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Organizing Inspiration from Curious George

Thursday, January 5th, 2012

A few months ago, I was watching an episode of Curious George with my five year old. The episode was called ‘Trader George’ which made me laugh for a moment because it sounded so much like ‘Trader Joe’s’ which is a food store I love to shop in and eat from.

Hey, it was really early in the morning and I was hungry. OK–back to how this connects with organizing…

So, in the episode George does some trading of items with people in order to get what he thinks he wants. The back story involves The Man With the Yellow Hat. While George is out trading his stuff to get other stuff, The Man With the Yellow Hat is at his county house going through the closet looking for items to put out at a local swap meet (where George is doing all this trading).

I’m getting to the organizing part…

Mr. Yellow, as I’ll call him for brevity sake, ends up spending much of the episode sitting in front of his closet pulling stuff out and reminiscing about it. My son is enjoying the show while I’m yelling at the TV in my head, “Don’t do that!’

You see, Mr. Yellow was breaking one of the cardinal rules of organizing.

Do not reminisce while organizing.

Why is this a bad idea?

It’s distracting. You’re supposed to be sorting and purging and getting rid of the old to make for the new and instead you’re looking at pictures or dreaming about the last time you fit into that cocktail dress and now you’ve stopped organizing to look for the matching shoes and handbag you wore with it ten years ago.

It’s a time waster. Not many people have all day to organize. Time is precious and it’s important to focus on organizing during the time you’ve alloted for it before you get tired or have to move on to the next activity of the day.

There’s nothing wrong with taking a few moments to think about the past. But those moments should not take you away from the task at hand. Pick a time later in the day or week to go through all the bridesmaids dresses you uncovered or all the never-before-seen pictures you found from your parent’s first Thanksgiving together.

Next time you’re organizing a spot in your home and you come across some cool stuff you want to dwell upon for more than thirty seconds, think about The Man With the Yellow Hat. Make time later to reminisce–or you may miss out on a lot more than just a swap meet…

About Stacey Agin Murray

Stacey is a professional organizer & speaker in New Jersey specializing in residential organizing, time, and paper management challenges. She also authored The Organized Bride’s Thank You Note Handbook: Let Systems and 101 Modern Sample Thank You Notes Take You From Overwhelmed to Organized.

Categories: Basic Organizing Principles, Clutter, Helpful Organizing Tips, Time

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4 responses to “Organizing Inspiration from Curious George”

  1. Stephanie from Hinman Hall says:

    Love this! I am SO guilty of this and it’s a great reminder. I will definitely keep this in mind next time I attempt to get organized.

  2. So glad Curious George and I could help!

  3. So going through my treasure box, getting rid of a couple of items and looking at the rest doesn’t count as organizing? Now I know why that thing’s so full!

  4. Any purge is a good purge, Janet! Next time you look in your treasure box, remember The Man in the Yellow Hat…

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