21 Aug 2017

Common Myths About Getting Organized

Getting organized can improve your life, but it requires motivation and perseverance. When getting organized you first need to recognize the things that cause disorganization in the first place, understand your personal style, and choose the correct systems to implement moving forward. What works for one, does not necessarily work for all.

Here are three of the most common myths surrounding the process of getting organized.

Myth #1: I need a fancy organizing system to get properly organized.

I personally see this phenomenon every January – people flock to the stores to stock up on bins and totes. Now some people may actually need what they are buying – but my hunch is that many are buying all this stuff in hopes that it will solve all of their problems and get them organized. Most people stuff things in bins, stack the bins in a corner, a storage unit or a garage and call it good. A messy desk typically is more organized than a room full of bins if there was no plan or purpose that went int putting all of those items in bins. Oftentimes products go unused because the buyer didn’t ask these simple questions first.

  1. What is causing my disorganization?
  2. What type of products will help me create a system or enhance my current system?
  3. Does this product match my style?
  4. Should I sort and purge before using my new product?

The most common mistake people make in getting organized (and staying that way) is waiting too long to buy the product or replacement products. If you wait until the piles of paper have become unmanageable, you have endured a lot of unnecessary stress. The second most common mistake in getting organized is buying something that does not match your personal style. For example, if you like to create file labels on the run, consider label systems or tabs you can easily write on. If you prefer a more finished look, select an electronic or computer-based labeling system.

Myth #2: Only handle it once or (O.H.I.O.)

While this often-heard rule applies to items such as junk mail, it definitely doesn’t apply to on-going projects. Let’s face it. Some papers have to be handled more than once but “filing by piling” isn’t an efficient alternative either.

In order to avoid misplacing papers and spending time rifling through a stack, sort your papers into 6-8 categories. Then place each category into its own file folder, hanging file or project jacket. Take time to label each. Doing so will allow you to locate an item faster and avoid losing an important document.

Myth #3: You only have to get organized once.

If this were true, I’d quickly be putting myself out of a job. Getting organized and leading an organized life are two different things. For some people, the actual cleaning and organizing of an area is one thing; maintaining it is another. After getting organized, your spaces will become functional and will be enjoyed and used more often. This is a good thing. Learning to maintain an area doesn’t have to be sheer drudgery. Devote a few minutes at the end of your day to “visit” your recently organized area to assure that items are getting returned to their proper places.

As with any new habit, allow yourself the time to adjust to a new way of doing things. Getting organized (and staying organized) is on-going but it certainly allows for more peace and less stress in your day-to-day life.

31 Jul 2017

Are you so overwhelmed you are paralyzed?


As someone who helps people organize their homes, offices and businesses there are several things that people usually say to me when we first meet for a consultation or behaviors that they exhibit. First, they apologize again, again and again – this isn’t typical of them, they don’t like the situation they are in and they don’t know how to get themselves out of it. Then they apologize that they didn’t have time to clean up before I arrived.  And, when we have completed our first session they are always grateful for the help, regret that they didn’t seek out help sooner and most importantly they themselves recognize it’s not as bad as they thought! Of course I quickly reassure them that it isn’t nearly as bad as they think (trust me – it’s never as bad as you think.) I remind them that the first step to solving a problem is admitting you actually have a problem and finally, there are no hard and fast rules and all it will take is a little discipline and burning some calories and things will get better.

In a majority of the scenarios I find myself in as a professional organizer, most all of my clients have overcome the biggest obstacle when they have brought me in to help. Step one is overcoming the inertia that is preventing you from moving ahead and beyond the obstacle.

The paralysis is a result of that inertia holding you in place. It’s not as hard as you think to overcome the inertia and break past the barriers. So where do you start? You simply have to take the first step and the journey begins from there.

Rather than looking at the project as one big overwhelming project – think of it as a series of smaller projects. Tackle one small thing and then move on to the next. If you need, make a list of the small projects and prioritize them – are there certain things that it makes sense to do first? (try to keep some order and logic to them so you don’t find yourself undoing or redoing things.)

Break tasks down into things you can do in 30 minutes or less (I confess – I learned this one from my life coach and it’s amazing what I’ve been able to accomplish with this small shift in tactics.) When you have thirty minutes tackle one of these tasks – if you have more time, you might be able to knock a couple of items off the list!

Do you need help ending the paralysis? Contact us for a free consultation!