Celebrating the Mess

Yes, this is a blog on organization and making the best use of time. But today I read an article by Penelope Green of the "New York Times" on "Making peace with the mess around you." Green was discussing the benefits that can come from being willing to accept the mess. I think she has a point.

Life is inherently "messy." Our best-laid plans often go awry. You are working on one project and another gets dumped in your lap. You make wonderful plans for your day and a child gets sick. You have every intention of cleaning the house, but then a friend needs your help. Making organization the focal point of your life can mean that you lose something in the process. You can lose the ability to be spontaneous and respond to the immediate circumstances at hand.

I'm still a believer that organization is important but I think that it should only have the importance that you choose to give it. A mess is only a problem if it bothers you or the people you live with. A friend of mine reminded me a while back of how, when I was a little girl, my desk at school was a literal pigsty (isn't it wonderful to have a friend who has known me that long?). Papers and books would fall out of it on a regular basis. My locker in high school suffered from a similar predicament, as did my desk when I worked full-time, and as does my desk now. This was, and is, not the ideal way to work. Yet, in all those years, I got good grades, managed projects at work, and still keep on top of things today. When the mess starts to bug me, I clean it up. I function fine with it, until I don't, at which point I take the time to do something about it.

I think that the point of Green's article is that one's level of organization is a personal decision. Embrace what feels comfortable to you and what allows you to work at your best.

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur


Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur writes from western Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and two sons. A Senior Editor with Catholic Lane.com, she blogs at http://spiritualwomanthoughts.blogspot.com

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage

  • Guest

    Patrice, I love this!  I'm a "stacker" and my husband is a neat freak.  We have agreed that separate offices are the best solution – he steers clear of mine as much as possible.  I also make an effort to be more organized and neat in the other areas of our home because I know that it means a lot to him.

  • Guest

    Patrice,  wise advice and I think you're on to something here: organization is really about what "works" best for a person, not necessarily what the latest guru is telling us, etc.  Mike 


    Mike St. Pierre

    Life Coaching and Ministry Mentoring

    "Simple Ways to Keep Life Moving" tm