5 Reasons You (and I!) May Have a Hard Time Staying Organized and How to Crush Them

5 Reasons You (and I!) May Have a Hard Time Staying Organized and How to Crush Them

So my massive kitchen reorganization inspired by Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up  is done at last. The pantry is neat and tidy, the cupboards have a place for everything and everything is in its place, and I can actually find what I’m looking for when I open my kitchen drawers.

How long will it last? Well, Marie Kondo says if I followed her method correctly, my kitchen will remain organized forever. However, if we believe the old adage that past behavior predicts future performance, then I’ve got a couple of months before everything is back to its old disorganized state.

But this time, I’m more hopeful that I can keep things going. Evaluating everything in my kitchen also gave me time to evaluate myself and by doing so, I came up with a few reasons why I have a hard time staying on track and what I can do to overcome these tendencies. Perhaps a few will resonate with you.

1. I haven’t adjusted to changes in my life.

Did you look at this pantry and think, “Doesn’t she just live alone with her husband?”

kitchenpantryorganizingwithkonmari-after-5

Two people don’t need this much stuff!

I sure did. At heart, I still feel like the mom of three young children and I still buy as if I need to cook for a family every night. There’s just no need for me to keep this much stuff on hand. It’s time to simplify and buy according to my actual living situation. If my kids come over unexpectedly at dinnertime (and sometimes they do), we will order pizza.

My pantry contents also contain some other clues about why it can be hard for me to be organized.

2. I buy things for Imaginary Katy.

Have you met Imaginary Katy? She is the most amazing person. She’s a gourmet cook who makes her own bread with whole wheat bread flour that she bought in 2014. She alway has expired yeast on hand. She wakes her large family (see point #1) with homemade muffins. When it snows in Atlanta, which it rarely does, she always bakes cupcakes! I like to buy things for Imaginary Katy because it makes me happy to have her around. Only the problem is – and I know you’re way ahead of me here – Imaginary Katy doesn’t exist. In real life, I rarely have time to bake and when I do it’s never an impulse project where I go into the pantry and cook up something fabulous with whatever’s around. In the end, the things I buy for Imaginary Katy bring me joy only when I finally get rid of them during a reorganization purge.  Imaginary Katy is costing me too much money and physical space and so I need to stop buying things for her.

3. I operate too much by the seat of my pants.

Multiple boxes of broth? Multiple cans of tomatoes? That’s because I walked by that section in the grocery store and thought, “Do I need this? I don’t know. I’ll go ahead and buy some.” It’s ok to intentionally stock up if there’s a great sale and there’s space available, but from now on, I live and die by the power of the list. I use the app Grocery IQ on my phone and it’s a simple matter to notice when we’re running low on something like broth or tomatoes (both of which I actually do use a lot and so like to keep on hand) and make a note then and there. If there’s no note, I won’t buy.

4. I’m thinking about other things.

I became so aware during this whole reorganization effort of how many times I would get a glass out of the cupboard and walk away without closing the door. That’s a basic part of living in a house! And yet, I would be so distracted with my thoughts that I would forget. This may be the hardest thing for me to change because I tend to live in my head, but I’m making a big effort to be more present in life and to pay attention to what I’m doing.

5. I deviate from my plan “just this once.”

I’m putting the dishes away while my favorite show is on and I want to get back to the action. The pan I’m holding belongs in the cabinet five feet away. Or I could turn to my immediate left and cram the pan into the already overflowing cabinet next to me and get to my show 10 seconds faster. What should I do? I know what I would have done in the past and those types of decisions have not served me well. In the future, I’ll take the 10 seconds and put the pan away in its correct space.

So those are my weaknesses and my plan for overcoming each of them. I’ve read before that greatest success comes from anticipating where you might fail and creating a strategy to overcome your weak spots before the situation arises. This is certainly the first time I’ve undertaken any time of reorganization project and given any thought at all to maintenance so I’m hopeful.

What are your weak spots when it comes to organization and how do you overcome them? I’d love to hear from you.

 

33 Comments

  1. January 25, 2016 / 11:07 am

    Lol! Imaginary Katy must be friends with imaginary Lori.

    • Katy
      January 25, 2016 / 11:14 am

      Yes I expect she has a lot of friends. She’s also outgoing and fun at parties. Thanks for stopping by Lori!

  2. January 25, 2016 / 12:10 pm

    Oh, Imaginary Katy. That sounds familiar. She’s the one who tells me not to buy canned soup because it’s so much better to make it from scratch. So then I get supplies that go rotten before they turn into soup. Good luck quieting that voice!

    • Katy
      January 25, 2016 / 12:15 pm

      Yes we all have a voice inside us telling us what we could be. The key, I think, is to listen in moderation. We do want to always do better but we don’t have to always be perfect.

