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  • Writer's pictureLissa Miller

Organizing To Go

The Whats and Whys of Organizing

What About Organizing?

HGTV has made both staging and organizing more familiar. Did you know that there is a national association for organizing? NAPO, the National Organization for Productivity and Organizing Professionals. Guess when It was started? 35 years ago in 1983 in Los Angeles and it now has 3500 members nationwide and chapters. Organizers get professional support, complete with NAPO University, it's online organizing classes, podcasts, innumerable certifications in different organizing pursuits.

NAPO’s definition of a Professional Organizer is: "A Professional Organizer supports evaluation, decision-making, and action around objects, space, and data; helping clients achieve desired outcomes regarding function, order, and clarity." Whew, that's a mouthful! My short version would be: an organizer is one who meets with you, determines, with you, what areas of your home need attention, what your goals are for organizing, then does hands-on work to make that happen or teaches you how to do it. First and foremost, a Professional Organizer is sensitive. Showing our disorder to another person is not always comfortable. The organizer needs to help make it so.

There is a near deluge of organizing books, television programs, blogs and radio spots dedicated to organizing. Have you come in contact with any? Marie Kondo, author of “The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up” is a household name these days. In a nutshell, she strategizes that one should organize in a day, take everything out, examine each item. Keep it, if it sparks joy and if not, send it on it's way with gratitude for its' part in your life.

Another best seller is the “The Swedish Art of Death Cleaning. Although it has a rather distasteful title, the book is about the Scandinavian tradition, at midlife, of sorting and clearing out one’s possessions, so that it does not fall to heirs to do. It is seen as a gift to family not to burden them with your possessions when you are gone. Another book is

Courtney Carver’s "Soulful Simplicity" which outlines her Project 333: Keep 33 items of clothing, then store the rest for 3 months. I recommend trying it. I did. I got down to 50 items (the number is arbitrary as long as it's not 500!). The idea is, reduce the choices in your closet and your life suddenly simplifies (and in fact, I'm proof in point - it works!).

WHY, besides simplifying life (as if that were not enough)

is organizing important?

I found out the reason organizing is so important on my very first organizing job. I worked with a woman who was having trouble sleeping because her possessions were weighing her down. She and her husband felt overwhelmed by the things they owned. They had a lovely home that they could not enjoy because they had so much to do and did not know where to begin. After working together to get the clutter under control and the house organized, the client said she could now sleep and her husband said the result was "life-changing".

That is why I love my work. My belief is that organizing isn’t simply about “a place for everything and everything in its place”. Instead, it’s about creating an environment in which people can thrive. I believe Marie Kondo when she says “If you think tidying up just means getting rid of clutter, you’re wrong. Always keep in mind that the true purpose is to find and keep the things you truly love, to display these proudly in your home, and to live a joyful life.” I am a proponent of Sandra Felton, who says in her book, “Five Days to a Clutter Free House, “The soul of the matter of organizing is, we are created for a life of dignity and service and hospitality”.

Organizing is not an end in itself. My favorite thing about organizing is what it allows: It allows freedom from continually arranging, rearranging and maintaining your possessions. The less you have, the more time you have for family, friends, meaningful pursuits, adventure and all those things you value most in life. Maybe it’s ziplining in Costa Rica as I recently did, but maybe it’s painting or sitting with your favorite dog on your lap, or watching the snow fall or helping others.

Again, organizing is not an end in itself. It is also good for our health. Research from UCLA and Princeton states that clutter increases stress hormones. Seriously, who needs that? And, they say, clutter negatively impacts the ability to focus. Anyone have ADD yourself or have children with ADD? Clutter and chaos on the outside can make you feel cluttered and chaotic on the inside. Children and adults with ADD can focus more easily in a less cluttered environment.

So, my job is to help you if you do not have time to organize, you feel stuck, it is not your strength (give yourself a break - you don't have to be good at everything!). I can help you have time for the things you love. Give yourself the gift of an organized home and see where it takes you.

Good luck in your journey,


"Make Room for What you Love"


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1 Comment

Apr 14, 2018

I like the idea of streamlining a wardrobe to be limited to a certain amount of items. I am definitely guilty of having too many items to choose from and taking waaaay too long to get dressed some days. What a good project to take on in this change of season.

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