Falling in Love With Organizing

Hearts hung up with clothespins. Falling in love with organizing.
Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

Once again, the middle of February is approaching, accompanied by countless nods to falling in love. I am a big fan of love and wish everyone love in their lives. Love can manifest in a multitude of ways, such as ardor for a partner, care for a friend, affection for a child/parent, gratitude for a caretaker/care receiver, and fondness for a pet. Love can also be a word we use to describe experiences, careers, vacation destinations, and food, among other things. Personally, I love working as a professional organizer, and helping others to fall in love with organizing. In a world where chaos and unpredictability seem more the rule than the exception, I truly believe that organizing, and it’s associated rhythm and order, can provide both respite and refuge.

Have you fallen in love with organizing?

Would you like to?

Being organized isn’t magic. Living an organized life requires a willingness to establish systems for daily living, and then faithfully sticking to them. What kinds of things do we need systems for?

Daily routine
  • When will I aim to wake up and go to sleep?
  • When and (generally) what will I eat?
  • When will I exercise/pray/meditate, if at all?
  • When will I work, and when will I be “off duty?” (I know this can be a tough one!)
  • What do I use, need, and/or love? (See more about what to keep here)
  • Where will I store the items that I choose to keep? (For help on putting things away, click here)
  • When will I put my belongings away each day, i.e., “reset” my space? (Yes, I said each day)
  • How will I process (e.g., unpack, assign a home, put away) new items that I bring in?
  • How will I remove items that I no longer want? (Click here for my Youtube™ tips for donating items.)
  • Where do I need to show up (virtually and/or in person) and when?
  • What potential conflicts might I need to manage?
  • What time do I have today to deal with unexpected developments?
  • What will I do if I run out of time?
  • What tasks must I do today, and when will I do them?
  • What tasks would I like to do today?
  • What “next step” can I take on a large project?
  • What task needs to get done but I feel like I can’t do it?

These are only examples, but you can see that organizing is all about adding structure, both physical and mental, to the various aspects of our lives. It is like creating a funnel through which the complexities of life get managed. When we lack systems, it is like showing up for a game that we don’t know how to play. When we know the rules of the game, we may still have to think, train, and work hard, but at least we have a general overview of what is going on.

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Still not falling in love with organizing?

Sometimes love is less of a feeling and more of a choice. I’m reminded of the song “Something That We Do” by Clint Black. Especially the closing lyric, “Love isn’t some place that we fall, it’s something that we do.”

In most situations, starting something new doesn’t feel like love. In fact, it can feel unfamiliar, uncomfortable, frustrating, and downright unpleasant. However, over time, if we choose to persevere, it isn’t long before we start to grow into our new reality; until what used to seem impossible starts to feel doable. Small successes start to add up, and we start reaping the rewards of our labors.

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Still not “feeling the love” for organizing? While I acknowledge that many people would rather stick needles in their eyes that clean out a closet, I must say that organizing has a plethora of benefits. Here are a few:

It’s free!

Whether you are planning your day or sorting through a box, the labor cost is simply your time. In terms of supplies, you may think you need to go to the Container Store® and buy expensive bins, but you don’t. Most people often have boxes/bins/binders/etc. lying around. Even if you need a few things, some of the most helpful items (e.g., clear plastic bins and cardboard banker boxes) are very affordable.

It adds zero calories!

In fact, cleaning out a big space may even burn a few. I’ve often laughed with clients about how many steps we are getting in as we work through a space.

It doesn’t depend on the weather!

You can organize a nice, air-conditioned space on a hot day or a warm room in the middle of a blizzard.

It makes you feel good!

Almost every decluttering project I work on results in at least one bag of items “to donate.” Knowing that you are equipping someone else in need is a great feeling and helps alleviate the guilt you may be feeling about having purchased too much stuff.

Hauling a bag of trash or recycling out to your bin, and then realizing the space you have freed up, can be a terrific mood booster.

Often, you come across items that you thought you had lost. How fun!

Preparing a daily plan makes you instantly feel more in control.

You get quick results!

I often tell clients “When you work out with a trainer it can take 3 months to see results. When you work with me, it only takes 3 hours!”  You can make a significant and satisfying impact in a short period of time.

It can be done with whatever time you have!

Even if you can’t set aside a whole weekend to clean out the garage, you can still make progress. I often encourage clients to clean out a kitchen drawer or a medicine chest when they have ½ hour. The smallest result can be terrifically rewarding.

It is empowering!

Knowing exactly where to find your belongings, and where to put them away when you are finished with them, gives you a sense of being on top of things and in control. Similarly, having a plan for your day and working your plan makes you feel productive and efficient.

