How to Improve Life Balance When Organizing Your Stuff
Monday, December 4, 2017 at 7:02AM
Linda Samuels in Life Balance, balance, change, emotions, gratitude, help, home, laughter, love, moment, organizing, project, time

You may wonder why life balance is an issue when you’re organizing. Very simply, organizing your life or taking on even a single organizing project will have an influence on how your time gets allocated. Thoughts about and engagement in the organizing project can become time consuming, which can result in feeling out of balance. In addition, some organizing projects are highly emotional, like when you’re sorting through objects to which you have strong sentimental attachments. This can throw your balance off even further. Finding anchors along the way can help improve your sense of balance.

Over the recent weeks, I’ve been sharing with you my journey about clearing, organizing and getting our childhood home of 56+ years ready for sale. After several months of work, it will go on the market this week. In previous posts, I’ve shared that this journey has been highly emotional. I’ve reviewed, discovered and let go of a lot of stuff. There have been tears and laughter. There have been found treasures that have lifted my sprits and stabilized me along the way.

This week I’m focusing on connections and how threads from the past helped me understand and find gratitude in the present. These gifts from another time appeared just when I needed them most.



Balance in Continuity

The day I was sorting and organizing my Mom’s dresser, I discovered the round, plastic box shown in this photo. Inside was a man’s watch along with a note written by my mother over 30 years ago. She wrote,

“Papa Moishe’s watch in Nana Stell’s powder box – She kept this in her top vanity drawer after he died. I took it with me when I packed up her house to close it when she died.” 

I read that note and burst into tears. The watch was my grandfathers and the vanity that my mom referred to was my grandmother’s, which I have in my bedroom. I helped my mom close up my grandparent’s house. Now decades later, I am doing this for my parents. Finding this treasure helped me that day. In the intensity of the project, this discovery was a message of connection to the past and encouragement of the present. It felt like my mom and grandparents were right there with me providing love, support, and some momentary balance.



Balance in Change

This is one of my Dad’s sketches. It’s the “green monster,” a cabinet that he built in 1950, the year my parents got married. Next to the sketch are some notes written by my mom about the cabinet’s history. It was a simply built plywood piece that kept morphing and changing as the family grew. The cabinet was painted many times. Details like curtains, hooks, and cushions were added and subtracted even more times. The family always called it the green monster because it was originally painted green. My first memory of it was as a baby when it was my pink changing table. In addition to what my mom documented on the note, the green monster was also used as an orange stereo cabinet in my first apartment in Boston and moved with me after college when I lived in Manhattan. When I got married, it moved to our loft in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. That was it’s last home before as mom said, it went “out to pasture.” Remembering the green monster, its journey, and final departure helped me process my feelings about the family home. Like the green monster, our childhood home has been a character in our lives that we have to let go of. Our memories of the wonderful, loving times shared there will remain. The green monster sketch and notes were all about change. I found comfort in that. Things aren’t meant to remain the same. Somewhere in that message, I felt some balance being restored.



Balance in Love

I adored my grandmother, Nana Stell. I was lucky to have her in my life up until I was a young adult. We were close. What I hadn’t remembered was that we were always close. This was one of the lovely treasures I found during one of the memorabilia organizing days. I came across this photo of 13-months old me, sitting at a table while drinking a bottle. My hand rests gently on someone’s arm. I turned over the photo and saw my grandmother’s writing, which said,

“Linda suddenly decided her ‘Nana’ was quite OK and constantly begged to stay in my arms. Here, having her breakfast, she suddenly realizes I’m near and reaches over to touch me. What a precious interchange of trust and love.”

I was so grateful that my grandmother took the time to appreciate and write about that moment. In discovering it, I was able to do the same, feeling our connection even though my Nana was long gone. It felt like I was reaching through time to feel her love and support at a time when I needed it most.


When you think about tumultuous points in the organizing process or at any time in life, what anchors help you to restore your balance? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join our conversation!





Article originally appeared on The Other Side of Organized by Linda Samuels (
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