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September 13th, 2018

What is the difference between ‘clean’ and ‘organized’?


No word exists, nor was created in isolation.  They are all on a spectrum of interdependency and nuance, and this interactive fact is more important than specific, potentially pedantic details about any given definition that we attempt to regard in isolation. 


Such an attempt is a fool’s errand because any attempt to define a word entails the use of other words and therefore automatically hauls a word out of isolation



by default.



Any focused juxtaposition of words or concepts is simply an attempt to look at one way words relate out of many.  For example, what is the similarity between ‘clean’ and ‘organized’ brings about a whole different discussion extending to the fact that both words can easily use the other in their definitions.


The first question, however – what is the difference between ‘clean’ and ‘organized’, would probably have to shift to a different perspective, one where the words cannot define each other.  For this difference, we might ask whether they describe internal qualities of any given thing or external.


For example, a countertop might look clean, but still be covered in E. Coli, where as looking at an organized woodworking studio evokes the same pleasure that a seemingly clean counter top does, but carries along with it a bit more confirmation that we aren’t’ being deceived by the appearance of things.  The macro analog to the clean looking countertop covered in E. Coli would be the beautiful tidy-looking house that has a pile of junk in every closet and stuffed into every drawer.


In this way we might say that ‘clean’ is a relatively superficial external judgment.  Whereas ‘organized’ is a description about internal structure.  To put this another way.  ‘Clean’ is a description of the way things look, where as ‘organized’ is a description of the way things actually are.


Our clean looking social medias are the quintessential shoo-in for this juxtaposition.  Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have made it very easy and convenient to stitch together clean, sanitized stills of our lives to create a beautiful looking tapestry that we like to think represents our lives.


We may ask at this point: for someone who spends an unhealthy amount of time on these social platforms, what other activities are they habitually doing?


For example, who is more likely to waste time scrolling through a feed:


Someone who reads and meditates daily




Someone who drinks everyday and rarely cooks?



I’ll leave it to you to answer that question, but it’s potentially useful to think about these activities through the guise of another question:


Which of these activities is contributing to an organized and healthy life as opposed to a life that just looks clean when everything is swept under the feed?

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