  3. January 25, 2016 / 2:00 pm

    “You buy things for imaginary Katy” Oh that made me laught because it is so familiar! Thankfully I don’t do this as much but it really WAS me back in the day! “Martha Stewart” wannabe!

    • Katy
      January 25, 2016 / 8:10 pm

      Being aware is the first step. I’ll be listening to her much less in the future.

  4. January 25, 2016 / 5:34 pm

    I can relate. I have way to much in my pantry but not much of it is food. When my husband built my pantry he ask me when I was going to the store to fill it up. I told him it is for kitchen stuff and candles we eat fresh food why would I buy cans and boxes just to put in the pantry. He wasn’t happy. However I do need to clean it out. Great post!

    • Katy
      January 25, 2016 / 8:08 pm

      That is actually my long term plan for that space Sherry – once I get the food down I’d like to store some other things in there and get rid of still more furniture. You gave me some motivation!

  5. January 25, 2016 / 8:05 pm

    Love this. Best of luck to you with getting organized. I have an imaginary Katy, too. I just bought rice flour for her.

    • Katy
      January 25, 2016 / 8:09 pm

      Oh rice flour sounds wonderful. I hope you really make something with it!

  6. January 25, 2016 / 8:13 pm

    Thanks for the giggles today! I can so relate to imaginary Katy.

    • Katy
      January 25, 2016 / 9:08 pm

      Thanks Mary! Thanks for stopping by!

  7. January 25, 2016 / 9:00 pm

    LOL I’m laughing at the expired yeast. I think imaginary Carolann always has aspirations of using it and keeps buying it and letting it expire! I always have that same issue. I think many of us are relating to this post!

    • Katy
      January 25, 2016 / 9:07 pm

      I hope I’m not alone! But I am going to do better. I’ll post a success story in six months!

  8. January 26, 2016 / 8:14 am

    I love your closet! Oh boy. Since our house has been up for sale we’ve been cleaning out drawers and closets like crazy! I can’t believe how much stuff we accumulated when I swore I wouldn’t do that. I need to get an organizational plan like you, Katy!

    • Katy
      January 26, 2016 / 8:31 am

      Yeah it’s amazing how much stuff we accumulate even in a short period of time. I’m hopeful my vigilance will help me keep on top of it in the future.

  9. January 26, 2016 / 8:26 am

    I’m a bit of a neat freak, so most of my stuff is organized but there is always the dusty can or two in the pantry that I bought when I was planning some meal or other that never got made. Your pantry looks lovely so you must be doing something right!

    • Katy
      January 26, 2016 / 8:30 am

      Thanks Leanne I’m working on it!

  10. January 26, 2016 / 8:33 am

    Oh, Katy, this had me nodding in recognition (and chuckling) all the way through! I haven’t yet tackled the pantry, but will be remembering #2, #3 and #4 when I do! Thanks for holding up the mirror!

    • Katy
      January 26, 2016 / 8:59 am

      I’ve been so gratified to see that so many people see themselves in this. Looking at my office today I see it’s time to turn my attention here as well!

  11. January 26, 2016 / 8:48 am

    Very funny! Glad to see others have imaginary versions of themselves as well! Best of luck with keeping organized!

    • Katy
      January 26, 2016 / 8:57 am

      Thanks Shari! So far so good!

  12. January 26, 2016 / 9:54 am

    Oh my gosh I love this! And I suspect the grocery list app may be LIFE CHANGING! Therefore, thanks for that! Imaginary Katy appears to have been to our house as well. She gets around considering all that artisinal baking she has to do.

    • Katy
      January 26, 2016 / 10:15 am

      The grocery list app is life changing. I actually use it a lot already, I just deviate from it too often. So glad to see Imaginary Katy is so popular!

  13. January 26, 2016 / 10:57 am

    I don’t have imaginary katy, but i do have “Kate’s World.” According to Kate’s World, you always need more canned tomatoes, and I’ll take your expired flour, and raise you a bag of Flax Seed that’s 7 years old! Ugh!

    • Katy
      January 26, 2016 / 1:39 pm

      I hear you Kate. It can be tough to let go. We can be strong together. 🙂

  14. January 26, 2016 / 1:37 pm

    This Is Me

    • Katy
      January 26, 2016 / 1:39 pm

      Welcome Sandy! This is your safe place. 🙂

    • Katy
      January 26, 2016 / 7:05 pm

      If only real Katy reaped all this bounty! I need to figure that out. 🙂

  15. March 11, 2016 / 12:43 pm

    My biggest problems are 1 and 4. I need to get it under control though. Thanks for playing The Pinterest Game.

    • Katy
      March 11, 2016 / 12:47 pm

      It’s a process! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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