If you have a Facebook profile, do you ever check out the “Memories” section to see what you were up to in the past? I get a kick out of how many times I wrote something years ago about getting myself organized. Those posts went up a long time before I ever stumbled across the professional organizing industry, so it’s some seriously spooky foreshadowing. This morning I had to laugh when this one popped up:
You see, I’ve spent the past week organizing in my own home, and just last night, I was - you guessed it - filing and shredding. I also worked on my closet, my office, part of the garage, and some long-neglected but really functional drawers and cabinets. I caught up on errands that I had chosen to put off for weeks. I even spent time looking over my schedule for the rest of 2019, trimming away some overcommitment and setting better boundaries.
I looked forward to this organizing time for weeks. In fact (and you may think I’m a little cracked), I purposely scheduled it as a sort of mini-vacation. Forget Spring Cleaning, this was all Fall Organizing, despite it hovering around a soul-sucking 97 degrees every day. It was a perfect way for me to recharge - less expensive than the beach, with no sunburn or sand in my shoes.
When I reflected on it, I noticed a few things:
Sure, I got stuck on an item or two, lost myself in quite a few memories, and the ridiculous heat kept me from doing as much outside as I wanted. Occasionally I was tempted to dig into something others might count as more interesting that sorting and arranging. But I knew (intuitively? from years of experience?) how much better I would feel choosing the organizing over Netflix*. I also came across this Facebook Memory, which helped to put it all into a more realistic perspective:
No, I didn't get it all done, but I count the whole week as a win. It also reminded me that this organizing stuff actually is something I’m decent at, which is comforting. Even professionals have their doubts at times, and I’ve spent the better part of two years engaging in some goals that are not so second-nature, not so comfortable. And while discomfort most definitely leads to growth, I was so ready to lay it all down for a while. To push the pause button on all that personal expansion, curl up with the label maker and some donation boxes, and go for some good old self-care. Because improving your organization is an act of taking care of yourself. Think of it like a little metaphorical cucumber face mask for your spaces - clearing out those impurities and leaving a brighter, smoother surface behind.
Sometimes, when you’ve spent a long time trying to work on or figure out something difficult or outside of your comfort zone, it’s nice to come “home.” To come home to an activity that feels like putting on your favorite pair of jeans, or that perfect, soft, hole-y sweatshirt. You may not have the luxury of being able to take a whole week to go through your t-shirt drawers or files from 2004, and you may not find organizing as relaxing an activity as I do. But what if you took even just an hour or two to indulge in organizing something all for yourself? Something that would help you to breathe easier? A clear-out that would make you smile when you finished?
How comfortable would that be?
*For the record, I did check out a fair number of podcasts.
Sara Skillen - Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Organizer Coach®, wife, mom, and serial list-maker. Learning to trust my intuition more every day. Shall we work together?