Organizing Via Mess-Making

Organizing Via Mess-Making

The poorly framed cell phone image above was taken after a good bit of organizing. This is a view of one corner of the game room where multiple, small-scale gaming-oriented events take place on a semi-regular basis. This is where I get my nerd on, so to speak.

The room is not large, but apparently has room for a 4-foot by 6-foot gaming table, a paint table, a small desk, multiple bookshelves, several chairs, and stacks upon stacks of gaming materials like cards, miniatures, books, and dice. Lots of dice. Lots of well organized dice. In fact, those dice are the only thing I feel is “settled”. Everything else is a messy, blob-like manifestation which creeps from corner to corner, attempting to overtake the entire space.


To paraphrase my son’s rather blunt observation, organizing requires some mess-making. Book shelves were unloaded onto the table, floor, and chairs before being slid around to the opposite wall and reloaded. The desk received similar treatment. Multiple times. At last count, it had seen at least four different arrangements before I finally settled on a final placement.

Organizing the Mess

The remaining, disorganized mess continues to shift as I explore solutions. First, we are bringing in a third bookshelf. In theory, this will hold a plethora of miniatures and terrain pieces for our tabletop games. This will free up space elsewhere. The primary goal is to make the closet (fortunately, not pictured here) accessible and usable.

The Mess of Organizing

The lesson here is simple: To overcome overwhelming odds, you must make a mess. Whatever the problem, tear it down into it’s constituent pieces, organizing them into smaller, more manageable groups. Then, instead of tackling the entire blob, you can pick off the small problems. This, in turn, makes resolving the remaining, larger issues easier to tackle.

I am using this particular approach beyond this one room of the house. It is my most essential tool for my day job, providing magnificent leverage for taking sometimes chaotic processes and making them simple tasks. In photography, I have less time but, perhaps, more of a need for this mindset. I have a lot of cleaning to do with very little time. It will happen.

What messes are you working towards organizing?

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