!

    But the rest of my house stays relatively organized. But I’m also a huge schedule freak too! As in I have to know where I’m going to be all the time, and I have to be every place early (yeah, my hubby thinks I’m kind of crazy like that). I like itineraries, he likes to fly by the seat of his pants (totally craziness).

    Good luck with Nano and getting through edits! I opted out of Nano this year, but will still be working on a new story!

    • I’m having a blast with Nano this year. Trying a kooky romance this time around. I’m finding my rhythm.

      I started organizing my bedroom and am doing a great job keeping it up. But then I get obsessive, which is another problem of mine!

      I also have to be early. I hate being late! And my desk looks like an office store threw up on it!

      xo Susie

  2. Do you have any friends that do Nano too? They could help you edit.

    The way we(my little group of Nanos) edit is we each exchange manuscripts and break out the red pens. Well, we each have different color pens, and we rotate the stories around the group. It’s always best to have someone look over your work, because they’ll see things you won’t see.

    Anyways, best of luck with your story. I’m still doing Nano this year.

    • I really need to find a writers group I can work with. That will be my task after Nano ends. I’m determined to get these two novels editted and finished this time around!

      Thanks for the advice!

      xo Susie

  3. Hey Susie,

    As a recovering perfectionist, I could totally relate to your experience! But since my mantra became ‘Imperfect is the new Perfect’, I feel free! So much more gets done and life is much happier for you and those around you. Thanks for the plug and I hope you enjoy my book! Good luck with your novel.

    • I can’t believe your commenting on my blog! You are my idol! I really miss neat! It was inspiring and I could use some inspiring these days!

      Thanks for commenting!
      xo Susie

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