Why is it so Hard to Get Organized?

Why is it so hard to get organized

Getting organized is not exactly the stairway to heaven. It’s not winning the lottery and it’s not a once in a lifetime opportunity. Yet, the benefits are beyond anything you can possibly imagine. It’s freedom. Get organized and find freedom. Freedom and relief from the daily stress and challenges that rob your time, drown you in heaping clutter and spin you out in chaos.

So why is it so hard to get there and why do we avoid it?  Imagine two stairways. I took the New York City subway a few days ago and had to hop off at a familiar destination so that I could get to a client appointment. My jaw dropped when I realized that the escalator was out of order and I had no choice but to climb eight very steep miserable flights of stairs to the top. Halfway up I started huffing and puffing and I had to take a break. The road seemed long. I made it all the way, finally, with no thanks to my Zumba classes.

The climb was hard, I wasn’t prepared and it almost left me breathless and humbled. I promised myself that if I wanted to make this climb ever again, power combat was in my future. 

It’s Hard to Get Organized

Getting there is a hike and it’s not easy. What you might uncover in your pursuit of organization might take you by surprise. You’ll find all kinds of stuff that you didn’t anticipate or bargain for or even pay for. Your struggle is real because it isn’t something you really want to do.

Life doesn’t always go as smoothly as you would like. Just today (mind you, twice in one week) I was reminded that sticking to the plan is much better than getting off track. I was walking quickly up a stairway to make a Metro-North Train from Connecticut to New York. An earlier train had just pulled in. I couldn’t blame my tumble on my shoes because this time I was wearing flat boots. Still, in my silly haste to make an earlier train, that would only arrive a few minutes before my scheduled one, I tripped over a thick mat sitting under a huge garbage can. I just didn’t see it.

Get Organized

Faster isn’t always better. Slow but sure is. Just like the tortoise and the hare. The bottom line is when you take your time, pay attention and keep your focus; the direct line to organization isn’t as painful.

10 Reasons Why it’s so hard to Get Organized

The struggle to get organized looks different for each person. It will depend on your personality type, the way you were raised and even your environmental circumstances. Rest assured that you’re not alone when it comes to organization. Most people struggle with it at some point or another. As a Professional Organizer with years of experience helping people get organized, I’ve discovered that there are 10 main reasons why people find it so hard to get organized. Which one resonates with you?

You Don’t Know How to Get Organized

Yes, you’re smart and capable but just seem to have a block when it comes to getting organized. You read all the books, listen to all the experts but still can’t get your life in order. When you think of yourself as someone who doesn’t know how to get organized, you develop bad habits. These can be habits such as leaving things lying around as a reminder to put them away – which you never do.

You Can’t Get Started

Starting a big project (like getting organized) can feel overwhelming, making it easy to put off. But, this is just another mental block that you need to break through. Getting started is always the toughest part and you may find yourself looking for distractions or interruptions to avoid completely.

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You Don’t Want To

It’s easy to let feelings get in the way, especially when it comes to doing something that seems so hard. More than likely you’ll never find the motivation to actually get started with organizing because you just don’t want to do it. When it comes to getting organized, motivation is not enough, you need discipline too.

You Think You Need to Clean Up First

Life can feel chaotic at times, especially when you’re disorganized. Since there’s so much stuff in the way, you feel like you need to clear it up first before you can start organizing.  This type of thinking is counterproductive and just gets in the way of your progress. The best approach is to put organizing systems in place as you clean up.

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You Don’t Have the Right Tools

If you feel like you can’t get organized because you don’t have the right tools then you know this is just an excuse. Because you can find an array of useful organizing tools just about anywhere you look. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck here, start sorting through your things and then buy useful organizing items that you actually need. Otherwise, you’ll buy products you don’t use and just add more stuff to your clutter. My favorite organizing items come from the homeware experts at Real Home Innovations.

You Believe Your Situation is Different

Although environmental circumstances do play a role in your ability to get organized, it shouldn’t stand in your way. You have the ability to change your circumstances and to get organized in spite of your situation. Everyone is wired differently and some people seem to have a knack for organizing. Guess what? That knack is a set of skills that can be learned which means you can develop it too.

You Haven’t Found the Right Strategy

The trick to getting organized is having a strategy that works – for you. Not a strategy that works for someone else, but a strategy that fits your personality, lifestyle, and needs. This takes some experimentation and effort to find but once you do, it will be so worth it. Being organized means putting systems in place so that you can keep up instead of always trying to catch up.

You Have Resistance to Getting Organized

Resistance or blocks towards something can be difficult to overcome. This issue is usually linked to some of the other reasons why you find it so hard to get organized. For example, you don’t know where to start or can’t motivate yourself to start. But just know; once you do eventually start it gets easier to continue. So, don’t allow resistance to stand in your way.

