The #1 Reason You Can’t Get Organized (Even If You Want To) And What You Can Do About It

Think you’re decisive when it comes to your stuff? Great! The task of organizing will be a whole lot easier for you.

But if you catch yourself one too many times, saying to yourself, “I’ll just put this here, for now,” chances are you’re experiencing what professional organizers refer to as delayed decision making or what I think of as decision-deficit thinking.  That is, you lack the objective criteria or information you need to make an effective organizing decision.

It’s not that we can’t decide. We simply don’t know what the decision points are.

Before you can organize anything, whether it be your piles of old magazine clippings, your cluttered garage or the boxes of memorabilia you’ve kept for 20 years, you first need to decide three things about each item you’ve kept, in this order:

  1. Do I need it, use it or love it?
  2. If I do need it, use it or love it where should it live if I want to find it and if not, how do I dispose of it appropriately?
  3. What’s the best way to store or contain it?

Think about it. When you embark on an organizing project the first thing many of us do is start with the third question first. We go to our favorite home furnishing or office supply store and buy ourselves some type of sleek-looking container or in some cases, many containers. Then we get home and realize the overwhelming task ahead of us. Next thing we know we’re sitting on the floor, eye’s glazed over, with 300 copies of the Utne Reader surrounding us, back where we started.

Is this our fault? Absolutely not! It’s just that in our consumer-based culture, asking the question, do I need it, use it or love it rarely gets answered.  Instead we learn to believe we need it, use it and love it. This belief comes from the habits we grew up with, through overt or subtle persuasion, through fear or insecurity or some combination of all three.

Clutter comes when we can’t decide what to do with something we know we need, use or love. You know you may be experiencing decision-deficit thinking if you catch yourself often saying, “I’ll just put it here for now” or “I’ll put it here where I can see it.”  After a while everything gets put “here” until you can’t see (or find) it or anything else.

So what do you do?  Check out my next blog for answers.

Lis Golden McKinley, M.A.
CEO (Chief Executive Organizer)
Oakland, CA

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One Response

  1. lismckinley says:

    They must mark what in Digg?

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