I LOVE working with clients. It is so critical to me that the work that I spend my days and energy doing has a positive impact on the lives of others. But much like Phoebe in Friends, I know that there is no such things a selfless good deed. In today’s episode, I’ll reveal to you five reasons I feel great about organizing and you might, too.
I have moved a LOT—building up my skill set without my knowing it!
Full transparency—I was a very messy kid. A lot of this has to do with the fact that I am actually an artist, so I had art supplies pretty much everywhere all of the time. Additionally, I had completed art projects that I didn’t necessarily want to hang up or display on my own, or didn’t have room to display, and so they just kind of… landed places. I really struggled to maintain a tidy room! Looking back, I realize now I was never actively taught organizing skills. But now I can pinpoint the time in my life when I started truly organizing—when I lived on my own. When I got my first apartment at 22, I realized that it was solely up to me to do all of the organizing and cleaning, to maintain a space that served me. Honestly, it’s a lot easier to stay organized when you’re the only human or animal in a space. But I didn’t start out in that apartment with an overwhelm of things, either. I’ve lived in so very many different homes over the past decade of adulthood, sometimes switching from a three bedroom home to a one-bedroom apartment and then back to a different larger space with another human. To stay sane—and save money on moving—I had to maintain fewer possessions and be very clever about utilizing storage spaces in both homes and what furniture I own. It started from a place of frugality and became a challenge with each shift—how efficiently can I move out and move in? How quickly can I make this space feel like home, giving the things that I value space to exist? So my skillset has continued growing each year out of necessity.
When teaching, I noticed a profound connection between the classroom environment and how students learned
I don’t know how you feel about dirty dishes or overwhelming piles of laundry, but they don’t do great things for my ability to think or function. Mostly, they freak me out. In my first teaching job, I cried walking into my classroom to set up because it was an absolute mess—to the point of hot Cheetos lining the baseboards. I spent my first five years in absolute survival mode as a teacher, going through personal and professional hardship, and never devoting time to creating an organized space. But my gosh the year that I took time defining how I wanted my classroom to feel and function? It was my best year as a teacher, hands down. By backward planning how I wanted to run activities for large groups, small groups, and individual think time, I was able to organize space, storage, and supplies to support these activities from the get go. My students were more engaged and they were more confident in making music—which is a super vulnerable thing! Environment impacts our willingness to explore and learn.
Everywhere I have worked has had a physical organization pain point
Each job that I have entered has been in the midst of organizational struggle or change. That’s kind of the nature of both education and non-profit work. When there’s a good deal of change, there’s employee turnover, and where there’s employee turnover, there’s STUFF that nobody knows what to do with. Every building has had a crammed closet (or sometimes an entire room) of stuff that has just existed there for sometimes years. And I have loved being the person to get in there and assess what is in that space and transform it to highly functional! I don’t mind throwing away the stuff that other people are scared to—and I’ve never gotten in trouble for it. I don’t mind hauling things off of shelves, grouping them into how the organization needs it to function, and then rehoming them in that closet. And so I’ve benefited from learning how to organize spaces in ways that make sense and are easy to maintain not only for me, but for the people who follow in my role.
The organization status of my home has a noticeable impact on my mental health
I struggle with depression and anxiety—and am eternally grateful for the existence of my SSRI that makes me feel like myself again. It’s not difficult to look at my home and literally see the status of my mental health. Everything is put away, floors are clear of clutter, and surfaces are clear? I’m taking care of myself. But when piles build up of things that don’t have a home or feel too difficult to put away, then it’s time to check in with my doctor and therapist. The really tricky thing is that my home and my mental health—like many people’s—have a cyclical impact on each other. Mess can trigger depression can trigger mess. Order leads to healing which leads to more order. So I try to incorporate organizing for myself and for others, now, into my self-care routines.
It’s incredible to see a project from start to finish
This is maybe my favorite thing about organizing! With teaching, you don’t get to see how your students turn out long term 99% of the time. With music making, there’s of course a performance, but you don’t know the impact on the audience the majority of the time, simply the quality of the performance by your own standards. Both fields are elusive in their success. Organizing? Piece of cake. I can see a physical transformation take place in front of me. I can literally look at before and after pictures—and post them on Instagram. I can pull survey data from clients who I’ve asked to measure their stress levels before and after projects and see data that reflects our goal of serving our clients. It’s highly satisfying to me to see tangible evidence of success and has prevented me from feeling nearly as burned out as my brain did in previous years. I love a good before and after, and I bet you do too!
If you’re listening to this podcast, you likely love organizing or have organizing goals, too! So the question I would love for you to answer, via email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to tell a friend is this:
What do you like about organizing?
This can be hugely motivational when you need to tackle a project you don’t want to tackle. So let us know what you love and know that you can do it!
Organized YOU! host Taylor Vogel is the Owner &
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