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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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« Ask the Expert: April Lane Benson, Ph.D. | Doing It All Yourself...Or Not! »

Dreams Need Help Too

We all have dreams, don’t we? One of mine, which has taken almost a decade to realize, has recently come to fruition. My office area was transformed from a crazy hodgepodge of furniture to a beautifully designed space that was created and organized just for me. Guess what? It didn’t happen quickly or on it’s own. I needed lots of help along the way. It was a learning process, which included patience, persistence, creativity, and other people. To all the fellow goal chasers and dream seekers, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Which “help” tips resonate with you? Who and what have helped you in pursuit of your dreams? There were some things that helped me. Read on and then join our conversation.


Dreams Need Help – 8 Tips 

1. Dream Help

Having someone to support, expand, mull over and tweak your dream is essential. We all need at least one dream buddy to share our journey with. My dreaming partner was my wonderful husband, Steve. He encouraged me to own the dream and not limit my thinking.


2. Letting Go Help

In preparation for my new space, I needed to review and edit my office contents. Letting go of some physical items was part of this process. As a professional organizer, I’m good at asking others those classic letting go questions like, “Do you want it?” or When was the last time you used it?” or “Is it worth the real estate, energy and maintenance?” However, I found it helpful when someone else (such as my husband or daughter) posed the questions to me. Hearing the questions out loud by an objective person helped me be more decisive and enabled me to let go of the unessential.


3. Design Help

Putting specifics to my dream meant that I first needed to understand how I wanted my office space to look and feel. Words at the top of the list included purple, sparkly, organized, happy, fun, spacious, and calm. I perused my Pinterest boards (particularly Oh, So Luscious Color!, Oh, So Colorful Spaces!, and Oh, So Organized Office!) for visual inspiration. My husband listened to my ideas, incorporated them into the design, made best use of the space, created lovely three-dimensional drawings, and helped me select materials and colors. When everything was installed, the family agreed that it was truly a “Linda space.”


4. Heavy Lifting Help

Some dreams require brawn. Mine sure did. I needed physical help with manufacturing, disassembling my office, moving furniture, and installing the new cabinets and countertop. I could not have done this without the muscle team who included Steve, Nick, Allison, and some talented vendors. Thank you.


5. Patience Help

Patience was mostly an inside job. I had to help myself or rather, remind myself that all things worth doing, take time. They will and can get done, but adjustments for when they happen will be necessary. It’s the when that can be most trying when pursuing a dream.


6. Discomfort Help

I’m not proud to admit this, but I was extremely out of sorts during the twelve days when we had to disassemble my office and temporarily relocate it to the living room. This gave me an entirely new appreciation of what my clients experience on a regular basis. It feels terrible when our environment doesn’t support us. My living and working areas were in disarray, which made it extremely challenging to function and focus. Fortunately, my family was there to help me navigate being uncomfortable by encouraging a positive perspective and keeping me focused on the goal. My husband gently reminded me that, “The chaos is only going to last a short while.” My daughter, Allison used a different yet equally effective approach. She said, “Mom, change and chaos are good for you.”

7. Organizing Help

It was joyful being my own client and organizing my new space. Before organizing “stuff” back into the office, I appreciated the emptiness of the space. I felt calm seeing the clear surfaces that had almost no visual noise. As I put things away, I was selective about what deserved a “home.” Only what I loved and used most returned. I’m still deciding the fate of the many small toys (imagine miniature Mr. Potato Head or glitter-covered Eifel Tower) that have always been part of my office decor. A few toys have returned. Before more come back, I’m waiting to see how the space feels with less.


8. Cheerleading Help

Family and friends provided lots of encouragement along the way. The high fives, ooohs and aahhhs, and “it’s going to be great,” helped me to stay vision-focused and excited. When it was time to select cabinet knobs, I created a quick survey on Facebook. People weighed in on their favorite knob option. The feedback was wonderful. I am grateful for the many cheerleaders along the way. Special heartfelt thanks go to Steve, Allison, Cassie, Mom, Yota, Peggy, and Elisa for their extra enthusiasm and support.


My space is no longer just an office. It’s now a well-designed place for possibilities, creativity, problem solving, thinking, planning, writing, teaching, communicating, and being. Thank you to all those that helped nurture and encourage my dream.

What has your experience been when pursuing a dream? Did you go it alone? Did you enlist help from others? I look forward to hearing your thoughts.





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Reader Comments (32)

Love this when we can share that we organizers need help too! What resonates with me is the Design Help and the Heavy Lifting Help. I tell my clients, "please don't ask me to pick a color to paint a wall." I know that I like but I need help finding it! And of course moving and lifting require someone else at the other end of the furniture. Congratulations on creating a beautiful and functional workspace!

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

Wow, Linda..truly inspirational! As I continually am working this home office concept--with a family that is coming and going (college/adult children and still one in HS) My office has taken many shapes and forms. When I look at your space, and read through your entry..there must have been a season where you decided--I AM going to dedicate this space , or I AM going to invest time and $$$ in my office space....and you must have made a resolve of sorts. I am not there yet--but will be as my business succeeds..I'd love to hear how that conversation in your head went.....all the best--your office looks magnificent!

