Overcoming your Organizing Fear


Do you say, I would rather jump off a cliff, go to the dentist, or even run away when faced with organizing? One of the most basic emotions we have is fear when getting organized. Whether we fear being shamed, we fear loss, or we fear defeat, we must acknowledge this. In order to overcome your organizing fear, we must address where this comes from.

  • Will stuff be gone without my permission when I am organizing? Over and over again I hear this from clients. This is the fear that a family member, friend or possibly a professional organizer will throw away their stuff. For many of clients, helpful family and friends have intervened and done a clean out. My clients know that I respect them and their belongings and we create a trust relationship in the process of decluttering. Creating a trust relationship with your organizing partner overcomes this fear.
  • It starts with body language and reading how another  judges you when coming into a cluttered space. The fear of shame is powerful. My clients evaluate my reactions, including my facial reactions, and how I touch their belongings. My clients know that our relationship will be based on success rather than consequences.
  • Its hard to start any project when you feel defeated over and over. Overcoming the fear of defeat is build on the successes of baby steps. When organizing goes awry, our work is not to condemn, but rather to rework and “tweak” the system to work better. First, second, third and even more attempts to organize are the path to success.
  • Focus and new perspectives overcome organizing fears. In partnering with clients, I assist them in clarifying what is next in their lives and what they want to accomplish. Opening a door for them, they can release their belongings and fears and step into a new lifestyle. In order to let go, you must know what comes next, anticipate it, and find joy in it. Letting go of fear and embracing change makes this happen.

Have you overcome your organizing fear?  What made a difference for you?

4 replies
  1. Laura
    Laura says:

    Great post! My sister always used to organize my closet for me when I was younger and it never lasted! It wasn’t until I got older and took responsibility for my “stuff” that I started to care about how it was all organized. I think a lot of people can relate to having family members try to “help” them. It is much more productive to have a professional help out! 🙂

  2. Ellen Delap
    Ellen Delap says:

    Thanks for sharing Laura. Our family wants to help and wants the best for us. New perspectives can be part of the process with a professional, making the process about the way you think and your own organizing style.

  3. Linda
    Linda says:

    Letting go of fear and embracing change is hard for all of us. My coauthor and I wrote a a book about downsizing the home, Moving On: A Practical Guide to Downsizing the Family Home, and followed that with a blog Downsizing the Home at https://downsizingthehome.wordpress.com/ We would love to hear from others about family issues in downsizing.

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