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What Does ‘Organized’ Look Like To You?

Most of us are all-too familiar with the end result of disorganization — the hopelessly suffocating out-of-controlledness, that sense of forever-falling-behind overwhelm, the sadistic little voice in your head that loves to point out how many times you’ve tried to get your shit together and failed. (Screw him!) But have you ever given any thought to what “organized” would actually look or feel like? If not, now’s the time!

Seeing The World A Little Differently

Before you start clutter-clearing, you need an idea of what you want to achieve. (Trying to change without visualizing that “new you” is like applying makeup with your eyes closed.) And I’m talking about your own personal end result — not “organized” according to some magazine-or-TV-show definition. (Blindly adopting someone else’s vision instead of creating your own is like letting your 102-year-old parkinson-stricken grandmother do your makeup. With her eyes closed.)

So tell me about “organized” in your world. Paint me a five-dimensional picture — how it looks, feels, tastes, sounds, and smells. The more authentic and textured and juicy you make it, the more real it will seem in your mind. (That’s why visualization is a key component in goal-accomplishment — as far as your gray matter’s concerned, seeing is believing.)

So what do you do if you’re stuck — if you’re so deeply mired in clutter that you can’t even begin to imagine a world without all the chaos? Perhaps it’s time for a little help from your friends. I asked some of my peeps to put their dreams into words — hoping that these will inspire you, excite you, help you come up with your own unique vision “organize.” (And once you do, I’d love for you to share it with the rest of the crew):

“To me, organized means that I can look around my house and see everything in its place. I don’t have to spend 30 minutes looking for something, because I know right where it is!”

– Lisa O’Connell

“Being organized means being proactive rather than reactive in your life ”

– Kristin Zeterberg Van Dusen

“My idea of organized is a desk that isn’t overflowing with papers — where I can come into my office and sit down to work without the distraction of seeing piles all around me.”

– Dawn Bradford

“Free. Clear (no fog). Weightless. Mindspace to create. Ditching heavy emotional baggage — because really, clutter is just the physical manifestation of brain clutter.”

– Julie Vieillemaringe Gutierrez

“Extra space in my drawers and closet. Space makes me feel like I’m organized. Even if my drawer is perfectly organized with only clothes that fit, folded properly, and in color order, if it’s filled to the top I feel cluttered. Space to me means uncluttered and organized.”

– Bethany Anderson

“When I’m on top of my weekly menu and store list for dinners and items to replace — one store trip and I know what we’re eating each night. Eliminates thinking and panic and leaves my mind clutter-free in that area.”

– Susan Hatzell Warren

“Organized is walking into a room and feeling calm because there is nothing that needs to be done! Peace.”

– Sue Shipman

“My idea of organized is to have my house clean with only a few dishes and a quick, 20-minute tidy every morning. Then I’d have time to do crafts and projects and not feel guilty because I’m leaving other things undone.”

– Pam Jones

“Finally being organized is the moment you realize you’re no longer your belongings’ servant.”

– Terri Voight Closs

“If I were organized, I would be in control of my schedule, and I’d never miss a meeting because I forgot. And I would have more time to spend with my kids on the weekends.”

– Tomas Guerrero

“When I’m organized, I’m able to find things in a hurry.”

– Karen Tauber Wilson

“Being organized means having the apartment cleaned up, the laundry washed, dried, folded, and put away, the bills paid, and everything on the grocery list scratched off. Oh, and after all is done, having time to read.”

– Gillian Cox

“Organized equals freedom to do the things I want to do!”

– Miriam Ortiz y Pino

“To me, being organized would allow me to see and realize what needs to be done — and to know the most effective way of getting it all accomplished without stress — being able to effectively prioritize.”

– Sharon Kershaw

“Organized means the 10 stacks of papers in my home office are gone!”

– Kalin Thomas

“An organized life to me would be being able to use our dining room table for a meal instead of my ‘stuff’ — not meeting every visitor at our door with, ‘Pardon my mess, but…’ Not having to spend an entire day cleaning every time my husband is due home from a business trip…”

– Becky Dunlap

“My idea of organized is a place for everything and everything in its place (easy for me to say….) Fridge clean and tidy; my home office organized with everything in files so that I can put my fingers on whatever I want within a matter of minutes; all clothes hanging in a closet or folded neatly in a drawer; my closets set up with organizational modules which hold whatever I feel fits; and and all non-essential items put away or otherwise gotten rid of.”

– Ruby Freeman

“Being organized means to me that you can straighten up in less than 10 minutes.”

– Brigitte Starkey

“Stuff = stress. Organized = my essentials and the things I hold dear. No more filler.”

– Kimsy DiPasqua

“My idea of organized is not living with boxes or piles of my late husband’s belongings and our lives, as I am a young widow. Being able to donate and give away things, or sell the collections we owned. I would love to live in my condo without boxes, books, artwork, etc. piled around and my place to be one of cleanliness, organized, and peaceful instead of all this chaos.”

– Rebecca

“Organization is not letting your stuff get to the point of no return.”

– Flo Selfman

“Being organized feels like an egret taking flight, rising above the clutter that was weighing you down, and finding the freedom to live your best life!”

– Hazel Thornton

“I’m organized when I have freedom to breathe.”

– Amy Karatz

“My idea of organized is being able to find a specific piece of clothing when needed, being able to have people in my house at any time without absolute embarrassment, and being able to walk in my (or my children’s) room without tripping over something. If I were organized I would be able to get more done in my day and have more time to do other things. That would make my life less stressful.”

– Angelina Potter

“Organization does NOT mean perfection.”

– Lara Hatzell Finley

“Looks like: owning just the things I need. Feels like: 100 pounds lighter.”

– Sue Blumenfeld

“Being organized means that I have what I need and can find it, that I’m not drowning in stuff I don’t need, that I can keep up with my family’s activities and schedules, and that my home is comfortable and beautiful.”

– Barbara Slagel

“Organizing according to me is the art of doing things at the right time. Sticking to your work schedule and getting the job done on time — and not procrastinating.”

– Arun Chadda

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    Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and RamonaCreel.com.

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