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJaneen Violante

Would I sound silly if I started with . . .WOW!!! What a fabulous space! It even comes with a matching outfit that gives you that extra "Linda sparkle!" As if that megawatt smile wasn't enough:-)))
It makes me giddy just thinking of you; sitting there and weaving all sorts of possibilities for you and the fortunate clients of yours. Who says space doesn't matter? It always does. And . . . I believe that our space is the physical manifestation of our inner make up - at any given moment.
I am not sure if I shared this when we last saw each other, but having my own space is something I've struggled with over the years. A couple of months ago while talking to a friend about my ups and downs with office space, he challenged me to think "big" and go for it. So I did and that's when I realized that it was my fear holding me back. Three weeks ago I started the process for creating a permanent base and a home office.
There must be something in the stars, urging us forward, and holding us to a higher standard, don't you think? I like believing this. The fulfillment of time . . . when everything falls into place, we are ripe for the next step, and off we go!
Thank you for sharing your process! Hugs

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterYota Schneider

Linda, it's beautiful! I love that you turned your office transformation into a learning experience for your readers. And I think the new perspective gained by your new office will be incredibly energizing for you.

I'm going to love envisioning your leading ICD from that wonderful purple, sparkly space!

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanine Adams

Help can be so vital, especially when a dream encounters a stumbling block! That's when help can swoop in, keep you focused and motivated and keep the dream from dying an ugly death:) Great article, and enjoy that gorgeous space!!

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

Thank you all for stopping by to share. I can feel all your warmth and wonderfulness coming through loudly and clearly. What a group!

@Ellen- What a wonderful idea about needing "someone else on the other end" to help with our "lifting." And isn't that often the case, even if it's NOT furniture we're lifting? Remembering that help is not a dirty word is essential.

@Janeen- I completely relate to the comings and goings of the family, as these years have been exactly that. And you're so right that there was "a season" when I decided to invest the time, energy, and funds to create this space. I wrote more about that here...

@Yota- Of course I remember our conversation about your "space pursuits." It's so easy to just make due. And sometimes that's what is required. But when those "stars" align, isn't it wonderful what happens? Hugs back, my friend.

@Janine- Love your word choice! "Energizing" is a perfect way to describe how it feels to be in this space, surrounded by my purples, sparkles and places for all that's essential. Clear space. Clear thoughts. We can dream, can't we?

@Seana- You're so right that enlisting help is "vital" to breathing life and momentum into our dreams.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels


Wow!!! What a beautiful new office space.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterVickie Dellaquila


Your new office is looking great!! And you touched on several great tips about receiving help to make a dream come true! Support from friends and family as well as the "professionals" is certainly a major plus for all of us who have dreams and goals to attain! Love how you included the glittery toys to remind you to have fun while working and the color of your office is a welcome and vibrant change from the usual drab greys that I see often in other offices! Now you're inspiring me to get my own little office fixed up! ;-)


August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterElisa Macomber

No suprise you like sparklely as that would be a word I'd use to describe you. Great post and love the space for you.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLisa Schlesinger

Wow! It is beautiful. But more importantly it screams Linda. In all her lovely, sparkly, intelligence, creative ways! Here's to being inspired!!

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Josel

I love how you say your office is, "now a well-designed space for possibilities." Enjoy your new creative space, Linda! It's beautiful.

August 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Agin Murray

Great to "hear" your fabulous voices! I'm so happy that you stopped by to weigh in on the dream and help conversation.

@Vickie- Thanks so much. Love the extra exclamation points.

@Elisa- Definitely wanted elements of fun and vibrancy in my work space. I had light colored surfaces before this and felt it was time to be surrounded by saturated color. Can't wait to see the changes you feel inspired to make. Go for it!

@Lisa- Aww. You brought a big smile to my face. Thank you.

@Leslie- Love your word choice, "screams Linda." That's got potential for an interesting Pinterest board collection, doesn't it? Wheels are turning...

@Stacey- Thanks so much. Am following your instructions..."enjoy your new creative space." Still getting settled in, but am loving it.

August 13, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Linda, your new space looks so inspiring! I know how agonizing it can be to be in disarray. I went through the same when having my apartment repainted recently. And of course I blogged about it, too! How wonderful to have support and help from your lovely family. I expect many great things to emerge from such a calm and beautiful space.

August 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharon Lowenheim

Hi Sharon- I can only imagine how you must have felt having your entire home painted and pulled apart during the process. Am guessing that you are enjoying the beautiful results. Temporary inconvenience and agitation are usually worth it when the outcome yields a positive change. I'd love to read the post you wrote about your experience. Please share the link.

I appreciate your good wishes of support. I am definitely looking forward to the creative juices that will flow more freely in my new space.

