Thursday, July 19, 2007

Maybe She's Born With It

“Maybe she’s born with it”, the cosmetics jingle rings in my ears. People ask me, “Are you just born with the organizing gene?" What they really want to know is, “Is there any hope for me?” The answer is yes! Actually, I was not always an organized person.

Early in our marriage, my husband and I were at home when the phone rang. Friends wanted to stop by in about fifteen minutes! The place was a wreck. Dirty dishes were piled in the sink, the dishwasher was full, newspapers and mail cluttered the living room, and we probably hadn’t vacuumed in a while. My husband straightened the living room while I started on the dishes. I was running out of room and time. In my infinite wisdom, I decided the oven would be a great place to stash some dirty dishes, temporarily of course! The place was presentable, our visitors came and went. The antics of our breakneck-speed clean up were forgotten.

Days later, I was pre-heating the oven for dinner. You guessed it. The dishes that I had so cleverly hidden in the oven included some plastic cups and plastic handled pots! Those items are not rated for a 350 degree oven! One huge mess, some bologna sandwiches for dinner and a few well learned lessons came from that episode; 1) never, ever think you’re too clever for your own good, and 2) it’s never too late to learn a new skill, such as organizing.

What can you do if you weren’t born with it but want to look like you were?

• Find help from books and television. The knowledge that you’re not alone can alleviate anxiety you may be feeling over your current situation, plus you’re likely to pick up a few tips.
• Have a plan and a starting point. Depending on your preferences, either choose your most troubled spot or a smaller area where you can see quick improvements.
• Call in a professional. A good personal organizer can help you learn the necessary skills to be more organized. By working along side of them, you can develop good habits. Many organizers offer services ranging from consultations to hands-on sorting sessions to best fit your needs.
• Set goals. Knowing what you want to accomplish with your space will help you attain your goals. Do you want a more relaxing environment? A functional space? An efficient work area? Keeping your goals in mind will help you if the going gets tough.
• Fine-tune your systems. You may need to regroup and rethink your newly organized system a few times before you’re completely comfortable with its inner workings. What works today may need tweaking tomorrow, and any system is going to need regular maintenance.

Above all else, know that this is a learning process. Some are born with natural musical or artistic abilities, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to practice to perfect their skills. Organizing doesn’t always come naturally, but with practice it can become easier.

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Copyright 2007, Christine Rice

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Christine Rice, Professional Organizer and owner of Organize It Today helps people discover "organizational enlightenment" with the help of her newest book, A Life Less Cluttered: Expert Secrets to Your Own Organizing Epiphany. Visit her website at to find out more about her services and products.