I am an organizational work-in-progress and, if you are a regular reader, you know this is something I blithely admit on a regular basis. Last weekend, however, someone else pointed it out to me and hearing it felt like a sucker punch.
The person who pointed it out to me was my daughter and the way she put it was, well, blunt. “Your stuff is everywhere, Mom.”
My first instinct was to deny, but a quick look around the room where we sat made that impossible. Shame quickly followed, along with embarrassment and the sense that I’m a fraud. I mean, I write about this stuff. How could I have let this happen??
Life, that’s how.
The past few weeks have been a succession of interruptions, quasi-emergencies, and routine-busting crises. I’ve fallen behind in pretty much every conceivable area of life.
Now, approaching the other side of the tunnel I’ve been in, I can see the light, but it’s shining on piles that reveal just how quickly even someone who knows her styles and knows how to use them can fall back into bad habits.
Every style has attributes and downfalls. While I was putting out proverbial fires, my downfalls were having a party and they didn’t even have the decency to contain it to one room of the house.
When I set out to teach these styles to my students and, later, write Know Thyself, I had two goals. One of them was to help people who struggle with organization to find systems that work for them for more than two days. The other was to disabuse them of the notion that there was something wrong with them because they weren’t flawlessly organized on a regular basis.
My daughter was right. At the time of her statement, I absolutely did not look like someone who writes about organization (that’s not what she said, but it’s so what I heard!). But, after my initial response, I needed to remind myself of a couple of things I already knew.
First, a temporary overabundance of piles does not mean I’ve fallen into utter, hopeless disorganization. And, second, the fact that this happens at my house from time to time is precisely why I write about this.
I’m not flawlessly organized. My house is not perfect 24-7 (far from it). My systems, which keep me organized most of the time, get overwhelmed sometimes.
And there’s a good reason for that. I get overwhelmed sometimes and, since my systems are an extension of my styles (which are an extension of me), when I get overwhelmed, they do, too. Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of re-asserting control over my belongings. Sometimes, it’s a matter of rethinking the systems. Either way, I need more than a pinch of a magic ingredient that has little to do with me, my styles or my systems.
I write about this because I get it. I know how hard it is to keep things together all the time. I’m not writing to lecture from on high but, rather, to share what I’ve learned in the hopes it will help you, your kids, your spouse or your seemingly hopelessly disorganized best friend. Together, we’ll figure this out, stumble, acquire, declutter, figure it out again, and make progress.
It’s a process and, for some of us, it involves piles.
Copyright 2019 Lisa Hess