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Links and Resources for the Chronically Disorganized

N S G C D | Home

I'm still in a de-cluttering mode these days (more on that soon), so I was intrigued by this resource, which arrived this morning via Mrs. Folders.

While primarily a trade group for "professional organizers," the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization site has some handy documents and links to help with identifying and solving pathological problems with clutter and hoarding.

If you can tolerate the site's gruesome ardor for PDFs, you'll find some informative and eye-opening stuff. From their fact sheets page:

I really liked some of the Tips for Overcoming Procrastination for the Chronically Disorganized Individual or Household (excerpted):

  • Remember that it is motivation that gets you started and habits that keep you going. Resolve to get started.
  • Delay until you have enough information but not all the information. Have the courage to make decisions with less than 80% of the facts.
  • Break up your projects into small pieces and avoid “all or nothing” thinking.

Good stuff. The Now Habit, anyone?

emwilska's picture

Quick point of clarification

Here are a few points I ask you to keep in mind.

“Getting organized” can be a swell thing — but only once you’ve gotten rid of the mountains of crap that you’ve allowed to overrun your life.

Far and away the biggest and most important part of "getting organized" is in fact getting rid of those mountains of crap. That's one of the first steps I take with every client, no matter the situation. Another big part is helping people reconsider their relationships to stuff, and encouraging them to allow into their lives only things (and people, and events) that are truly meaningful to them in some way. About 90% of the work I do revolves around this reducing and reconsidering.

Second, the ranks of the NSGCD include not only organizers, but also mental health professionals, social workers, and others whose input and expertise are critical to the treatment of chronic disorganization, especially in cases of hoarding and severe cluttering. Professional organizers who work with these clients aren't just going in and making pretty piles; in many cases, we're collaborating with the client, his/her mental health provider, and related social service agencies. This work is so much more complex than "rearranging."

Finally, many people (and you may or may not include yourself in this group) build their perceptions of Professional Organizers based on what they've seen on TV or read in a magazine. That image is an incomplete one at best. The vast, vast majority of organizers are no more focused on finding pretty homes for clients' piles of stuff without a serious and dedicated commitment to helping people reconsider why they're holding on to so many things and how those things impact their lives than productivity consultants are focused on helping their clients find the right calendar, PDA, or piece of time management software without doing anything at all to look at the nature of those clients' relationships to time and tasks.

The "more profound realignment in thinking" that you mention above is and has been happening in the world of Professional Organizing for many years now. I invite you, in a sincere and snark-free way, to learn more about what we really do and how, in ways both obvious and surprising, it aligns with what you do.




An Oblique Strategy:
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