Benefits of an Organized Life

May 8, 2015

I've written ten books on various aspects of getting organized and they are like ten children to me.  When I look at one I remember what was going on in my life when I wrote it and I remember the PR push to help it be known to many. 


Number five (One Year to an Organized Life) was my New York Times best seller and the one that's closest to my heart.  Not because it received this accolade but because it most directly articulates my philosophy and style of organizing called Zen Organizing.  If you have that book but haven't worked with it yet take a moment and read the Epilogue. I share how using the principles of Zen Organizing helped me wage my battle with cancer now almost 13 years ago.  For me this is the point of organizing your physical space: you gain a skill that has applications beyond your physical environment.


You can use the three steps of The Magic Formula (Eliminate, Categorize, Organize) to organize a child's party or a big project at work. You learn to eliminate stuff from your space but also tasks you can't manage with grace and precision (see yesterday's post). A friend reminded me the day of my diagnosis that I did not have to face a hysterectomy and six rounds of chemotherapy every day. I had to prepare for surgery and then prepare for each of the chemo treatments in turn. I taught these principles ('the whole of anything is overwhelming so break projects into small, manageable chunks') in my organizing classes but I forgot to apply them to my life.  The realization that organizing a physical space was merely training ground for life was profound.  I received more blessings than challenges with cancer and that was one of the most profound. When it came time to write the first One Year I got to share that realization with my readers. It's the rare individual who doesn't want to postpone getting organized because they 'have better things to do.' I don't think you do. I believe that a calm, peace filled environment literally nurtures you body, mind and Soul. What is more important? The alternative is to fight chaos at every turn and be a master at self-sabotage.


There is no down side to getting organized. You save time, money and energy. You feel powerful knowing that you are truly in charge of your space and everything that's in it. You are empowered to tackle the tasks and challenges of life in a logical manner that helps control panic, procrastination and shame. Yes, it takes a commitment of time to do the organizing but once it's done you have systems in place. Will you freeze your space and make no changes? I hope not.  Over time our attachments change and it becomes OK to release items we once held sacred. The mom of little ones may need Sippy cups and baking tins but the empty nester can pass those on to someone else.  The college kid loves his or her dorm but Heaven forbid they are still living with that decor at 50. You get the idea.


I have a lot to say about organizing especially since I think the process is being complicated these days in an effort to simplify.  Funny how that works, isn't it? Stay tuned.




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