Mr. Organized Meets Ms. Chaos

How to get along when we attract our opposite! Organization can help or hinder.

Why is it that “Mr. Organized” partners with “Ms. Chaos”? The universe is funny that way, always trying to balance things out. Think about how often you are at odds with someone in your life because of organization issues:

  • Not being able to find what your boss is looking for.
  • Arguing with your child about the way their room looks.
  • Being accused of throwing important things away.
  • Always being asked where something is.

As professional organizers we constantly witness the stress in our clients relationships over organization styles and decisions. Sometimes our work feels more like therapy, especially when it comes to couples. Too often those with the ability to organize do not understand when others cannot maintain their environment. Those that are organized need to keep in mind that our research shows only 10 – 15% of the population is naturally organized. Hence, the need to be able to communicate and get help when lack of organization gets in the way.

This barrier between those who naturally know how to organize and the other 90% who don’t is why our main focus is teaching people how. The foundation for any organizing project or communication is three simple steps outlined below.

SEE IT – take a look at where you’ve been

Begin by taking a realistic look at where a lack of organization is impacting your life and relationships. Choose just one area or issue. What’s working, what’s not and why? Keep it simple. Then look at it from both sides and try to see what is at the heart of the conflict. Often our relationships serve as mirrors to look at ourselves. Once you have clarity, why not share your truth with this person and ask them to share.

MAP IT – make a plan for where you want to go

Now that you have each shared your truth, each person can create a simple vision for what needs to change. Try asking – what is the single most important change that needs to happen? What is one action you can take? Let this be enough. It is imperative to the relationship that each person has a chance to share their vision and what is important to them.

DO IT – take the actions to make it happen

How you choose to implement your changes or DO IT will be very specific to the relationship. Some may come up with a way to do it together, while others might call in outside help, and still others will compromise on different levels.

Some examples of this are:

  • A family sets up a system for incoming mail and an active paper system together.
  • A mother and child call it fun time, put on music, and make a game of putting everything away.
  • A couple decides to hire a professional organizer because they would rather enjoy their time together hiking or taking dance lessons.
  • A boss and assistant set up a weekly 1 hour focused time to go through all the lists and questions.
  • Two friends or buddies get excited about helping each other one weekend a month with the clutter areas – We all have them you know.

We hope we have given you inspiration and guidance to bring more peace and joy into your relationships.

We would love to hear back from you – what happened? Please share your stories!!

Marla, Kate & Team


Clutter Clear Out Celebration!

We are FREE of stuff that was dragging us down and keeping us stuck!

We are deeply honored, humbled and inspired by everyone who joined our 30 Day Clutter Clear Out this year. Wow. Thank you for showing up, taking action and sharing your wonderful stories with us! We now want to share a little with you about how our lives were changed.

Marla’s story

Where does all the stuff come from?  How does it keep piling up?  Why do I still have that? These were some of my questions as I wandered around my home each day looking for something to release.  What surprised me was that I found old stuff in every room. I couldn’t believe it.  I have been practicing living simply for years now.

Yet, I still found stuff!  Stuff that was homeless, stuff from years ago still taking up space, stuff I had forgotten. It was little things and big things.  It was singular things that held deep meaning. The most loaded items for me were the ones that tied into my kid’s childhood.  I have been an empty nester for only 7 months now.  After 30 years of creating a home for my children and caring for their things, I am on my own. My daily life is different without my kids and their stuff. It is not simple or easy to trust this change.  It is a daily journey.  The 30 day group has been a big gift to me. I don’t want to do this alone.  Hearing others share about going through their drawers, magazines, emails and kids stuff was the strength I needed to go through mine.

Here wasClear & SIMPLE, Winnie the Pooh a story of mine from day 3. These awesome Pooh ABC foam puzzle pieces are from Jessica’s 1st birthday. She is now 20. My grandson used them but he just turned 10. Both my kids say let them go. Seems like it would be easy but I have such resistance.  I realize they came from a special friend that I miss.  Also, I want to make sure they go to someone who will really enjoy them.