You Keep Anticipating How Hard it Will Be

This is a tough one to get over for most people as you’re psyching yourself out when you think in this way. The honest truth is that it will be hard at first but it shouldn’t stop you from trying. Because once you’ve done it, you’ll realize it wasn’t as hard as you thought it would be.

You Have a Fear of Failure

This is one of the biggest reasons why it’s hard to get organized. Most people feel that their organization attempts need to be perfect and if it isn’t then they have failed. This will prevent you from ever starting. Organization is something that requires consistent effort so the goal is progress, not perfection.

What Freedom from Disorganization Looks Like

If the reasons I listed above resonate with you in any way, you may be wondering why you should get organized if it’s so hard to do?

Well, because of how good freedom from disorganization looks. Getting organized has the power to transform your whole life – for the better.

Learning how to get organized is a skill. This skill provides you with tools that give you power over your own life and the freedom you’re looking for. Being disorganized means struggling way more than you should.

Imagine that your home or office is organized. Will it help you to be able to find what you need immediately? How much time will you save when you don’t endlessly have to search for things? Will you be more productive? Will you have more time for family or to do the things you love? Being organized gives you power over your time.

Now, imagine being the organized colleague at work. How will this change the dynamic of your professional relationships? Will it help you build trust and loyalty with your colleagues, boss or even your clients? Would it improve your career if others know they can rely on you? Being organized gives you others’ attention and respect.

Finally, think about what you can accomplish when you no longer have to sort through piles of stuff. Or if you know you’ll never again forget a birthday or drop the ball in any way because you’ve planned for it. When your life is in order, you give yourself space; the space to create, the space to be there for others and the space to find time for yourself. Without a doubt, the best benefit of getting organized is the freedom it offers.

The Health Benefits of Getting Organized

If the above wasn’t enough to get you organized, maybe this will inspire you. There are actual health benefits to being organized. By making the effort to find order, you’re improving your physical and mental health. Now, if making time for wellness was one of your goals for 2020, then this should get your attention. Your wellbeing is directly linked to the state of your physical environment. So, to improve your wellbeing, you need to improve your surroundings. Being organized benefits your health in the following ways:

With all these benefits associated with being organized, it makes the effort of getting organized worthwhile!

What reason for not being organized do you resonate with the most?


Comments 18

  1. Another deterrent to getting started is that it’s hard for some people to ask for help. Especially if they think they need a professional organizer and can’t afford one. Sometimes they just assume it will be more than they can afford and they don’t even ask. They don’t take into consideration the cost of re-buying things they can’t find; the cost of storing and maintaining things; the cost of late fees and missed opportunities; and other financial costs of clutter. Really, who can afford NOT to get organized?

    1. Hi Hazel! You are so right. I often think of the cost of stress and the time spent struggling to get started. You can’t put a price on a piece of mind.

      Thank you!

  2. Wanting to make changes and actually making those changes are two distinctly different things. And they don’t always play nicely together. So many of my clients want to get organized, change habits, and have the result. However, doing the actions that are needed to “get there,” can be challenging for all the reasons that you mentioned. One of the things that help is having a good support system that can include family, friends, mental health providers, or professional organizers. The key is finding supportive and non-judgmental people to lift you up and keep you moving forward during difficult periods. Change takes time, persistence, commitment, curiosity, and lots of trial and error.

    1. Getting started is the hardest part so I always recommend starting small. Try doing just part of a task or work in a short time frame such as 10 minutes. Doing parts of a project might motivate you to keep going.

    1. It’s too stressful not to be. Having to constantly worry about so many things: Getting to appointments on time, getting things done, finding what you’re looking for, is draining.

  3. Having a friend – who is agnostic in regard to your things – can be a kick in the pants to making progress. It’s not always easy to be pushed, but it can get the ball rolling where momentum can take over.

  4. Creating space in small areas requires organization in my opinion. Getting organized is my New Year’s resolution!

    1. You are right. Creating space in small areas does require organization. In large areas too.
      You have a wonderful New Year’s resolution. Are you making headway?

  5. Wonderful and insightful post. I have a big problem— in general— that looks like this… When I get really stressed out, I have a tendency to get overwhelmed. Then I’ll get caught in paralysis, seemingly unable to do anything.

    1. Being overwhelmed is not uncommon and it causes a great deal of stress. (Just the flip side of what you said.)
      You can get organized in steps. It’s less overwhelming. Break the task down into manageable parts. Get it done in a day or over a period of several weeks. Bring in a friend to help or hire a professional organizer 🙂
      It’s so much easier to work on parts of a task or in small doses of time.

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