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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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What's the Most Important Key to Your Organizing Success?

To be fair, there are many elements that contribute to organizing success. In fact, I write about some of them in my article Top 10 Organizing Success Secrets. However, there is one aspect that is essential to the organizing process. Without it, there is no moving forward. With so many engaged members of this community that are professional organizers or pursuers of organization, I bet you’re guessing and wondering which “key” I’m thinking about. The most important action that contributes to your organizing success is letting go. Without the willingness, strategies, and ability to do that, it’s going to be pretty near impossible to experience the organizing success you’re looking for. 

Why is that? Organizing isn’t just about setting up systems, putting things in containers, and making things more accessible. It’s not just about re-arranging what you already have. Organizing is about assessing and creating an environment that supports who you are, how you live, and what you do. That happens only when you’re willing to let go of the things, ideas, habits, and behaviors that don’t support your goals and values.

Letting go is essential.

Just because it’s essential, doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. I know this from personal experience.

This past year I spent a lot of time letting go as I cleared out and prepared my parent’s home of 57 years for sale. It wasn’t easy sorting through all of the memories or letting go of the stuff. But in order to organize what remained, get the home ready for a new family, and move on, letting go had to happen. In the process, I learned a few things that I shared along the way on my blog. In addition, I had the opportunity to talk with my buddy, John Hunt from Smead about these ideas for the Keeping You Organized podcast.


In this 2-part series, we talked about the . . .

Ten Ways That I Learned to Let Go.


 Ten Ways That I Learned to Let Go: Part 1 - Linda Samuels



Ten Ways That I Learned to Let Go: Part 2 - Linda Samuels


What do you think is the most important key to your organizing success? Is letting go at the top of your list, or is there something else? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Come join the conversation!





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Reader Comments (12)

I have to agree with you! If you're not prepared to let go of certain things, you'll never have the space (whether physical or mental) for other things that may bring joy or value to your life.

September 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Janet- Letting go is the key to so many things...and organizing success is just one of them. If we keep collecting without being willing to edit, we'll "never have the space," as you said to make room for what we value most in our lives.

September 17, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

This is wonderful, Linda. Something that helps me in my organizing success is being open to new ideas, open to change my habits, and open to shifting my mindset. I'm working now with a client to create a complicated and involved filing system. In talking with him and listening to him talk through his thoughts he and I have constructed a system that never would have occurred to me. This new system will be successful for him because he and I were open to a new and unusual way to separate and organize his files.

September 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

@Diane- How lucky your client is to have your listening ear and willingness to be open and collaborative. I can only imagine how incredible this new filing system will be for him since it is set-up based on how he thinks. You so eloquently distilled your organizing success down to your ability to be "open." I love that!

September 17, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

This post reminds me of a quote I have on my vision board for this year: "Abundance is a process of letting go; that which is empty can receive." - Bryant H. McGill. It applies to so many things in our line of work. Stuff, yes, but also old perspectives, behaviors, and beliefs. I enjoyed reading this, and I'm looking forward to checking out the podcast as well!

September 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSara Skillen

Oh, Sara! I LOVE that quote. Thank you for sharing it. I am a quote collector and will add that one to my collection. It's just beautiful and so beautifully sums up the idea here. If we have too much going on, too many things blocking our path, how can we be ready for or open to growth and other possibilities?

September 17, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Wow... such a powerful point. We can't accept something new if our hands are tightly clenched around something old. Isn't it funny how we hold onto habits and items and beliefs, even when they are hurting us? Sometimes the first step is simply opening up our hands and seeing what is inside. We may not even realize what we've been carrying around! I love the folks at Smead and their willingness to chat with all of us and share the accumulated "best wisdom!"

September 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

@Seana- Oh, what a beautiful phrase you shared..." simply opening up our hands and seeing what is inside." I love that connection you made between holding on so tightly, gripping and opening up. It's great imagery. I'm with you 100% about our friends at Smead. They create opportunities for having dynamic conversations about all things related to organizing and life. It's quite the library of podcasts they've amassed.

P.S. I hope things are improving with your kitchen beverage cooler situation.

September 17, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I agree with you.

Letting go is very important in getting ready to part with items. When we are willing to let go, we must accept the other emotions that may rear its ugly head. By letting go, we give ourselves an opportunity to allow another thing/actions/events to happen in our lives. It takes courage but after we have done it, we start off fresh and clean and can move forward.

Thank you for the reminder.

September 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSabrina Quairoli

@Sabrina- Ahhh. Courage. You said it! It takes a lot of courage to let go and make space or room for change to happen. Letting go can be an emotional process. But as you said, allowing ourselves to feel what we need to feel and summon-up our courage, will make room for possibilities.

September 17, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Great post, Linda. I strongly believe that it's that letting go is also healing. Releasing was a therapy for me growing up and I feel like people do the opposite, which is add, to their lives when life gets hard. Releasing is healing and freeing.

September 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterElva Fonseca

@Elva- Thank you for sharing your experience with releasing. You added a valuable perspective to the conversation about the therapeutic aspect of letting go...and how continually adding without taking away can leave us overwhelmed, stressed, and anxious.

September 19, 2018 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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