Friday, April 19, 2024

PHALON’S FILES: Disorganized Crimes

January was National Get Organized Month, or as professional organizers call it, “GOMonth,” and I’m still feeling the effects. 

I’ve had only a passing acquaintance with organization for most of my life. Just looking across my desk at the moment proves that. But there are people who take being organized very seriously. And there are actually organizations for such organized folks. The National Association of Professional Organizers is one of the groups promoting National Get Organized Month.

I’d really like to see pictures of their offices. I’ll bet they look nothing like my desk. In fact, the group is having a convention in Long Beach, California, in November. The Annual Conference and Organizing Exposition I’m guessing will be one of the best-organized conventions all year. You can even find a professional organizer on their website.

I found seven of them within 10 miles of my disorganized basement/workshop. My own organizational membership could be best described by what Will Rogers said. “I’m not a member of any organized party. I’m a Democrat.” But my largely disorganized life took a turn for a measure of order when I got married and Rose introduced the concept of organization.

I learned early on that she is a list maker, and I came to like lists. From guest lists to grocery lists to “honey do” lists, Rose could make order out of any kind of chaos.

When the Container Store opened in the 1990s, it was like Nirvana for Rose. This is a store that’s sole purpose is getting people organized and providing the tools to do it. It even has containers for your containers.

Rose organized my closet. She organized my car. She’s even organized the garage, though that organization is a little hard to maintain. Very soon we will take on my home office, a major challenge. 

There are even television shows now about getting organized. Our particular favorites are the ones like “Clean House” where a crew goes in and persuades pack rats to declutter their homes. Like many of the people in those programs, I was at first resistant to throwing stuff out.

But I came to embrace the concept and feel purged and relieved when I let go of something and reclaimed some space. A friend who had serious damage done to her house during a flood has a great word for the process: “Decrap.” As in, “I’m in the final stages of decrapping my kitchen.” 

Organized crime, for instance, might be run more efficiently than disorganized crime, but it doesn’t get the government seal of approval. So, at the very least, I will organize my thoughts today and think of ways to replace chaos with order in my life. And I’ll make a list. And try to stick to it. Maybe I’ll decrap my brain, but that’s a tall order.

On the other hand, nature deplores a vacuum and while I don’t have any objections to vacuum cleaners, I do believe nature always prevails. No matter how hard I might fight it, I am naturally disorganized. And within a month everything will be back where it was: Where I can’t find it. 

Joe Phalon
Joe Phalon, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

Joe was lured out of retirement by the opportunity to be a part of the Ridge View Echo. During a decades-long career in publishing and journalism, he has covered government on many levels from local school boards to the United States Supreme Court.

Along the way, Joe has worked at American Lawyer Magazine, The National Law Journal and The Record among other publications, and as the Press Officer of Columbia Law School. His work has been recognized with several first place awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Press Association.

Being part of the Ridge View Echo brings Joe back to his roots and the kind of news coverage he loves: Telling the stories of people and local communities as well as keeping an eye on how their money is spent by their government officials.

Joe lives in Blairstown with his wife Rose, the founder of Quilting for a Cause, and their two wiener dogs. He is an artist in his spare time.