Updated: Jul 16, 2019
Organizing does not come naturally to me. I am a right-brain person. I've lived in this intuitive, emotional, creative space my whole life. From the time I was about 12 years old until I was 20, I experienced organizing failure time and time again. I became frustrated when I saw my friends accomplish this task with ease. In order to subdue my frustration, I began telling myself the story I would never be organized because I was creative and my brain did not work that way.
Shortly after college graduation, I moved to London and secured a position at Harrod's in the Christmas Cards Department. One of the tasks I was assigned was assessing the Christmas card boxes and displaying them in a way where they both looked good and utilized the space accordingly. We had loads and loads of cards in all different sizes and packaging types. I quickly learned if I looked at the task like a puzzle, it made more sense.
Additionally, I lived in a very small flat with hardly any storage space. I had to get really creative about how to store my clothes, suitcases and other essentials. Over time, I learned that self-discipline was a key factor in implementing an organizing plan as well as maintaining it.
I've had to adjust and readjust my organizational skills for the last 20+ years. When my oldest son was born, we lived in an older house with very small closets and no additional storage space. It became difficult, if not impossible, to keep his things organized: diapers, clothes, blankets, bottles, etc. with the small spaces available. I soon realized the older he became, the more stuff we needed. The more stuff we needed required more space to store it. We moved into a larger home and then had another baby 22 months later. The bigger home was now overflowing with 2 babies’ worth of stuff and so we moved into a larger home and the pattern repeated.
Does this sound familiar?
The amount of clothes, toys, sports equipment, school uniforms, blankets and everything else we thought we had to have or needed grew and grew and grew. It was a full-time job keeping up with the laundry, going to the grocery store and putting toys away. My closet grew due to the clothing sizes I needed; transitioning from weight gain to pregnancy to weight loss. And we all know that dads gain baby weight too, right? I was tired of being frustrated when I couldn’t find a matching school sock, sports equipment, one shoe, athletic gear or that special toy, blanket or stuffed animal.
I continually searched, bought, installed and replaced organizing solutions until one day a light bulb went off. What worked for me didn’t work for the rest of my family. I was trying to organize all of us in the same exact way that I would organize myself and it just didn’t work. I began to observe our daily habits, discovered our learning styles and love languages and took a holistic view of the way each one of us lived our life separately and then as a family.
Because I have changed my organizing story, I work with clients to help them change their organizing story. It is a learned habit for me that, with practice, has immense rewards of saving time, energy, effort and money.
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