Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Does Organizing Ever Get Easy?

The answer to this question is Yes and NO.

One way to talk about this is to compare organizing to getting fit. Right now I'm doing a daily strengthening routine.

I use high-tension resistance bands instead of free weights. Every morning I do a series of eight simple (but strenuous) exercises that work the main muscle groups of my body.

And today I noticed that the exercises were getting a little too easy. So I added another band to increase the tension. And now the exercises feel about has hard as they did a month ago.

Wouldn't it be great if we could just keep exercising at the same level forever but keep getting stronger and stronger?

Unfortunately life doesn't work that way.

And the principle is exactly the same with your organizing. 

Right now I'm putting the members of my Organizing Mastery Program through the paces: Making decisions, sorting papers, dividing possessions into yes / no / maybe, clearing surfaces, creating visual *bang,* and making a commitment to their organizing.

And although they've been in the program for only a few months, it seems much longer! Everyone is exercising organizing muscles that haven't moved much in a long time.

A few weeks from now they will be doing more challenging things such as clearing entire rooms, clearing important surfaces, filing all of their papers, emptying boxes and more.

And these actions won't seem as hard as the actions they're taking now.

I have to be careful not to be too easy on them or their organizing muscles will begin to atrophy and they'll find themselves avoiding organizing activities that are essential to their long term goal of getting and staying organized.

One of the biggest struggles people have when they really get into organizing is how long things seem to take.

Making those important decisions and creating a plan can take hours and hours spread over several weeks.

At this point, many people just want to give up. "After all, what's the use? This is just too darn hard!"

And then they get a compliment from someone... a spouse or a child, or an important relative (like a parent or a sibling).

And it hits just like the results of exercising hit me. "I'm getting stronger. I'm more flexible. My back doesn't hurt as much." Sure there are ups and downs, but the progress is real.

If you don't have a plan and don't take action you can expect your organizing results to be pretty much what they've always been. In fact, you'll get weaker, not stronger.

But if you take your intention to improve your life and add a regular organizing routine, slowly but surely you'll have solid evidence that organizing does in fact work.

Are you ready to take the first step? It's often the biggest one.

Have a terrific day!


If you're serious about developing an organizing routine and building your organizing muscles, often the first step is to gain the information so that you're working on the right organizing exercises. Until you know what to do it can be hard to make the commitment to take action.

Check out the SOS Organizing Program (where you will learn independently, on your own schedule), or the amazing Organizing Mastery Program (where you are guided through your organizing step-by-step).  Both programs contains everything you need to get your organizing going in the right direction.

Organizing is Boring!

I just started working again with a former client, Janet, who is the director of a small non-profit company in South Florida.  Janet called me because she has way too much clutter, not enough space or time, too many books, a full closet… (you know the deal).

We figured out the best method for Organizing was to start with her goals, decide where to start, draw a schematic, and begin working on one room or area at a time.  This is a tried and true method for a large organizing project, and my organizers have  done this very successfully for many, many years.

We start with the thinking (the plan); then we move into action.

The steps are simple: 

  • 1. Think. Think about the end result.  If everything were perfect, how would it be?   
  • 2. Plan. Create a plan.  Start with a simple schematic and plan on paper – before moving a single item.
  • 3. Act. Start with deliberate actions that move you in the direction of your organizing dreams. 

This is what I call the Direct Outreach Organizing Method. And because it doesn't entail jumping in and moving your things around first, it's not so brutal. Nevertheless, it takes many hours and decisions (After all, clutter IS postponed decisions!) to end up with an organized space.  It’s simple, but it’s not easy!

But a lot of people shy away from this Organizing method. 

Why? Because it takes an unusual amount of persistence and determination. It's a little like fishing. You show up at the fishing hole every day, spend an hour or two, and keep coming back day after day after day until you finally finish.  Until you land "the big one."

And many people give up on this kind of Organizing after a few weeks for several reasons: 

  • 1. The work can be repetitive and somewhat boring. 
  • 2. The work takes a long time, and sometimes you can’t see the end at first, you just feel like you are tirelessly working in a never-ending treadmill.
  • 3. It takes consciously moving in the right direction, towards your plan.  This means not veering off, getting distracted, or changing directions.  You have to stay the course. 

But when it comes down to it, most Organizing methods have the same challenges. Whether you are organizing your papers, your garage, your kitchen or your office, organizing take time, persistence and the ability to stick to it.

The good news is that this method can work if you have a plan; a complete, end-to-end system that has been tested and proven to work — if you follow the system.

I know, this is so darn boring! It is not exciting at all.

What we want to do it just the opposite. We want to implement some magical kind of Organizing *juju* and get huge wins!  Imagine perfectly cleaned off kitchen counters!  An office that you are proud to bring clients into!  Knowing where your papers are filed! Actually fitting your car into your garage!

I've been in business for over 25 years, and I've seen it happen over and over and over (click here to see before and after pictures!).

Yes, I've seen promises, magic formulas and silver bullets. What people usually want when they respond to pitches for these magic Organizing formulas is very little work for a high return.

The hype rarely matches the reality. When it comes down to it, all of these approaches to Organizing take more time than you realize, are technically complex and are quite difficult to implement. And sometimes they just don’t work.

I help my clients in a very different way. We identify the organizing methods that will work best for them, turn them into systems and then support them in implementing them — one boring step at a time.

But when our Organizing method ends up doubling or tripling someone's success in a few hours, it doesn't seem so boring after all.

Here's what I suggest you do: 

Study some reliable hands-on methods for Organizing your home or your office. Turn those methods into repeatable systems and persist until you get results. You may find the SOS Organizing Program a good place to start.

If you need extra hands-on help, you may find the Organizing Mastery Program a good place to start.

Have a wonderful day,


Do you have some disorganized friends in who have been trying magic formulas with little results? I invite you to turn them on to my work. It's all commonsense stuff that actually works. This past week I received a letter in the mail from one of my students. She said: "Thanks again for your work. You are like a silent partner/coach. Working with you has made the difference for me."