Are you an organizer or a piler?

by inspiredrd on January 10, 2012

As much as I would love to tell you that I am an expert on being organized, I am just not.  I’m a piler.  I make piles.  It drives my husband nuts.  He is an “everything has it’s place” kind of person.

Last year we moved into a smaller home.  It’s very nice, in a great area, well taken care of by the owners.  But because it’s a rental, we aren’t allowed to paint or make any major changes to the house.  And because it’s smaller, we have bigger organizational challenges than we did before.

But I am determined to get a hold on our space this year.  There are too many important things that are getting lost in the shuffle.  Too many unfinished projects.  Too little room for quiet.  2012 will be the year that I get organized.

I went searching through the interwebs to find out how the rest of the world organizes their stuff, and came across some great resources.  (side note: what would I ever do without Pinterest?)

I also asked you on Twitter and Facebook to share your tips.  Here’s what you had to say:

Sarpreet said that step #1 is to purge, purge, purge.  I totally agree with that!  I went on a purging spree after Christmas, and need to do it again as I get started.

Janice suggested using wire CD organizers for organizing plastic storage lids in cupboards and drawers.  This seems like a great idea because I am always fighting to find my pot lids in the kitchen.  She also suggested visiting for more tips.

Carey and Tanya told me to get scarf hangers and jewelry organizers.  Have they seen my closet???

Robyn suggested looking around and seeing what really needs to be saved (like tax records, bank statements, etc.).  We did this last year with our filing system, but I know we could do it in other areas too.

Holly, Annie and Chelsea encouraged me to make it fun.  They said, “If it’s fun, you’re more likely to keep up with it.  Get printed containers or quirky items to spice up your space.”  Great advice!  Now to find some quirky containers…

Elisa told me to have a place for EVERYTHING!  Elisa, have you been talking to my husband?

Lesley‘s tip had to do with getting organized with your calendar.  She said to get out your year planner and write out important things on it (holidays, meetings) and then review it regularly.  Jeff and I do the Google calendar because it’s easy to see what each other have planned and we can add or delete things from anywhere.  I would like to have a dry-erase calendar that I can see posted up in our house though as a reminder.


I appreciate all of the tips and plan to share my organizing adventure with you as I go, complete with photographic evidence.  Just please don’t judge me for my piles.  Now, I’m off to purge, purge, purge.

If you have any tips or resources you’d like to share, please do so!

  • Robin

    I feel like we’re living the same life! My husband (also named Jeff) is organized by nature, and no matter how many organizational tools I buy, I am still a piler. It’s frustrating for both of us- thanks for the great tips.

    • inspiredrd

      Our poor Jeffs!

  • Chris

    I’m a piler, too. I make piles and just leave them. My wife gets really frustrated at me about that.

    Part of it, I think, is that I’m just more sentimental than she is. It’s hard to purge when every little toy brings back happy memories of your kids playing with them, or a ticket stub can remind you of that awesome date you had with your significant other.

    Other than that, I don’t like throwing away documents, either. I don’t know if I’ll ever have a need for any of them again, but if I ever need them, I’ll have them. Electronics and appliance manuals, too.

    Yes. I am a piler. Thank goodness I’m not a hoarder. ;-)

    • inspiredrd

      Glad to know I have a fellow piler, Chris :)

  • Ashleysh22

    Im a pile person too! Our poor husbands. Have you ever been to the container store? Apparently they are all over the US and I just discovered them. They have all kinds of organizing stuff. Some of it is overpriced but you can always go and get ideas. I got these stackable wire shelves for a empty space in the closet with out water heater and I got a tall shoe tree so it uses space UP rather than OUT. And I got drawer organizers for my night stand that I use for jewelry and wall hangers for belts and scarves on the walls that are too thin for furniture. OH and you can get dual hanger thingies. We have these :

    Good luck!

    • inspiredrd

      Great tips Ashley, thanks! I was able to find some fun organizing stuff at Goodwill yesterday. I’ll share it in a post next week!

  • Angel

    I guess I’m a purger. I don’t pile and I’m not too organized…I just throw stuff away. Chad’s not a fan of this attribute of mine. I do like a clean, uncluttered house though!

    • inspiredrd

      Jeff throws stuff away too! We got in many arguments over our first few years of marriage about that. Now he usually asks if it’s ok to get rid of something :)

  • Tricia

    I am an organizer but we just recently bought our first home together and it is smaller than our past homes so we are now working on creative ways to get much more organized.

    • inspiredrd

      Smaller homes are definitely a challenge. Let me know if you find some creative ways to organize!

  • Adrienne

    Can you put up shelves? I’ve found, after four years of apartment living and one short stint in a bedroom at my parents’ home, the more you can store upward, the better. Utilize ALL the space you can with wall shelves, stacking etc. Also, purging is a MUST. One benefit of all the times I’ve moved is that I purge every time I do! Plus goodwill tax credits are pretty great :) I keep a box in our closet and when I notice that something doesn’t fit or work, I throw it in the box! Good luck :)

    • inspiredrd

      Yes, we definitely need more shelves. I like that you keep a box in your closet, that’s a great idea!

  • janetha

    I am a HUGE piler. Piles galore. And a pack rat. My husband is a minimalist, so he helps keep our house in pretty good shape. I do have my own secret “blog dishes” cupboard, though ;)

    • inspiredrd

      Secret huh? I sometimes make secret piles :)

  • Matt @ The Athlete’s Plate

    I’m definitely a piler. #ashamed

    • inspiredrd

      No shame Matt, this is a safe place :)

  • Mandi

    I’m a huge piler and so is my fiance. Although his piles are always neat and off to the side. Mine start off innocently and small and grow until they are overflowing and I get so frustrated that I end up tossing it all out. I’ve definitely lost a lot of important papers this way and even a netflix movie. oopsie! One of my goals for this year is to get organized too.

    • inspiredrd

      Oh no! Good luck on getting organized this year!

  • Christie

    I’m kind of a piler, but with the intent of organizing it because I am typically super organized. It’s the paperwork that kills me: mail, kids’ school papers, bills, account statements, coupons, etc. I’m too busy to keep on top of each piece so I do pile it as it comes in in categories (bills, coupons, junk, etc.) until the piles get too big and I finally sort them. In the rest of my life I am very organized, but I just can’t find a good system for keeping on top of the paperwork. We too downsized last year and as much as I love our new house and neighborhood, I just can’t seem to come up with a good system in this house. It’s smaller and the “stuff” tends to pile up faster. Since the house isn’t ours though and I know we won’t be here forever, I find it hard to get the motivation to do something about it. I promise to be better at our next house. :)

    • inspiredrd

      I know what you mean about finding motivation to organize a house that you won’t be in forever. I was like that for the first 9 months…but it started driving me crazy. I know we will be here for at least another year, so I am tackling it now! Hopefully it will prepare me better for our next home too.

  • feener

    both my husband and myself are organizationally challenged. him worse than me. i would have to say that right now that is the number problem in my life… is seriously causing problems and i need to address…..

    • inspiredrd

      Well my suggestion is to tackle one area at a time. I just did my crafting closet. It took 2 days, but I am so happy with how it turned out. Now I can tackle another area that needs organizing!

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