I recently came across an ad from a fellow Professional Organizer in which someone had made a comment, "Why would anyone need this program? All you have to do is take the things that cause clutter and throw them away!"
In this particular instance, I couldn't let the comment go because I wanted anyone who saw this post and comment to realize it's NOT always just that simple AND there is no need to experience shame if being organized doesn't come naturally to them.
Not Everyone Can Easily Let Go of Clutter
There's a lot of emotion tied to the stuff we have. Sometimes there's fear that you won't be able to replace something if you toss it. Sometimes there's a hesitancy to let it go for sentimental reasons, or because you worry it will upset someone else.
There are many different reasons, each of them unique and personal to us as individuals, that we might have clutter or be disorganized.
One of the first reactions people have when they start working with me and pull back the curtain to reveal their mess is that they're completely embarrassed about their lack of ability to stay organized. Being embarrassed is normal, but it breaks my heart when they start talking about shame.
I've even had people cancel appointments with me due to feeling ashamed, which saddens me because I approach each situation without judgment, I simply see it as an opportunity to help them make their life better!
They may have seen others for whom organization comes naturally and compare themselves to them, or someone once told them in passing that it's "so easy" and they just "can't understand why anyone would struggle with it".
"You just need to..."
“It’s so easy… anyone can do it!”
Anytime you hear phrases like that, they can cause you to feel shame around being disorganized.
The ability to be organized isn't something everyone is born with, we all work differently and finding what works for YOU is key. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I believe that everyone can learn to be organized.
Let's start by letting go of the shame.
There's No Cookie Cutter Answer
When it comes to organization, finding what works for you is the key!
There are all kinds of ways to organize and we need to work WITH our natural tendencies, not against them. So much of what I see happen with people who strive to be more organized is that they're trying to do it someone else's way.
The system put in place needs to work for you. Organization can be taught, but it needs to be taught in a way that's right for you.
If you're a visual person, you might not be able to use file folders like someone else can. If you're drawn to having perfectly clear surfaces, you might rely on boxes and bins tucked away neatly in a closet. Another individual might use the closet as a crutch and stash their clutter in there where it's out of sight-out-of-mind. It's all based upon what is best for YOU.
I see four pretty common organizational styles when it comes to my work, and I have a quiz that helps you to identify which one you are, as well as gives you tips for using your habits to improve your organization game and increase your productivity. You can take the quiz HERE.
Shame is Not a Solution
Perhaps you've been called a "messy" person your whole life and now every single stack of dishes, pile of laundry, or jumble of receipts leaves you feeling guilty and ashamed.
Shame is not going to be the catalyst to helping you live a more peaceful, productive, and prosperous life. In fact, shame can actually keep you stuck in just feeling bad about yourself, unable to take productive steps forward.
Getting help will. True change begins with awareness and getting the help you need to be successful.
Becoming an organized person is very similar to getting healthy and losing weight. It's just like anything else we struggle with and sometimes, we need someone standing alongside us to guide us and give us tools and resources.
Put aside statements such as:
"I should be able to do this..."
"I should be able to take control..."
"What's wrong with me!?"
Don't allow the mess to have more meaning. It's simply a matter of you needing more tools in your toolbox to know how best to tackle it and manage it on an ongoing basis.
Getting help from a Professional Organizer can help you uncover some of the underlying causes of your disorganization, help you to identify where you're getting distracted, moving too fast, or not noticing what's tripping you up.
Working with a professional helps you to get organized in the way that works for YOU!
Ready to start removing the shame and taking back your power when it comes to your organization?