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Linda Samuels, CPO-CD®

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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.

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« Organizing Help for Back to School | Ask the Expert: Janet Barclay »

Top 10 Reasons People Ask for Organizing Help

What motivates us to take action? As a professional organizer for almost 20 years, I’ve noticed certain patterns that propel people to reach out for organizing help. When I ask a potential client “What prompted your call?”

I often hear one of these ten responses:




1. “I am overwhelmed by my clutter, lack of space, and time to manage the ‘stuff’ of life.”

Overwhelmed – This general sense of overwhelm is the most frequent reason given for enlisting organizing help.


2. “ I’d like to be organized, but I never learned the skills.”

Never Learned How – For some, organizing comes naturally, while for others it’s learned. It's never too late to start, even if organizing wasn't taught or modeled.


3. “ I want to organize, but I don’t know which organizing products are best, where to purchase them, or where to donate unwanted items.”

Need Resources – The physical part of the organizing process sometimes requires help from others. Organizers have an abundance of resources including places to donate or purchase storage containers, and contacts for other professionals such as therapists or coaches.


4.  “I know what I want to accomplish, but I can’t figure out how to make that happen and what to do next.”

Next Step Paralysis – Our organizing end goal might be clear, but we're not sure what our next small step should be. This can cause procrastination and inaction. Organizers can help break large goals into smaller, doable steps.


5. “ I know how to organize, but I don’t have any time to do it.”

Time Poor – Some prefer to delegate or outsource organizing projects because their schedules are too busy to handle the work themselves.


6. “The only way I’ll get organized is if I’m accountable to someone.”

Want Accountability Partner – Establishing set appointments and follow-ups with an organizer or accountability partner can be a great motivator for completion of projects.


7. “I’m organized, but my spouse is not. It’s making me crazy, and I don’t know what to do!”

Disorganized Family Member – Frustration over family members with different organizing styles and tolerances is very common. Organizers are often enlisted to help families figure out workable solutions by staying neutral and non-judgmental.


8.  “I used to be able to organize, but because of my declining health, I no longer have the strength or the energy to do this myself.”

Health Challenges – Medical challenges can cause limited mobility, loss of energy, or concentration. This is another reason people ask for organizing help.


9.  “I have ADD and find it difficult to focus and stay organized. It’s been a lifelong struggle. I want to figure out systems that work for the way I think.”

Brain DifferencesADHD and other brain or learning differences can make organizing more challenging. It’s very common to enlist help from specially trained organizers or coaches. ICD is a wonderful resource for finding organizers with training in these areas.


10. “ My kids are out of the house, my parents have both passed away, and I have too many things that no longer fit my life. I need help letting go and reorganizing.”

In Transition – Before, during, or after changes such as births, moves, divorces, empty-nests, or loss of loved ones, our routines and needs shift. Organizers can be valuable partners in negotiating that new normal.

I’d love to hear from you. Do any of these seem familiar? What can you add to list? Come join our conversation.

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Reader Comments (13)

Linda: this is a genius post. I love how you linked up each one to a past post. Well done GF! Thanks for all the sharing you do!

Margarita Ibbott
DownshiftingPOS on Twitter

Margarita- Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by and share. I'm so glad you enjoyed this along with the live links to related posts. Are there any other reasons you've discovered people ask for organizing help that I've left out? Do share.

August 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Great post!
I can relate to the overwhelm factor! Our urban living space (in Europe) is tiny and not well laid out, so we are forced to be close to minimalism in our lifestyle through the limited physical space. After 5 years of regular, thorough purging, I can *almost* see the light at the end of the tunnel. But since we were already very decluttered before we moved here (brought one desk and our clothes) I have to say that another reason for hiring an organiser would be the teeny-tiny living spaces that are becoming the norm. I'd love an expert to be able to reconfigure the physical space so it would be more functional.

Of course if I had tons of money I'd gut the place and have floor-to ceiling built-ins, but that's an unreasonable investment in a rental!

August 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDebra

Debra- Thank you for bringing another idea to the conversation. Hiring an organizer to do some space planning is another reason to enlist help. From your response, I can see that you know what you'd like to do to make your space function better (floor to ceiling built-ins.) You're right that it doesn't make sense to do built-ins if you're renting. However, you're on to a thought process that might work for you. Take a look at the available vertical space. There are ways to use the wall space for hanging organizers, free-standing shelving etc... that could come with you in your next move. Here's a link to my Pinterest board featuring organizing ideas: Maybe you'll see something here to spark some creative, removable organizing solutions that use the vertical wall space.

I admire your ability to live minimally. Moving is one way that forces us to pare down to the essentials. Congratulations on your consistent efforts. Keep me posted.

August 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

LInda, You've done it again! A great top ten list that I'll be sharing with new organizers every chance I get. You're a fabulous resource!

August 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGeralin Thomas

Thanks so much, Geralin! I'm happy to know that you like this list and that you'll be sharing it with others. Wonderful, wonderful! You're a great resource too.

Congratulations on your LA Organizing Awards nomination for expert in chronic disorganization. That's a great honor and well deserved. Wishing you all the best.

August 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

I totally agree with Margarita! This is an outstanding blog post!

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Thank you, Janet. You're such a wonderful, supportive person. I appreciate what you add to all the conversations whether they are on the blog, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ or elsewhere.

August 31, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Thank you, Linda!

September 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Thanks, Linda, for breaking it down like this, I never thought about it in these categories like this, but I can only think of one client who contacted me for reasons other than this (he wanted me to help him get organized with getting his invention funded for production), but that client was an extreme exception to these categories.

September 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTracy K. Pierce

That's so cool, Tracy! That's what I love about the work we do. We get to work with such creative people on a wide range of interesting projects and situations. Thank you for sharing the great addition to the list. As always, it's wonderful to hear from you.

September 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

"I’m organized, but my spouse is not. It’s making me crazy, and I don’t know what to do!”. That's now i struggle for. So what is the solution anyway?

October 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoel

Hi Joel-

Thank you for joining the conversation and sharing your organizing challenge. I've been helping clients get organized for almost 20 years. The situation you are describing is one of the most common ones I encounter. And while I know you'd like a quick answer/solution, there isn't one. I can give you a few first steps, though.

1. Recognize that people will not change unless they want to change. All relationships require compromise. Is your spouse bothered by disorganization? Is she willing to reach out for help? Those are the first two important questions to ask.

2. Think about establishing personal and community zones in your home. In the personal zones, each person can keep them as they like. In the community zones, that's where the compromise takes place. We all have varying degrees of clutter/organizational tolerances. It's in those differences that tension occurs. Look for ways to each move closer to the middle.

I have many more post about this topic in the "Too Much Clutter" section on the blog. One post in particular you might want to look at is called, "What's Your Clutter Tolerance?" Here's the link:

October 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

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