Three Tips for Overcoming Organizing Paralysis



Organizing can be hard for me. Yep. You heard it here first. Perhaps hearing this will be a complete turn-off to previous or potential clients, but the reason why I share this is because organizing is hard for the people I serve, too, and I want them to know that they are truly not alone. Come to think of it, if you're taking the time to read this blog post, then I can assume that you also--to some extent--may feel paralyzed when it comes to knowing where to start when you are trying to organize your home or workspace. If so, then please know that I get you.


As a woman with combined-type ADHD (and most likely OCD), the following organizing-related tasks are especially challenging for me:

  • Spatial awareness

  • Time awareness

  • Perfectionism (caused by overthinking)

  • Compulsions (repeating the same action again and again)

How do these challenges impact me? Here's a little glimpse into what goes on in my mind when I'm working on a job. When I'm space planning for a client, I spend hours of my personal time comparing products to find which are the best price, which are the highest quality, which match my client's aesthetic, which will follow the color and shape pattern I have in my head, and which will fit together like a puzzle to fill the most space, leaving little to no gaps (gaps lead to wasted space, and wasted space is not ok with me). Then when it comes time to physically organize the space, I use a handwritten plan to guide me; however, if I do not like the way something turns out in real life, I move items around time and time again until they look and feel just right. And get this... After the job is complete, I will then think about the space I just organized and ruminate on what I could have done better. Like, what? Why do I torture myself? Why can't I be proud of a job well done and happy with the joy and relief that my work offered to my client?


Well, because my brain simply doesn't allow me to.


But, guess what? These traits--along with my insane ability to hyperfocus, my desire to help others, and my literal obsession with organizing--are also what make me good at what I do. Just had to share that part, too.


If you struggle with feelings of overwhelm and paralysis when it comes to organizing, know that there ARE ways to break through! In fact, here are some strategies that I encourage you to try. These strategies have helped me tremendously as I have developed my craft and as I have become more mindful of my unique strengths as a neurodiverse woman.

 

1. Start Small. When organizing a space in your home or at work, pick a small area to begin with. For example, if organizing your kitchen, start with one drawer. While working in the drawer, think Trash, Save, Donate.

  • Trash items that are broken, missing pieces, or unable to be donated. Do you really think someone will want a spatula with a partially melted, egg-crusted edge? Trust me, they don't.

  • Save anything that you use frequently and/or truly love. If you use it and love it, no one is forcing you to chuck it!

  • Donate items that are in good shape and that you do not use or would not buy again today. If the item is collecting dust, consider giving it to someone who will find a lot of joy in it. Family members, friends in need, or local thrift shops will be happy to receive your donations!

2. Take Frequent Reward Breaks. Once you finish organizing a space, revel in a job well done! Doesn't it feel good to know that you completed the task? Treat yourself to a coffee break, 30 minutes of Netflix, or whatever else you may enjoy!

  • If you are bravely setting your mind to tackle a large space, consider setting a timer that gives you permission to stop and rest after 15-20 minutes. You may find that you're so focused on the task that you won't want to stop, though!

3. Get a Body Double. Having someone with you during the organizing process helps you to stay focused on the task at hand, remain accountable for trashing, saving, and donating items, and remind you that done is better than perfect. I cannot praise my own organizing assistant enough for being my own body double while on the job!

 

Remember, you've got this. Even the slightest bit of progress IS progress! And if you feel you need more guidance on how to tackle an overwhelming space in your home, feel free to contact your friendly neighborhood home organizer for assistance!



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