Clutter versus Chaos

A cluttered table

A cluttered table

I did a little web searching before starting this article, using the term “difference between clutter and chaos.” I found almost nothing except one site that equated chaos with hoarding. Sorry – chaos is not hoarding, even though hoarding produces chaos. Hoarding is an illness under the category of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and while it may be chaotic, you don’t have to have OCD to live in chaos.

Disorganization is a fundamental lack of structure. It’s often associated with perfectionism – “If I can’t do it right, I won’t do it at all.” This inevitably leads to clutter, because you don’t have good places to put things. But it’s possible to be organized and still live in clutter or chaos.

A clutterer doesn’t just have things sitting out because they have no place; the storage spaces that do exist are also cluttered, with things thrown into drawers or placed in cabinets haphazardly, making them tough to find. A clutterer also tends to get things out and then not put them back.

Personal organizers are invaluable for clutterers because they provide the needed structure. They gather like with like and store it all together, most often in labeled bins. They demonstrate the efficiency of keeping similar things together and make it easy to put things where they belong. It’s really quite amazing to see how personal organizers can transform a cluttered home into an organized one – as long as the new storage structure is used.

But chaos is something else again. Continue reading