*     *     *

I know that organizing may never seem as appealing as sitting on a beach, playing a round of golf, or feasting on your favorite dish. However, sometimes you end up loving something a lot more than you ever thought you would!

Are you “feeling the love” this year?

Seana's signature

20 thoughts on “Falling in Love With Organizing”

  1. As an organizer, I love the organizing process. To me it’s like solving a puzzle. After a session I’ll often say “Well, that was fun!” Sometimes my clients look at me like I am crazy, but they usually smile and reply that it felt good to have it done.
    Jonda Beattie recently posted…How Do We Spend Our Time?My Profile

  2. What a beautiful post acknowledging how love plays a part in lives in so many ways! It is the LOVE month, with my favorite holiday coming up this week.

    It’s so true how some of us love to organize and some, well, not so much. One of the things I enjoy most is when a client who doesn’t like organizing but wants to benefit transforms into loving the process. When that happens, resistance and ambivalence often melt away too. It’s not anything that can be forced to occur, but it’s beautiful when it does.

    Your questions about adding consistency and structure are wonderful! What great guides to move forward.

    1. I love Valentine’s Day and love as well. I always tried to make it a fun day for my family, including my children, with things that had nothing to do with romance, but simply with loving one another.

      I agree that seeing people come to view the organizing process as a positive is a thrill. When I get to that point where a client is looking forward to our sessions, especially when I know they began with apprehension and even anxiety, is such a win!

      May abundant love surround you and yours this week!

    1. I completely agree, Sabrina. When I get stress, I start cleaning out a closet. I often tell my family that they need to keep the common areas tidy because this helps keep me calm (and correspondingly, if they don’t, the I am more likely to be stressed out).

      When you love any process that facilitates a bit of control in a chaotic world, I think this is a win.

    1. I definitely agree that the process builds momentum. Feeling victory in any area of life often breeds the desire to try a bit more. It can be so rewarding and energizing!

    1. So much of what we do is a choice, not a result of “motivation” or “desire.” In some realms, this is so obvious (e.g., we feed our children when they are hungry, even if it is giving us sore boobs!). In others, we tend to use feelings as an excuse not to act. Sometimes, the action precedes the feeling, right?

  3. I love the humourous nature of the post. The benefits, it is free and it has no calories. Those are two of the biggest concern for people, price and calories. It is true that you may not love organizing at the beginning until you see that are really giving yourself a gift, a great life. I love the opening paragraph defining love. It does manifest itself in so many ways. Giving love and gifts to ourselves is important.
    Julie Stobbe recently posted…Building your perfect custom closet: 5 Steps to considerMy Profile

    1. Love is such a small word with such wide and vast meanings. Everyone deserves love. Sometimes, loving a behavior or action begins with a decision to do so, and proceeds from there. Organizing, and living an organized life, truly is a way to show love to ourselves and to those who share our space.

  4. I love love this Seana! I also love organizing and find it fun to do which not a lot of clients agree on and yes they might look at me with one of those looks too. So many people do anything to get out of doing the work/fun of organizing. There are so many benefits to organizing and decluttering.
    Kim recently posted…The Rise of TrinketizationMy Profile

  5. Girlfriend, I am feeling the love! Right now, I’m reading Isabel Gillies’ book Cozy: The Art of aRranging Yourself in the World, and while the overarching theme isn’t organizing, nonetheless organizing comes up over and over. From participating in hobbies (where one’s crafting tools must be accessible) to travel (and creating soothing systems to make the experience easy) to developing a kitchen at the heart of a home, there is love (for one’s self, for one’s family, for the people around you) imbued in each aspect of organizing a secure, cozy world. Organizing is effortful, and while limerance just happens to us, love (and what we build from love, from couples to families to friendships) takes effort, too. But love is more valuable than limerence, and being truly organized means more than just looking/seeming tidy. You’re right that it’s “free” (and all of the other fun benefits you reference) but it’s also NOT free, because the effort is what makes it valuable.
    Julie Bestry recently posted…Paper Doll Presents 4 Stellar Organizing & Productivity ResourcesMy Profile

    1. Wow, that sounds like a terrific book!

      Your point about the effort being part of the “cost” is valid. However, we put a lot of effort into many things we love and don’t feel like it is costing us, right?

      Limerance – what a word! I love learning new words, so that add that to my list of Valentine’s Day wins. 🙂

  6. I have become a convert. It is freeing-less is often better! I have to get better at using a half hour
    of time to do just a small area. I tend to feel I need to have long periods of time to do something but that’s not true. I have lots of small drawers. Think I’ll do one right now!

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