I’m just going to come right out with it…when I was younger, I hated to read. As someone who works at a library, this isn’t something I’m particularly quick to share. In fact, when I was in library school and all my peers would be going on and on about how they used to hide flashlights in their bed at night to stay up and read, or how they grew up in a library voraciously reading their way through the stacks, or how they have memories of standing in line at a bookstore for the release of their favorite author’s new book, I would just smile and nod – maybe throw in an “oh for sure” or “absolutely” every now and then to keep up appearances.
“So why would you go to library school if you don’t like to read?”
It’s a valid question, but most librarians would tell you reading is actually a small part of what we do as professionals—that’s a whole other story—a big reason I went into the library field is because I LOVE to organize. I love to organize things by subject, number, alphabet, size, color. I love to put things in categories and create parenting systems for filing. Figuring out the best, most efficient way to make something findable is like an exciting game to me. And that’s a lot of what librarians do. They organize information and categorize things to make them as accessible as possible to their communities.
I know. It’s not cool to be orderly. The fun people are the care-free ones, embracing chaos every step of the way. Don’t worry. I've learned to know when to turn it on and off. But I’ll admit I have to resist organizing my kids’ candy when they come home from trick-or-treating. What kind of a monster doesn’t put all the lollipops in a lollipop pile and all the chocolate bars in a chocolate bar pile?!
So to all the fellow organizers out there, people who might just enjoy learning different methods of organizing, here’s a list for you.
Getting Things Done The Art of Stress-free Productivity, (or G.T.D. for short), was originally published in 2001 with a revised edition in 2015 to address a decade and a half’s worth of technology advancements. This is kind of where it all began for me. Although it seems somewhat counterintuitive, Allen promotes the idea that you can actually reduce stress by spending the time to organize. Basically putting tasks in order by deadline. This approach is mainly directed toward professionals, but it has helped me in all sectors of my life. Get everything filed away so your mind can focus on what needs to get done right now.
Ahhhh…the good ole envelope system. This one really helped me get my finances in check and has forever changed the way I think about spending and budgeting. While I may not agree with all of Ramsey’s opinions, the envelope system described in this book was key for me. You basically budget all your spending and fill envelopes with cash for each category. In this era of credit cards and online money transferring, it’s amazing how thrifty you can get when you see that green leaving your hands.
Normally, I would say it’s not a great idea to put people in a category but, boy, do I love some Enneagrams. We’ve all done it: Astrological signs, Myers-Brigg, StrengthsFinders, Buzzfeed’s “What 90210 character are you?” Whatever it is… they’re just plain fun. There’s been a whole host of books written on Enneagrams but this was my go-to reference. By the way, I’m a 6!
Yeah, I did it. I’m not afraid to admit I KonMari-ed my house. For this one, I got the whole family involved. We had about a million snow days this past winter and so we decided to tidy up! And I am officially a believer. I think it taught me and my family to lead a simpler life. We’re certainly not as quick to buy this toy or that dress without really thinking about it. I don’t always hold everything in my arms and wait to see if I feel a spark, but I get her message…and I think it’s a good one.
In general, my need to organize brings me a sense of peace and clarity. It’s not for everyone, but we’re out there. And to those I say, don’t let them call you O.C.D., uptight, or anal. Let your meticulously-organized and highly-detailed flag fly!
Oh, and just to clear the air, I love to read as an adult! Guess it just took me a little bit longer.
-Molly Washatka is an Info Services Assistant at Lawrence Public Library.