August 14, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Congratulations on your lovely new workspace, and thanks for sharing the process of how you achieved it. I know I`ll be happier in my office with a smaller desk that doesn`t take up so much room, but you`ve got me thinking instead of just replacing the desk, maybe I should look at everything that's needed to make it MY wonderful place, and create a step-by-step plan to make it happen.

August 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Janet- I'm excited that this post has encouraged "possibility thinking." It is always possible to make minor adjustments to improve things, be it our spaces, schedules, systems, relationships etc... But taking that big step back to imagine the possibilities for not just minor, but major changes is something complelely different. I encourage you to think big first and see what happens. It took me a long time not just to design and build my space, but also to decide that I should even do it. I limited myself and my thinking too long. Enjoy what transpires when you go for the "what ifs." Keep me posted.

August 15, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

Congratulations, Linda! The space is beautiful. Even though I love purple myself, you are the first person I think of when I see purple and think, "Wow, how beautiful is that?"

What strikes me the most is how you let go of your for comfort of a functional, supportive space for the twelve days to reach your goal of your new space. THAT is a great illustration of courage to me.

I am so, so happy for you.

August 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Hale

Congrats on the "oh so gorgeous office!" I never saw the old space, but this is what I envisioned all along. All things sparkly, purple, and organized make you joyful, and happy spaces are always inspiring. Surely, a great opportunity for new and creative ideas to cultivate. Congrats on the new diggs!

August 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Borg

Making an adjustment is always difficult especially for me but the most important thing is that they need to done for the betterment of your home decoration and design and that's what I also got to know from the same here.

August 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

Wonderful to hear from all of you! I'm so glad that you stopped by to join the conversation.

@Susan- Always great to know another purple lover. It's a color that I've been drawn to since I was very young. You chose an interesting word, "courage," to describe my twelve days of displacement. I hadn't thought of it like that, but appreciate your perspective. When we do something different, there will be a period where we have to trust that different or better or new will be worth the discomfort.

@Nancy- Thank you for your words of support and enthusiasm. In my effort to clear out my office, I neglected to take actual before shots, which is why they don't appear in this post. You can see a partial glimpse of the before (see above #6 Discomfort Help.) While that isn't where one of my desks was located, you can see what my computer desk looked like...most notably, an inadequate work surface. However, at this point, I'm happier to turn my focus to what IS rather than what WAS. As you said, "happy spaces are always inspiring."

@Natalie- You said it! Making adjustments are challenging. Even when the status quo isn't great, we derive a certain comfort in it's familiarity. When we are willing to step outside our comfort zone, be inconvenienced, and dream a little, great things can transpire. It sounds like you've experienced that too. Wonderful!

August 19, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Excellent post and congratulations on your new and improved work space in purple no less. Fab!!! I love your always-positive and open approach to your blog. We all learn a lot from you.

August 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlys Milner

Alys- Thank you so much for your good wishes, support, and positive feedback. One of the things I love most about the blog is learning from all of you. I'm happy to provide a venue that we can share our stories, strategies, struggles, and successes. I appreciate that you're part of this community.

August 19, 2013 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Hi, I enjoyed this very much. I too, feel that it is great for organizers to really admit that we need help with our spaces. People think we are so strong and can do everything, but in reality, we are just like everyone else, we need help too and we can get stuck in a rut in our spaces. Your post is very creative. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your experiences.

March 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina

Sabrina- What is it we say? Organizers are people too! You made me smile. It's true that often others think that because we're an organizer, we don't have any challenges, but it just isn't so. We are human. And humans aren't perfect (thank goodness!) Thanks for stopping by to join the conversation. I'm working in my office as I type this to you. I'm still enjoying my area….so much so that sometimes it's hard to pull away.

March 14, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

A wonderful post, Linda, and thank you for sharing it with me. You are right i needed a "Jill" space and i am on my way to achieving it. The change in my attitude in just over a week has been amazing.

June 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

@Jill- I'm so happy for you that you now have a "Jill space" in the making. I love how in just one week your perspective and attitude has done an 180 degree turnaround. I can only imagine all the great things that will continue to transpire for you. Way to go, Jill!!!

June 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Samuels

I love the colour and would love to have space like that. I hope your office space continues to inspire you. It is really interesting to be on this side of organizing/renovating. It is truly beautiful.

April 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKim

@Kim- I'm so glad that you like the color and space. I appreciate it every day and still love it. And sure IS interesting to be on the other side of organizing. It gives me a totally different perspective and appreciation of the work we do and how we support our clients.

April 18, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Beautiful office. So sleek! Often people use discarded furniture from other parts of the home (like you said) for their home office, But if you spend a lot of time in your office, it should reflex it's importance.

April 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Schiesl

@Janet- Thank you so much. It's so easy to prioritize everyone else's needs over our own. I'm guilty as charged. However, when we finally decided it was time to make this office makeover the top priority, I was so happy. And have been ever since. It's easy to get used to things as they are, even if they aren't good. But when you create a space that is just right, it's an incredibly great feeling. It's easier to be happy, creative and productive in my space.

April 19, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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