The 5 Emotions of Organization

Organization.  It’s a word that invokes emotion: despair, longing, determination, accomplishment, or even a mix of the five.  I believe the five emotions happen in stages, much like the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross.

5 stages of grief

For example, you decide to be economical and bring your lunch to work tomorrow.  You prep the food, and even treat yourself to one of those cupcakes you made for your son’s school bake sale tomorrow.  You grab a lunch bag, and head to the Tupperware cabinet.  You open the door, forgetting this must be done very very slowly, and alllll of your Tupperware falls out.  All of it.  Mismatched containers and lids, old sippy cups, Chinese food takeout boxes, and your favorite to-go cold drink tumbler (oh that’s where that went…).

Messy tupperware

You want to cry or punch someone.  What happened to the good ol’ days?  You used to be so organized!  You had so much time!  You begin the first stage: despair.

You pick up all of the containers, attempting to match lids, just so you can finish packing your lunch.  You close the cabinet door after stuffing everything back inside, and vow to remember next time to open the door slowly!

You shuffle off to bed, feeling like you just climbed a mountain.  As you lay in bed, you grab your phone and tap on the Pinterest app.  You search “organized Tupperware cabinet” and the most amazing kitchens fill your screen.

organized tupperware cabinet

Why can’t you have that?!  Thus comes the second stage: longing.  A gorgeous kitchen, with Carrera marble countertops, Viking range, Subzero fridge, and the most delicious looking pitcher of lemonade on the counter.  Oh, and your three perfect children sitting at the island, working on homework quietly while you prep a healthy dinner —- okay, maybe you’re getting a little ahead of yourself.  You’re on a budget, and your kids have so many after school activities, and the new puppy is very needy.

Help me I'm poor

You sigh and decide it’s probably time to go to bed.

The next morning, you feel different.  Determined.  I mean, who says you need to have a Pinterest-perfect house to feel accomplished?  You’re a real human being!  You love your life.  You only want to be able to pack a lunch and not have Tupperware fall on you!  You decide it’s not too much to ask.  You’ll spend a few minutes a week organizing small areas of the house.  Too much too soon and you’ll feel stressed and head back to stage 1: despair.

After your cup of coffee, you take 20 minutes and sort through the Tupperware, matching lids and containers, and getting rid of ones that are broken.  You remember that Dollar Tree has some great finds, and you can even buy some new containers for less than $5.  How’s that for staying on budget?!  You close the cabinet door and breathe a sigh of relief.  You’ve won the battle (for now).  You feel accomplished.

Getting or staying organized doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.  Of course, the Container Store is a type A’s dream, but it doesn’t always fit into the budget.  Dollar Tree, Ikea, Target’s Dollar bins, and thrift stores have wonderful resources if you think a little outside the box.  Even your recycling bin can hold some treasures… old cereal boxes can be cut, wrapped in wrapping or contact paper, and used as magazine files.

cereal box magazine file

(Image courtesy of )

Have a ton of old wrapping paper all over your floor?  Use some butcher’s twine or old ribbon and cut it just longer than the roll of paper.  Tie loops on both ends and stick 2 pushpins in the wall; hang the wrapping paper up & you now have a clean floor!

Wrapping paper holder

Written by Christina Rotolo

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