From time-to-time we feature reader questions. Here is one which is particularly compelling. Have a question? Subscribe and talk to us.
Dear John and OrganizingLA,
"I have chosen the daunting task of getting my house and my life in order. I feel paralyzed and I don't know where to start. I start and stop and feel frustrated at lack of results. I know to my friends I make life look easy, and I am a fairly successful person in real life. But this is tough! Can you give me some pro-encouragement?"
Patricia from Providence
Here are a few guidelines we suggest to our Los Angeles professional organizing firm clients who are stuck and need some encouragement. This list comes from our 7-8 years in business. Each client is different. We would be doing a disservice to clients if we thought they were one way, or another. Everyone is different.
- I understand that holding onto things is just part of life.
- I will stop being so hard on myself.
- I need to get away from self-management, organizing, color-coding and decorating-- which takes an enormous amount of time. I instead, will be grateful for what I have and relax about it all.
- I will be savvy and consider the costs of keeping items versus the ease of just getting rid of it entirely and replacing it when I need it.
- It's natural to accumulate, to hold onto things that represent a moment that I enjoyed, or a place I miss. But I need to move on sometimes.
- The stuff I have acquired does not define me.
- I am a successful person outside of this mess.
- I can stop feeling powerless, I can apply decisiveness (like I do in my business) to the way I run my home and home office.
- I will stop contributing to the problem-- I will limit or halt what I bring into the house during the decluttering process.
- I will let go of perfection. I cannot "interior design" my entire life.
- I know my family, friends, and my contributions to the world matter most. Things and possessions should only support my contributions and love.
- Although it is tempting, I understand that throwing everything away will only strip myself of who I am.
- I will celebrate who I am through the process, keep the things that serve me and my goals.
- I will not open a storage unit and waste $$$ time and energy storing things I will never see again.
- I can do this-- I can work a little each day, learn the smart behaviors of an organized person. I can enlist an organizing buddy or (if budget permits) hire a professional organizer once a month to manage the process.
- I will reward myself for this hard work!
- I will appreciate my family members and friends who help me through the process.
Need more inspiration? Check out:
10 Commandments of Clutter - if you're more spirtual, with an edge.
The 80/20 Pereto Principal - scientific usage guidelines we wrote about for Perez Hilton's Perezitos.
What encouragement would you have for Patricia?
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