Sunday, July 15, 2007

"have you always been this organized?"

Yes. Eat your heart out.

(Just kidding - about the heart part, anyway.)

That's the one question I'm most often asked by clients (usually right after they've seen my organizing kit or my car's trunk). (The second most popular question: "Is my house the worst you've ever seen?")

(To which I'm inclined to want to answer (but don't): "Do you WANT it to be?")*

Yes, I've always been this organized. But that doesn't mean you can't be organized, too. There's a difference between being organized and being a professional organizer - and I'm here to help you with the former. Don't even worry about the latter.

Organization is a skill that can be taught, and even the most disorganized person can learn some basic tools to create and maintain more order in his or her life. So please don't feel defeated when you see people who seem to have their acts together, and admit to having been that way their whole lives. (This would include most professional organizers. We're a strange breed.)

You, too, can live an organized life. There is hope.

A good place to start is to spend some quiet time with yourself, thinking about the way you'd really like to live. Do you have a friend or acquaintance whose life you admire? When you look at pictures in books or magazines, what kinds of homes appeal to you? What kind of lifestyles make you feel truly good inside? Do you pine for a fast-paced, hectic life, or one that's mellower - more laidback?

Pay special attention to the things you yearn for. If we truly love something, we are more inclined to do the work necessary to manifest it. Beware of trying to create environments you feel you "should have" or "should want." Are you happy living in comfortable clutter? Maybe you don't even need to do anything about it. Only if your life is negatively affected by some aspect of your disorganization should you even consider making a change.

If you're convinced you really do want to change, consult with a professional organizer who can help you prioritize your needs and create your action plan. Based on your budget and your time frame, you can then begin to address your organizing challenges.

*I have to admit that that line is not original to me. I heard it from a breakout session speaker - an American professional organizer named Lynne Johnson, who specializes in helping the chronically disorganized - at last year's Professional Organizers in Canada conference in Toronto. She was a terrifically funny woman, with a deadpan delivery reminiscent of Ellen Degeneres.

copyright 2007, Michelle Lynne Goodfellow

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