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Neatness Shmeatness: How Important is Being Organized Anyway?

Neatness Shmeatness: How Important is Being Organized Anyway?



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Paul Nelson, KSL Newsradio Do you really need to be neat to be organized? For years, people have said that the two things go hand in hand. However, more analysts say that might not be the case.

If you ask some people, they admit they can't find anything at any given moment. One woman in Salt Lake City says she loses her cell phone all the time, even when it's not hard to find. "It will be either in my pocket or in my car. I've looked for my cell phone, and it's been up to my ear."

So, to avoid losing things, everyone should have things in neatly organized places, right? "Organized means neat," says one man. "You should be able to walk in, and things should be clear [with] no clutter."

His sister disagrees. "As long as you know where everything is, you're organized. Just being neat doesn't mean you're organized."

Apparently, a growing number of professional organizers agree with her. There is even a new book out called "A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder." Believe me, there are few places in the world with more disorder than a newsroom. If you don't believe me, just ask KSL Channel 5 Arts and Religion Specialist Carole Mikita. Even this award-winning journalist would admit that her desk is pretty frightening. When asked if she uses the "pile system," she says, "Absolutely."

Just to find out how well she knows her piles, I had her look away from her desk and tell me where things were placed on her desk. When asked where a tape of "Sleeping Beauty" and an autobiography of Gordon B. Hinckley were on her desk, she knew right where they were. She was right every time.

I'm not throwing stones. My desk doesn't exactly pass the white-glove test. However, some professional organizers say people like Carole work just fine in chaos.

"We all function at different levels," says Organize By Design owner Jamie Tabish. "Some people do fine with piles. Some people do fine with things all over. Perhaps it's because internally they're very well organized, and their environment doesn't affect them as much."

Jamie Tabish says disorder isn't necessarily disorder until it gets in the way. "I think what's interesting and necessary is that all of your information is centrally located. We don't all have to do that the same way."

Tabish says another problem is when two people spend time together and who have differing views on what the word "messy" means. "There's always one person who's neater than the other, and that person usually has to overcompensate because it's more important to them." She says this is where people need to compromise.

But, for all those neatniks out there who wonder why their loved ones or coworkers don't clean up, it's because there was careful planning behind that large pile of junk.

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