Organizing & Life Changes: 10 Suggestions for Organizing through Change

Sue West September 22, 2011 0
Organizing & Life Changes: 10 Suggestions for Organizing through Change

Their daughter is getting married. Her partner was very ill and is coming home. Her business is in its own next chapter, as it grows into something different. She is looking ahead to surgery with a long rehab phase.

How does organization fit? Here’s what they’d tell you – it’s fairly similar from person to person.

They are organizing to move on – releasing some of their past, to make mental and physical space for an upcoming chapter – even if they don’t know what that chapter will hold for them.

This type of organizing is about mindset and values – what’s important now becomes different, as you move through a life transition. The past is a bit easier to let go of. The future is even more unsettling and unpredictable though.

How Does it Feel?

• I’ve gained such clarity during this whole time. It’s so clear what I need to do. But there’s so much I want to do now. Where do I start?
• I need more time to take care of me and it’s hard to find in my life right now.
• I don’t know how I’ll fit in everything. My unpredictable schedule will be difficult to take in stride, even though I know I’m doing the right thing. How do I focus on “now,” and stay present for the one who needs me.
• How can we reorganize my schedule, decluttering it so I have more time for what’s become more important.
• Who can help – at home, at the office? So much I want to do to get the business to the next  level; where do I start?

Ten Suggestions

Changes interrupt our lives. These changes and transitions leave us with homes, belongings, and schedules that no longer work for us. Something is out of alignment, and we’re not sure what. Reorganizing to a new normal way of living (with our time and our ‘stuff’) can make the changes easier to take on, whether we reorganize home, office or schedules.

Your values relate to organizing.  Values help you figure out which belongings you really need in your life. Love to learn? Weed out and reorganize something else, not the books. Keep what you love, what gives you joy for life, what sustains and motivates you.

What is “organized enough” to you? Only you and your household get to be the judges of what is “organized enough” in your home. If you try to organize to someone else’s standards, you will not be as committed. And the systems will be harder to keep up with because they were not designed for you.

Why is getting reorganized important, particularly now? Your organizing systems will work best for you and you’ll be most motivated to declutter stuff or time when you tie organizing to your goals. Inspiring, motivational, and it gets done!

Build on what you know. Don’t ask what’s NOT working w/your organizing or systems. Ask what IS working and what ‘sort of’ works? Build on what’s there. Many systems at a time of life changes will be a ‘draft’ version anyway – temporary, as your life comes together again in new ways.

Be a role model. Organize you and your stuff first. Then help others in your household – you may be surprised at how much they notice and follow!

Time is fluid. What’s important to you now? That’s what to fill your calendar with. Forget about the future for awhile. Too much future thinking is overwhelming. And by the time the future arrives, will it be what we envisioned? Usually not.

Maintenance comes first. Sometimes your organizing system seems perfect …  until you realize how complicated it’s going to be to keep up with. Consider maintenance as you design new ways to stay organized.

It’s about you – remember to take care of yourself.  If you give up what makes you tick as you’re going through a life change, you’ll find your days more of a struggle. Whatever it takes – keep with some level of your exercise, your good eating, your perfect cup of tea, or your reading time when you’re going through a big life change. You may not be able to exercise every single day in the same way; but can you take a quick walk for 10 minutes? That may be all you need, but it IS something.  Find small ways to care for yourself, or ask friends if you can be accountable to them.

Organization, in times of crisis, can be a lifesaver. You can’t organize your way out of everything, but you don’t have to be a victim of circumstances either. Accept quickly that things are changing. Adapt your behavior, change your systems even if it’s temporary, and manage your schedule to some small degree. Doing something will help you feel more in control during these unnerving times … unnerving is due to change, any change, whether it’s a beautiful welcomed change or one foist upon you. Change is change.

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