I get to trust the Universe here. I get to practice what I preach.

To close, I am compelled to share that I saved the toughest stuff for the end – the digital and calendar clutter.  I am now seeing the light at the end of my email nightmare tunnel. Kate is teaching me how to use Wunderlist to handle all my to do’s and keep them organized in one place. And I have released giving time and energy to work that doesn’t serve my soul’s purpose. More coming on these insights…

Kate’s story

Since relocating to Los Angeles in June of 2013, my little family and I have been radically shifting our lives and home. What started as just wanting to greatly simplify turned into minimalism. For us that means having only things that we use and/or support us in living truly soul-inspired lives. We’ve discovered that we want to spend as much time as possible playing, loving, learning and adventuring…and we now know it is possible with less stuff taking up time, energy and money.

Through about 25 layers we have released somewhere around 75% of what we moved with. Our drawers, closets and cupboards are organized and everything has a home. Sure our day-to-day activities bring the stuff out and we end up with piles of things that sit, often longer than I would like (I even sometimes let the kitchen stay messy and play games instead of cleaning), but homeostasis is easily reinstated. It is the most liberating experience of my life. (more…)

Clutter is BIG – so start SMALL

Tip #1: Choose only 1 small, 1 medium and 1 large organizing project for each season!

Clutter clearing can feel overwhelming.  Getting organized often feels impossible. My real life tip is to choose ONE small, ONE medium, and ONE large project for each season.  Then schedule only one project for each month.The beginning of the year holds this big push for change.  However, the best way to really make a change is to keep it small and realistic. Then let go of the stress and pressure to do it all or to keep doing more.  Let this be enough.

There is also ease and power by aligning our projects with the cycles of the earth and our bodies. Our bodies naturally feel and align with the seasons of our earth.  In the cold months we want to slow down and hibernate. In the warn months we want to play.  

Some ideas for a small project (2-3 hours) –
  • your purse or wallet
  • your briefcase or tool bag
  • Your computer desktop or smart phone pictures
  • your junk drawer or office supply drawer  – my favorite container above www.containerstore.com 
A medium project (4-6 hours) might be –
  • Your dresser top & drawers
  • Your desktop or paper piles
  • Your action file container
  • Your Vital Documents
A large project (1-3 days) could be –
  • Your pantry or cupboards
  • Your clothes closet or bedroom
  • Your files for this year (get www.freedomfiler.com)
  • Your computer files and folders

I have joyfully chosen my projects for this winter season.  My small one is my music CD’s, my medium is my digital photos and my large one is my updating my Vital Documents now that I am engaged and my children are adults!  Please take 10 minutes now, choose yours, write them down and share them with me.  I will give you a reward.  And contact us if you want or need help to get them done.

Your Guide – Marla Dee

Get the rest of my TOP TEN ORGANIZING TIPS for the New Year by clicking here

Organizing is more FUN with a friend!

Everything is more FUN done with a friend – even organizing!

Let’s face it – most things are more fun when done with a friend – shopping, movies, dining, hiking, travel, and hobbies. What is it about organizing that makes us think we have to suffer?  We have to force ourselves to get it done.  It is always on the list but typically the last thing we want to do on the weekend, right? There seems to be shame around letting our friends see our chaos. And yet inviting someone to help is the solution!

This is one of the powerful secrets to make organizing FUN!  Invite a friend to do it with you. Let go of the fear and shame of your friends seeing the chaos and open up to a powerful experience. As a professional organizer for 15 years I have seen hundreds of people be set free when they let themselves receive help from an organizer, a friend or family member.  The important elements are:

  • Pick someone safe who won’t judge you.
  • Do the project in small pieces of 2-3 hours
  • Make it fun by playing music or having snacks
  • Try taking turns and helping each other
  • Choose someone that supports you making a change