Michelangelo and Me

Professional Organizing Oakland

The Prisoner

I often get asked why I became a professional organizer.

My training as a therapist and experience as a learning consultant partially explain why I do what I do but the photograph to the left says it better.

It is a picture of an unfinished sculpture by the Italian artist Michelangelo. This sculpture is one of a series of similar works that were famously dubbed “The Prisoners.” This is because the figure appears to be imprisoned or breaking away from the stone that surrounds him.

I first saw this sculpture when I visited the Accademia Gallery in Florence, Italy as a teenager.  It is a work in progress that was never finished.  It is both tangible as a beautiful sculpture and deeply symbolic of what is possible.

Change can come slowly. This is difficult for many of my clients to understand in an age of instant gratification. Even so-called “reality” TV shows about organizing convey the impression that results are fast and painless. It’s simply not reality.  In truth, it can take hours, days and even weeks to bring someone back to the place they need to be to take control of their space, their lives and to feel more organized.

My work is about helping my clients chip away at their clutter – both physical and emotional. In the process, not only do they get their living rooms back or their papers under control, they actually move closer to whatever it is they want to accomplish.

But let’s say you’ve resolved to get organized many, many times and you never seem to make headway. You’ve tried all sorts of clever organizing systems or products and you’re feeling like your space still controls you instead of the other way around.

I often say, “If getting organized were just about putting things in nice containers, we’d all be organized.”

Learning to be more organized is a habit but unlike, say, brushing your teeth or taking out the trash, getting organized can sometimes make us feel worse, not better, at least at first.

This is because as we begin to take control, we realize how out of control we’ve been and how much we’ve adapted to habits that don’t serve us.  In addition, we feel stupid and silly for not being able to do what we falsely believe everyone else can do so easily. This moment of realization can feel overwhelming  and outright discouraging and, for some, leads back to old habits and behaviors.

Getting organized is a process that begins with understanding and forgiving ourselves,  recognizing that our habits no longer serve us and taking the time to learn and practice new behaviors.

These behaviors may feel strange at first but are based on accepted standards developed and proven as effective by professional organizers everywhere. And just like brushing your teeth, almost anyone can learn them

Getting organized is not for everyone. There’s nothing objectively wrong with being disorganized. Some of the world’s most brilliant minds can function quite well amidst a sea of clutter. Michelangelo himself is said to have cared little for his surroundings, would sleep in his clothes and may have had obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) a mental health condition which sometimes manifests in extreme clutter.

Some people, like those with pervasive hoarding behaviors, can tolerate massive amounts of disorganization and may only make changes if forced to through external circumstances or threats to their well-being.

Being disorganized is only a problem when you begin to feel distressed (or even depressed) by your disorganization. If your disorganization leads to consequences such as losing money or strained relationships then it’s definitely time to seek out help.

I consider it an honor when people ask for my help to get organized.  Together we enter into a trans-formative relationship that only needs to start with willingness;  Willingness to learn, willingness to try and willingness to start over when you find yourself slipping back into old habits.

Through consciously learning new ways of organizing your space and your life, you may discover the person that you were meant to be.

That is why I am a professional organizer.

Visit my website at http://www.letsmakeroom.com

Tags: , Posted by

Leave a Reply