Apartment Therapy on Not Having it Both Ways, or why the organizing craze is like drug peddling...

Apartment Therapy on Not Having it Both Ways, or why the organizing craze is like drug peddling...

Maxwell Ryan
Sep 29, 2004

Lets face it, when you want to lose weight, you have to eat less, unless, of course, you get your stomach stapled. So why do people still believe that by "organizing" better and buying more "organizing paraphernalia" they are going to somehow miraculously get the thin, trim apartment that they really want? Perhaps we should advertise apartment tummy stapling (but isn't this what studios already are?).

This is the load of bs that, unfortunately, stores such as Hold Everything, and The Container Store capitalize on and we unwittingly buy into.

If you buy more shelves and boxes and fit more in, you are going to have a more organized, but fatter and heavier apartment. It is like eating more cake and then wearing the right clothes so that no one notices your size. And the net result is that you are only dampening the stress and frustration you already feel trying to juggle too much stuff. I give your "new" home 12 months before it explodes again...

Every inch of bandwidth and floorspace in our economy is aimed at convincing us to buy more stuff, and we are losing. We have more stuff, they have our money. We are stressed out and feeling as if we can't keep ahead of our life. Shouldn't this tell us something?

(Sidenote: I am not against shopping per se, and love a good find or purchase just like the next interiors whore, just enough with the boxes and racks and huge armoires already.)

NOW organizing paraphernalia is the new safe drug. You can buy a lot of it and it will make everything you have fit in better. We even have "organizing porn." Real Simple's nicely organized shelves and spices and yarn baskets are the sorts of things people drool over now.

Two separate clients in the past two days have said to me that their favorite store is Hold Everything, because it is so calm and organized. IT IS CALM AND ORGANIZED BECAUSE IT IS NEARLY EMPTY AND NO ONE LIVES THERE. It is a store that sells designer emptiness, for chrissakes, like a leather belt to hold in your gut or a slimming bra.

If you want to have an organized, open, comfortable apartment that doesn't stress you out when you come home, don't buy more, just let go.

Break the habit.

Not just the habit of buying, the habit of holding on too tightly to belongings that are weighing you down like rocks. Two questions: Is it beautiful? Do I use it? If the answer to either one of these questions is "no," let it go. MGR

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