Whats keeping you from getting organized

Well, it’s already a few months into the New Year and you've been thinking about that resolution to get organized this year. So, how are you doing? Not there yet? Well, what's keeping you from getting ORGANIZED?
Do any of these 5 common hindrances to getting organized apply to you?


If you are getting organized just for the sake of being organized you'll never achieve your goal. You need to have a BIGGER goal. Perhaps you want "to simplify your life"? That’s great. Now get more specific. How would being organized simplify your life? Or maybe your goal is "to save money." How would being organized save you money? Or maybe your goal is to have a welcoming and comfortable home for entertaining friends. How would being organized make your home more welcoming and comfortable? Take some time to identify your primary reason (s) for wanting to be organized. How will your life and or home be different/better if you achieve this goal? Is that difference important enough to you to MOTIVATE you to do what it takes to achieve this goal?


We need to be careful about the statements we make about "things" that imply they have a life of their own and we can't CONTROL them. The mound of laundry does not keep growing. You keep putting off doing the laundry until it is an overwhelming mound. Those papers do not keep piling up. You keep piling up those papers. It is equally easy to blame OTHERS in your household for the disorganization "My kids never put their stuff away." Whereas part of your job as a parent is to make sure they own a reasonable number of things, have a clearly designated place for their things, assign them the duty of putting their things away, make it worth their while to do so (we all respond well to rewards) and follow-up to make sure they put their things away. If your spouse is disorganized and does not see a need to change, negotiate areas of the home for organizing your personal things that are separate from his things so that you can function in an organized manner even if your spouse is not yet ready to share in your goal.


You will never be able to create new organizational SYSTEMS without first dealing with your CLUTTER. That pile of old newspapers, last year’s school schedules, the empty shoeboxes, the broken computer monitor, and the empty paint cans…. All this clutter needs to be removed from your home. Try to spend at least 5 minutes a day getting rid of the clutter that has accumulated in your home, or have a clutter contest with the family. Give family members an empty box or garbage bag and assign them to their personal area of the home. The family member who parts with the most clutter wins. The loser gets to dispose of all the bags of clutter. With the clutter cleared out, it will be easier to see what you have that is of value. Once your home is de-cluttered, be vigilant about disposing of incoming clutter on a regular basis.


In North America today it’s all too easy to ACQUIRE things but we don’t let go of things nearly as effortlessly as we bring them in. We all keep far more things than we need. But the reality is that any given space can only adequately hold a certain number of things. You need to be ready to part with the things you no longer use or need. Purging your closet of old clothes you no longer wear is the first step to an organized closet. Paring down your music or book collection may be necessary to make room for newer acquisitions. Disposing of furniture that is no longer serving a useful function in your home will allow you to re-organize the remaining furniture. None of us intend to hoard things, but all of us are prone to hanging on to things that we no longer need "just in case" or because "it’s still good." Pass along the "good" things you aren’t using to others who could use them. Learn to share. The reality is, there’ll always be MORE coming in. Once your home is purged of the excess, apply a one-in, one-out rule. If you purchase a new pair of shoes, get rid of a pair. If you buy a new book, give away one you no longer read and so forth.


In order to reach any goal, you must look at where you are now, at where you are going, and plan specific and realistic STEPS to reach your goal. Decluttering takes time. Sorting through your stuff takes mental energy. Hauling stuff away to donate or holding a garage sale or even passing things off to your friends, is an effort. Dealing with the things left, takes thought and energy. If getting organized is a priority for you, you need to make TIME for it. It can be 15 min. a day, a few hours a week, one weekend per month or a weeklong extravaganza. You also need an action plan. Will you start with the easiest room or the hardest? Will you tackle this job alone or recruit the help of others? Will you create your own plan, follow a book, or hire a professional? Whatever your plan, make sure you have one, you make time to implement it and you follow through until you reach your goal.


There are hundreds of good reasons for getting organized, but the most important reason is YOURS. Make this the year that you finally achieve your goal.


Disorganization is a hallmark symptom of ADHD … and therefore many of my clients may have ADHD whether they know/admit it or not. I have some background with this condition and can recognize it. I will often approach the subject of ADD with my organizing clients. I will mention it to if I see symptoms. If you are interested in discussing it further or exploring the possibility, I have resources to share with you. I can do so much good if I am able to help clients to become aware that they may have a biological reason why they struggle with disorganization. I have helped many clients get an ADD diagnosis … they have gone from thinking they are just "lazy, crazy or stupid" to realizing they are actually very intelligent and have just had to work very hard to compensate for neurology that is working against them in the organizing realm!

One of my favorite quotes about ADHD is: "It is not an issue of knowing what to do, it is an issue of doing what you know". I am in a great position to help people do what they know.

National Pack Rat Day is May 17th

A new national survey conducted by Smead discovered some interesting facts about our tendencies to hang on to things. Here are some highlights:

  • 30% of Americans are holding on to things because of the economy
  • 56% of us don't like to throw things away, or don't know what to throw
  • 70% of the nation needs help being organized

Cynthia Braun is a certified professional organizer for Nassau County, New York