Connect With Me

Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

Connect with me on FacebookConnect with me on TwitterConnect with me on LinkedInConnect with me on YouTubeConnect with me on Twitter


Sign-up for free monthly e-newsletter and get "Organizing Tip 101" series as a thank you bonus!

Buy Linda's book at her Amazon store for Autographed Copy!

In The Other Side of Organized, Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® will encourage you to get organized enough to reduce the stress of life’s details and make time to embrace your passions. Already, thousands of clients and readers have found help and inspiration in her advice, personal reflections on change and connection, and vision of what can be accomplished when you find that sweet spot between chaos and perfection.

Available in paperback or eBook for Kindle, Nook, iPad or iPhone and Sony Reader.

Professional Organizing

Need some help? Linda's company, Oh, So Organized! provides professional organizing services. Click here to learn about our unique Client Loyalty Program. Visit the Oh, So Organized! website for organizing tips, resources, videos and more. Make this your year to get organized.

« The Now of Happiness | Words of Our Lives »

Common Organizing Challenges

This fall I offered the Ultimate Organizing Giveaway. The contest was successful on multiple levels. What I loved most were the comments participants wrote on my blog during the giveaway. The wealth of challenges, hopes and dreams posted inspired me to “collect” them. Aside from letting me know their favorite items in the giveaway such as the $50 Container Store gift card or Peter Walsh’s book, It’s All Too Much, they also shared from their hearts. I was deeply moved by what they wrote about.

Four main themes came through in their organizing challenges. They shared their self-talk, whys, desires and actions. Perhaps some of these thoughts will resonate with you.

Self-Talk can be our best friend or most vicious enemy. So much of what we tell ourselves effects our actions. Our internal dialogue can propel us forward or paralyze us to inaction. What do you tell yourself? Is negative self-talk holding you back? Here are some thoughts others shared:

  • I “should” be more organized.
  • I’m an “organizational disaster.”
  • My life is disorganized and is “driving me insane.”
  • I am totally disorganized.
  • Disorganization is a “flaw” in my character.
  • My life is in chaos and I have no chance of digging out.
  • I feel paralyzed.

Organizing challenges come in many forms. The source of our disorganization is as varied as each of us. Why do you feel disorganized? Here are some of the reasons people shared:

  • I have small kids, so it’s difficult to stay organized.
  • My paperwork is a “mess.”
  • I’m running my own business and raising a family.
  • I have too much stuff.
  • I’m in “organizational turmoil” due to health challenges.
  • I procrastinate too much.
  • It’s not about the stuff but an entire mindset that upsets everything in my life if things aren’t organized.
  • There is so much disorganization that I can’t find important documents.
  • My spouse is a collector and hoarder.
  • I am overwhelmed by the move we made six months ago.

We all have hopes, dreams and desires. We envision how we’d like our lives to be. We imagine what organization and life balance might look and feel like. Those dreams can sustain and propel us forward. These are some of the desires others shared:

  • I “crave” organization.
  • I want a Professional Organizer in my home full time.
  • My “dream goal” is to be organized.
  • By reading organizational books and catalogs, I hope that I will become organized through osmosis.
  • I want to pare things down.
  • I need methods about how to organize.
  • I want organizing advice that’s realistic and helpful.
  • I need help organizing my stuff and life.
  • I am looking for inspiration and motivation.

As we know, dreams and explanations are an important part of the organizing equation, but without being tied to concrete actions, they just remain as thoughts.  I’ve observed that sometimes just talking about getting organized can inspire others to take action. Here are some of the action ideas that people shared:

  • I can’t do this alone, so I am hiring a Professional Organizer to help.
  • I am focusing on one thing each day to minimize confusion.
  • Instead of waiting for the New Year, I’m going to start now.
  • I am going to do more purging.
  • I have no control over my spouse's disorganization, so I will work on my own areas instead.
  • I will take one small step at a time.

Perhaps you identify with some of the statements others have shared about self-talk, whys, desires and actions? Wherever you are on the organizing challenge spectrum, you are not alone. I encourage you to continue the conversation. I’d love to hear more from you! Is your self-talk negative or positive? Why do you feel disorganized? Why do you want to get organized? What action step are you ready to take?

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (4)

I am a very organized person. I constantly work on clutter and managment of everything in the household to keep things organized, and I must say I do a great job. I have one dilemma that I need help with. In my attic is a container of my fathers clothes. He died 5 years ago and I cannot bring myself to go through them.When I open the box the smell of his cologne incapacitates me and I cant go any further. How do you work through this? I would appreciate any suggestions.
Thank you!

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjmhva

Thank you for sharing your challenge. You've touched on something that I often experience when working with clients. Our belongings are more than just physical objects. Very often we have strong emotional attachments to them. In your case, you are describing exactly that.

I have a few thoughts about what you've described. I'll ask the obvious question first. Is there a reason why you want to let go of the container? Is keeping it a source of pain? One possibility is that you allow yourself to keep the clothes. It sounds like you have the room to do so. I've learned that people do not let go of things until they are ready. This cannot be forced. It's possible that you aren't ready.

If however, you want to let go, but are paralyzed to do so, here are a few ideas that might help:
- Do you have photos of your father wearing the clothes? Are the photos enough to keep the memory of him vivid in your mind? If you don't have photos of him in the clothes, could you take photos of them and release the physical pieces?
- It might be helpful to have someone you trust with you while you're "letting go." Is there a friend or family member that could support you as you go through the container? Maybe they could listen as you share some stories about your Dad while sorting the clothes.
- Is there a person or an organization that would find the clothes of value? Sometimes when we find good homes for our possessions, it makes it easier to let go.
- If this continues to be a source of pain and stress, seeking the help from a professional such as a grief counselor or psychologist might help you to work things through.

The people we love are always with us, even when their physical presence and belongings are no longer there.

December 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Thank you very much for your suggestions they are quite helpful and I appreciate you taking the time to address this! For right now I do have the space to keep them until I am really ready to deal with it.
Thanks again

December 8, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjmhva

You're very welcome, Joan. I'm glad that the ideas were helpful. I wish you the best!

December 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>