As I browsed through online articles about organizing, I came across a “quick and easy” tip that would help you to be more organized.
It left me, frankly, troubled.
The advice was clear: you should make a catalog of your stuff — specifically, your books, music, and movie collections. Then if you want to know what you have, you can look at your list. Keeping such a list could help you remember and prevent you from buying duplicates of a book or a movie that you already own.
Dear readers, if you need a catalog of your stuff to remember what you have, then you have too much. A glance to your bookshelf should be enough of a reminder of the books that you own.
If you’re thinking about buying something but you can’t remember if you already own it, don’t buy it. If you do own it, it’s obviously not useful or memorable enough to justify buying it again. And if you don’t have it yet, it wouldn’t hurt to wait a couple of days. Don’t let an interesting hobby of reading books, listening to music, or watching movies turn into a habit of buying and owning.
There might be a couple of instances when a list could help. Maybe a list of the stuff in your attic, since you don’t go up there much. Or maybe a list to help you remember what’s wrapped in tin foil in the bottom of the freezer. Even for insurance purposes, a photo of a collection will generally suffice.
Maintaining a catalog means sitting at your computer typing it up, formatting it, and updating it regularly. This is not true organization! Why keep a list of stuff when you can just look at your actual stuff? The list will keep you busy, yes. But productive? No.
Every effort to organize should start with the question, “What problem will this solve?” Please don’t make lists of your stuff. Let’s make sure all of our endeavors are worthwhile.