This is the 3rd in a series: (1) Everything Out, (2) Nothing Out.

Remember the character Felix Unger, who in Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple put his underwear on hangers and shoe trees in his bedroom slippers? Felix is the ultimate Right Angler — so preoccupied with neatness and the way things look that he fails to notice that, all too often, his arrangements make no sense.

It’s fine to be neat, of course. But ultimately Right Anglers must understand that it’s not enough just to be neat because in their pursuit of neatness they may straighten the wrong things into the wrong places. Then they have a home or office that, even though it looks terrific, can frustrate them — or other people — when they try to locate or retrieve an item.

Some Right Anglers value form over substance. Rather than thinking of the utility or purpose of items, they concentrate mainly on where items will fit or look nice. Other RAs straighten things compulsively as a means of staying in control. I tend to do this when I can’t do anything about what’s really concerning me; the act of arranging what I can arrange gives me an outlet for nervous energy and the feeling that I’m in control of something.

Interestingly, RAs may line things up in one area, yet let another area remain a disaster. Often the reason for being compulsively neat in one area and not neat in another stems from insufficient time or energy to organize things exactly as they’d like them to be. And once they have their neat systems in place, they don’t like to change them, even when it makes sense to do so.

Right Anglers are compulsive straighteners. If someone moves something from its “correct” spot, an RA puts it back immediately without even thinking. But it does help to think. If you’re a Right Angler,

1. Stay on top of what you are keeping and where you are keeping it to make sure that your arrangements are working for you.

2. Examine your needs carefully and know that it’s all right if systems are unorthodox as long as they’re functional.

3. Look for products that will keep things both neat and efficient. Realize that the organizing process takes time, but that it can be accomplished without too much upheaval if you tackle a little bit at a time.

One Response to "Personal Style Series: (3) The Right Angler"

  1. Pingback: Personal Style Series: (5) The Total Slob | Sunny Schlenger - Best Selling Author and Organizer

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