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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.

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.

« What Are The Possibilities When You Clear Your "Space?" | What Does Organizing Success Look Like for You? »

5 Organizing Challenges and Proven Ways for How to Overcome Them

There are several organizing challenges that commonly occur with my clients. A few months ago, I had the pleasure of talking with my friend, John Hunt from Smead, about the top five organizing challenges and strategies for overcoming them. I’m thrilled to share these two podcasts with you. If you’re stuck or overwhelmed or know someone who is, keep reading. You’ll learn how to shift your perspective, engage new strategies and possibilities, and confidently take next action steps forward.


Top 5 Organizing Challenges . . .


Life transitions such as a move, new job, birth of a child, or loss of a loved one can create “situational” or temporary disorganization. Transitions can be overwhelming because they can involve something unfamiliar. Current organizing systems may no longer work and require adjustments. Watch the video (Part 1) to learn transition strategies like making a list of areas that need editing and organizing or recalling other past transitions that were successfully navigated.



While we live in a digital age, papers are still a big organizational challenge. Overstuffed and outdated files, unopened mail, and the management of paper can easily cause us to feel overwhelmed. Watch the video (Part 1) to learn paper management strategies including creation of a simple system to process incoming paper.

Organizing Challenges: Transitions and Paper, and How to Overcome Them (Part 1)


Linda Samuels' Smead interview with John Hunt - Part 1



Organizing can be more challenging especially when we have strong emotional attachments to our possessions. This can happen when we’re experiencing grief or loss. Decision-making can be more difficult making it harder to let go. Watch the video (Part 2) to hear about possible strategies, which include engaging the help of a supportive, non-judgmental friend, family member or professional organizer and allowing your belongings to have “safe passage.”



Organizing involves not just establishing workable systems, but also maintaining them. Maintenance is an often overlooked, yet integral part of the organizing process. Watch the video (Part 2) to learn some maintenance tips including building in regular daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly stopgaps.



Distractions interrupt our focus and frequently disrupt the organizing process. When organizing, we can focus on the future or past instead of the present. Watch the video (Part 2) to learn some mindfulness strategies including using “Full Circle Thinking”, where you purposefully pay attention and are mindful of what you’re doing while you’re doing it. Focus on one “circle” at a time until it’s complete such as “I’m opening the drawer and closing it.” Or, “I’m unlocking the door and placing my keys back in their home.”


Organizing Challenges: Emotions, Maintenance, Mindfulness, and How to Overcome Them (Part 2) 

Linda Samuels' Smead interview with John Hunt - Part 2


What is your top organizing challenge? Are there strategies that work for you? What are the possibilities? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation!





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Reader Comments (7)

I love interviews with John! Wonderful job:) I think that one of the key challenges can simply be starting. Transitions "force" the process, whether you are ready or not. The good news is that once you begin, if you experience positive outcomes, it can be very motivating. I think the mindfulness discussion is so helpful, especially when we are trying to recall where things are. If we are fully present every time we put something away (or down), we increase the odds of knowing where to find it. I believe we are only beginning to understand the cost of distraction.

October 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

@Seana- John is the best! He's such a brilliant interviewer and always is engaging to talk with. I love his questions. You make a great point about transitions...that they force the process with or without our readiness. But often that "force" is what motivates and moves us forward. And very often, those outcomes (as you said) are positive ones. Mindfulness is so sorely needed, especially these days where distractions are all too common and often costly in terms of relationships, productivity, and general well-being.

October 2, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I love your interviews with John, you always look like you are having such a great time, which makes it easier for people who are watching to connect to what you are saying. Transitions are a huge part of everyones lives.

October 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

Congratulations on your interview. I find that transitions are a major obstacle for me. But, I really enjoy breaking down the existing system and rebuilding a more effective one that is even more organized than before. It helps me feel more in control of the unknown.

October 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

Wonderful interviews, Linda! Transitions are very hard. Even though I moved 13 months ago and LOVE my new place there are some systems and habits that I find myself continually tweaking. This says to me that I haven't quite found what works best yet. I'm plugging away at it and am sure that this will sort out eventually. The key for me is to stay in the process - not allow the challenges to get the best of me.

October 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

It's easy for me to make decisions about new items, but I'm starting to notice that the longer I've had something, the more likely I am to hold onto it. A tricky area for me is remembering to ask if I STILL need something.

October 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

Wonderful to hear from all of you!

@Jill- Thanks so much. John is a great interviewer and you're right...I DO have a fun time talking with him. And I totally agree with you that transitions are a part of life. Sometimes they are smooth and sometimes they are bumpy.

@Sabrina- Thank you :). I used to have a really hard time with transitions. They still aren't my favorite, but I rely heavily on the past successes to help get me through. And as you said, they provide us with an opportunity to grow and build new systems for the new normal.

@Diane- It was SO great seeing you in St. Louis! And congratulations to you for running a fantastic conference AND for receiving Volunteer of the Year Award. So well deserved. I love your open, curious, and committed attitude regarding transitions. I'm sure all that tweaking will pay off.

@Janet- Ahhh. How interesting that you've identified one of your decision-making stumbling blocks. Time can make us MORE attached to our things. But as you so beautifully mentioned, it's all about the quality of the questions we bringing up the one you suggested about relevancy is a great one to use. The other one I like is, "Has it overstayed its welcome?"

October 3, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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