I see articles every single day offering fun and seemingly-practical organizing tips.
Usually, they put me off – a lot.
I am an organizer, but I am in no way perfect. I feel that all these tips that are coming at us, while well-meaning, are essential setting us up for failure.
Though fun and thoughtful, most of the time organizing tips are completely unrealistic.
Let’s take this Buzzfeed article.
Plastic Cups Set Within a Muffin Tin
Seemingly genius, right? Everything you need right there for your and your children to be creative.
However, there are a couple of problems with this. The first is that when things are open like this, they are accesible (good) but often collect more clutter on top of everything (bad.) Another thing – do kids usually need 6-7 pairs of scissors out at one time? They may, however, sometimes presenting them with so many options can be overwhelming. There’s also a cool collage material here (pom-poms) but no glue – so you’d have to add yet another compartment.
This may not be made to be accessible to kids – after all, who need 10-20 paintbrushes accessible at once? However, if this seems like it’s not practical for your home – don’t worry – it probably isn’t!
Tupperware-Like Cereal Box Trash Bin for the Car
Again, seemingly-genius. However, there are some flaws.
As a Seattle-ite, most of my garbage is coffee cups. I don’t know if this is just me, but much garbage in my car is coffee or beverage related. This trash bin would not hold very many beverage cups. Plus, placing a bag inside a container and putting a top on it takes much more time than I have – a bag with handles may work just fine. Or, god forbid, maybe I will just leave it on the floor and clear it out into the trash when I get gas. (Don’t hate me!)
Fast Food Kid’s Meal Holder
When I get fast food (and I do, sometimes – don’t judge!) it is because I’m busy. Like super busy. Too-busy-to-walk-to the-grocery-store-to-get a-salad-even-though-it-would-only-take-3-minutes-longer-busy.
With the above set up, you’d have to take the time to take the kids meal out of the bag or box, and then artfully arrange it into this holder. Looks cute, but who has time when you’re on the run?
With fast food meals, I try to stick with the bag that they came in – after all, it’s a great place to put all the garbage into at the end as well.
Hair Ties Sorted by Color
Sorting things by color can be fun. It also looks really pretty. Sorting and categorizing can be a great math activity for children that they enjoy. But – does anyone have the time to sort their hair ties this in-depth? Is it even needed in most cases? Putting them all in one spot, especially if there aren’t very many like there are here, seems like it would be just fine.
Crayons in a Popsicle Maker
Usually, there are WAY too many crayons and too little space in a popsicle maker. Again, great idea, but you have to be very very selective on the crayons you keep. This one I actually don’t think is too ridiculous in the grand scheme of things – however, you would have to be very disciplined to make sure this doesn’t turn into an overflowing mess.
Alternately, it’s a great exercise in not having too many crayons out at once.
What do you think? Am I being completely out of line here? I definitely respect these ideas – they are genius – but I believe that organizing solutions like this are setting us up for failure. Why?
They’re not realistic when it comes to the needs of children.
Kids (and busy parents) need things super-simplified – even if it’s at the expense of something looking “pretty.” Pleasing to the eye is important, yes, but function should come first.
They Extend the Amount of Time It Takes to Clean Up
If kids (or again, busy parents) are expected to sort out all the hair ties/crayons/art supplies extensively at clean up each time, clean up will become even more dreaded.
They Put Too Many Things Out at Once
Just because you have eight pairs of scissors doesn’t mean that they should all be accessible to children at all times. The same goes with art supplies – just because all of your odds and ends are displayed prettily doesn’t mean they should all be available to work with at all times.
You’re Just Buying More Junk
I am seriously wondering how many people have the fast food holder thing picture above sitting in the corner of their garage after being used to hold a kid’s meal once…
I’d love to talk about this topic more in the future – including solutions that I do like! I try to stay away from negativity as much as possible, but in some instances, the world does need to be presented with other information to make them think critically of what is being presented to us as useful.