When NOT to Organize

It’s true. There are times when you shouldn’t organize.

Organizing requires excellent decision-making and enough time for creating “the mess that cleans up the mess.” Decision-making, alone, demands a lot of physical energy. I’ve worked with young and old, and both have been surprised at how mentally and emotionally exhausting the process can be.

If you’re ready to tackle some purging and organizing your home, I recommend you try to avoid working with any of these following conditions. If you can avoid these circumstances, you’ll achieve greater productivity and your experience will be far more pleasant.

It’s NOT a good time to organize, if . . .

  1. You’re tired. Choose your best time of day when you’re most energized. You’ll make better decisions and work faster.

  2. You’re upset. If you’re in the middle of emotional upheaval, trauma, or grief, you are not in a good position for making balanced decisions. If you just had a fight with your spouse, it may feeltherapeutic to heave stuff out of the house but you may regret some of your decisions later.

  3. Your children are underfoot. Constant interruption wears down your energy level and your ability to finish a single thought. (Right, moms?) If you’re able to work on an organizing project while kids are away at school or an outing, it truly helps.

  4. You’re hungry, sick, or in pain. Physical well-being can wear you down just as much as being emotionally spent. If you have the luxury of tackling your organizing projects while feeling your best, the process will be more effective. I do realize that some deal with chronic discomfort and just don’t have the option of waiting until they feel better. Try to organize during your best time of day.

  5. You’re under stress from other needs in your life. If your energy needs to be pointed to another area of life that needs managing, give it priority. Make sure it’s actually a good time to work on an organizing project. Some find it therapeutic because it’s something to work on that’s under your control when everything else in life is out of control. As long as you aren’t hiding behind the organizing and ignoring other parts of your life that genuinely need attention, organizing “therapy” can be helpful, especially if you enjoy it. Give your best to the part of your life that needs your best, first.

The above photo cracks me up. My little brother fell asleep half way out of our tent one summer, lying across the opening of the doorway. It’s a great picture of being too tired . . . to do anything!

Just remember that no matter how awful your clutter makes you feel, you and your family are the most important “stuff” in your home.

Take care of you first, then your stuff. The stuff will wait. And when you’re at your best, you’ll deal with the stuff better!

When is your best time to organize?

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