Your desk at work. Your kitchen sink. Your car. Socially speaking, “Neat & Clean” is the sign that someone “has it together”. How did being organized explode into the definitive barometer for character, compatibility & even success it has become? Organization as a form of self-definition needs to be understood through the lens of popular trends. Why is organizing so popular in the first place?
Organization has exploded as the manifest of a sub-culture taking hold in the DIY, home-making & interior decor communities, no doubt. But apparently, there's a lot more to it than keeping your closet neat. It’s deep-rooted reach has been explained by professionals of therapy & psychology at every level.
Occupational Therapist Devora Backenroth (OTR/L) has worked with hundreds of children in the New York City Public School system & has seen much success helping them adjust to the daily grind. She's drawn a fascinating connection between students’ classroom performance & organization:
“My colleagues & I have found that the psychological and emotional output of being disorganized is - anxiety. An ordinary, every-day classroom task a student simply cannot complete because they’re disorganized becomes a source of anxiety so distracting they give up on trying. They fall behind. They act up. I spend my sessions working together with students to implement easy and creative solutions these kids can wrap their minds around. The vast majority of these tricks are really just to help them get organized. What follows is a sharp increase in the students’ ability to complete these tasks quickly and efficiently. Thankfully, there’s a wonderful awareness & many students are benefiting from these simple interventions. Learning these skills at an early age allows them to keep up through all their years- the effects down the road are life-changing.”
Organization is in our DNA as a tool to remain productive, functioning members of society- & a mechanism for staving off the sub-conscious anxieties of the alternative state of being.
The Closet Organization Craze is the natural outcome of a population focused on streamlining & productivity. How? This is largely due to the simultaneous explosion of the Minimalist movement- so defined as thus:
-a trend in sculpture and painting that arose in the 1950s and used simple, typically massive, forms.
That is, the design trend where the art is created organically from negative space, predominantly.
Minimalism is prevalent in every form of design- graphic, architecture, modern art, even pop culture- But it really flourished in interior design. Gone are the ornate, European-classical-era-inspired accent furniture and trimmings, replaced by- well, nothing. Rooms are designed now by what's not in them more then by what is. A rare form of beauty emerges from the design restraint we display - yin & yang, positive from negative. It is this thinking that has led to a simple calculation: less showing externally, more internally. Because we all still have stuff. And that stuff needs stashing. Closets remain the one inner storage sanctum where we store our personals. But closet space has in turn become valued real estate. Closets are not just about how much hanging inches we can fit in there anymore. They're now about drawers and shelves and shoe shelves and basket storage; maximizing precious closet square footage. Because more in the closet means less is showing, means more minimal. The more grande the closet design, the more minimal the bedroom. And the results have been stunningly creative.
The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. An eye-opening experiment: Search the term "interior design" in Google or Pinterest. What you see is the visual output of a Minimalism-trending industry: beauty in it's simplicity.
Now, watch what happens when you search those same houses & designers for the term "closet design". The results almost seem... cluttered. Organized closets remain the haven for our stuff that enables the clarity of mind a Minimalist requires.
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