3 Reasons Home Organization is a Waste of Time

Inside: My home is more organized today than when I used to spend countless hours organizing it. Here you’ll learn 3 reasons to stop organizing your home. 


stop organizing your home

I love the look of a beautifully organized space. I mean, who doesn’t?

The home organization industry has been on an upward trend for years, with the pandemic adding even more momentum to its growth. It’s estimated that “US demand for home organization products is projected to increase 3.8% per year to $12.7 billion in 2023.”

I have  spent hours upon hours of my adult life organizing the various corners of my home. By “organize,” I mean taking one heaping pile of stuff, sorting it into smaller piles, and then redistributing it around my home into various bins, drawers and baskets. Repeat every few weeks, months or years.

I’ve got a secret. One that took me thirty-four long years, stuck on the habitual cycle of organizing, to learn. There’s a better way. Organizing your stuff won’t actually organize your life. In the words of Courtney Carver, “If organizing your stuff worked, you’d be organized by now.”

Here are 3 Reasons to Stop Organizing Your Home

1. It Can Be Expensive

An organized home is alluring. The problem is that we’ve been sold a lie. The home organizational industry would have us all believe that in order to get organized we need organization supplies.

stop organizing your home

I mean, it makes sense. I’m no knitter, but I believe in order to knit, you need a knitting needle and some yarn. To bake you need flour, sugar, pans, etc. And to sail across the sea, you need a vessel of some sort. To become a body builder, you need weights. So why not convince people that in order to organize, they too need supplies?

In the same way you don’t actually need a Peloton in order to get in shape, you don’t need more organizational supplies to get organized. You can do it with your very own arms and legs by getting your clutter and excess out of your home.

Now, don’t go assuming that I’m saying I don’t have a single cupboard, cabinet, drawer or wicker basket in my home. I do. Obviously. What I am saying is that we’ve been conditioned to respond to mess and disorganization by shopping for organizational supplies and then spending all weekend moving stuff around our homes. 

2. It’s a Band-Aid

Organizing your excess stuff is a band-Aid, not a long-term solution. It’s a short-term fix. In fact, I bet I’ve spent more hours organizing my home than my home has spent actually “organized.” What can take hours or even days to achieve, often takes just seconds to unravel. Especially if you’ve got kids in your home.

Freshly scrubbed floors seem to send up some kind of bat signal, notifying your children it’s time to spill their drinks and sprinkle cereal on the floor as they step on it. The same goes for organizing. My kids seem to think a freshly organized art space is actually some kind of a rage room.

Getting organized is one thing but staying organized is an entirely different animal. This is exactly why organizing doesn’t actually leave you organized.

3. It Keeps You Focused on the Stuff

I don’t think it’s “organization” we are really after here. Instead, it’s a calm and peaceful home to rest and connect with the people we love. It’s a meaningful and fulfilling life. We are simply searching for more time and energy to spend on the things we enjoy doing. Things like knitting, baking, sailing the open seas and in some cases- present company excluded- weightlifting.

stop organizing your home

Through the act of organizing, we are hoping to make room for those things. However, organizing, reorganizing and organizing again, ironically achieves the exact opposite. Instead of helping, it steals our time, energy and money, leaving us hyper-focused on the very thing we are hoping to offload.

That’s wonderful Rachelle, but my home is a wreck and it’s sucking the life out of me.

I know, I know, I’ve been there. However, the secret to organizing your home isn’t found at Crate and Barrel or on the pages of next month’s issue of Unattainable Perfection.

Here are 3 Things to do Instead.

1. Shift Your Thinking

Stop looking at organizing as a solution, but rather acknowledge that an organized space is temporary. I can’t even begin to tell you how much stress and frustration this has helped me avoid.

Instead of expecting home organization to solve the chaos that often accompanies family life, look at it like sweeping up crumbs. Eventually your kids are going eat again. The same goes for organizing. Eventually that freshly organized linen closet is going to become disorganized. It always has and it always will. It’s not because you’re organizing wrong or didn’t purchase the right system. It’s because organizing is always temporary. 

stop organizing your home

For so long I approached perfect organization as the ultimate solution. I’d sort all of the  art supplies or food storage containers, and then show everyone in my home where everything went. When a week later, all of my efforts went to crap, I’d feel overwhelmed by my home and frustrated with the other people who live in it.

But when you know ahead of time that organization is actually a waste of time, there  are no surprises when two weeks later the colored pencils are mixed in with the paint brushes, and the glue sticks have, for some unknown reason, made their way to the bathroom drawer with the toothbrushes. Jesus take the wheel.  

I still reorganize the various corners of my home on occasion. The difference is now I look at it as a temporary tidying task, not a sanity saving solution.

2. Unclutter Your Home

I bet you knew this was coming. The secret to creating a more organized home (not a permanently organized home) is to get rid of the stuff cluttering it up.

Stop trying to organize an overabundance of stuff and instead start to get rid of the things you don’t need. Clear your cabinets and closets of the items you don’t use, won’t use, can’t use, so that the stuff you do use can be easily organized, naturally. Odds are good you don’t need an overpriced organization system. The stuff you love and need will be easily accessible and put in their places once the clutter in your home is gone.

What is clutter exactly? Read: What is Clutter? Identifying Clutter so We Can Eliminate it.

messy minimalism book

3. Adopt a Minimalist Mindset

Start training your brain to think like a minimalist when it comes to bringing new stuff into your home. If you want to spend less time organizing, you need less stuff in need of organizing.

What is a minimalist mindset exactly? Read: Why EVERYONE Should Adopt These 3 Minimalist Principles

Today, I spend just a fraction of the time organizing my living space, yet it’s more organized than it ever has been before. Not because I found the perfect system, but because I simply have fewer items in need or organizing.

Stop organizing your home over and over and over agin. It doesn’t need to be so hard. You may find the “perfect storage system” just may be the one you never have to buy.


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