Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Organized…for Life

As I write my last column for the News of Delaware County, I am reminded of the main challenge that many of my clients face as they approach organizing their space: maintaining their organization systems throughout the years. By the time I meet them, many clients have already tried several systems and have been frustrated with the results. Many clients had childhoods full of bad habits and had been labeled “messy” since as far as they could remember. If these clients truly wish to break the pattern—to take control of their time and their space for the rest of their lives—I often give them these suggestions.

Have a goal. This one may look familiar. I have used this tip in many of my organizing columns. If you have a clear goal for how to improve your life, you can visualize how you want your life to be, feel, look. Then you can take small steps to achieve your vision. Write down your goal and post it, paint it, embroider it, write it in lipstick on your mirror—whatever reminds you that you are taking control of your life from this point on.

Find systems that work for you. My columns have included many different ways to make your life easier. You don’t have to do all of them. I repeat: you don’t have to do all of them. Discover a balance between challenging yourself to improve your life and creating routines that work for you. Depending on your life—your job, your health, your family, your house—it may be impossible to do everything “right.” You are going to have to let some things go. Remind yourself of your goal, choose the most important tasks or rooms or meetings, and change your systems if they don’t work. My March 2011 column (“Just For You: How to Create Your Custom Organizing System”) can walk you through this process. 

“Get back on the horse.” Every one of us has had points in our lives where we fell out of habits. Whether it was due to an emergency or simply malaise, we neglected the steps we committed to doing to make ourselves legitimately happy. When this happens—for a week, a day, even a year—it is important to remember the overall goal of a better life. Then brush yourself off, get up, and get going again.

Get help. Read. Attend workshops. Call a friend. Call a professional. If you don’t know where to begin, there are a lot of people out there who can help you start. My July 2009 column entitled “Summer Reading” gives you some fantastic organizing resources.

Overall, I encourage each of you to enjoy the journey to know yourself and to set your priorities. We each have only 24 hours a day—make your time your own. Assisting clients with these adventures, and seeing their transformations first hand, are why I love being a Professional Organizer.