A recent client, an Argentinean artist, told me that “the more disorganized her space, the more fun she is having”. She went on to explain that, as an artist, she craves chaos and wonderment – needs it in order to create.
“But then…” she went on, “there is a big mess.”
This got me thinking. How can we help people who genuinely enjoy the process of making messes, but don’t want their homes to actually stay that way?
First, as a Professional Organizer, I often get comments from people such as “Oh, are you OCD?” or “Wow, your house must be super organized!”. I want to take a moment to say that, while my home is organized (I wouldn’t be a very good organizer if it wasn’t), I am by no means organized all of the time.
My home becomes messy at times too – because people live there. As an artist myself, I know that creation can get messy. Sometimes I have paper piles on my desk (*GASP*), and my purse needs to be cleaned out almost daily. But I don’t feel guilty about any of that, even for one minute, because I am human.
The first rule of organizing, in my opinion, is this: no judging.
The truth is, we are all doing the best we can. And in a world of constant incoming information, paper and STUFF, it’s hard to stay on top. So please, take a moment and pat yourself on the back for what you have already done to corral all of that craziness that you inevitably face on a daily basis.
As professional organizers, we want to make people’s lives better, not worse. We help people to create the lives they want and are capable of living. Your home does not have to look like something out of a Martha Stewart Catalog, glossy and perfect. We all work within boundaries and limitations, and we need to honor them.
So please, be kind to yourself. I hear so many people, both men and women, lamenting the state of their desk, their homes, their garages. “I need you!”, they say. Or, “I’m so embarrassed”. The first thing to remember is that, in order to create change, you cannot allow yourself to be paralyzed by perfection.
Good organizing is not about changing your personality –
just your habits.
What can you do differently today that will make an impact on your level of control over your personal space? Make a list. Then, pick one action item and do it – don’t overthink it. Just act. And then make that thing a habit.
That is what organizing is really about – letting the good stuff rise to the top. Rather than judging yourself for your inability to be perfect, settle for taking some action – however small – today.