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Blog: Can We Have Some Order Here?
A Little Bit About My Organizing Philosophy Before We Start

Before I start offering advice about how to organize your life, I thought that you might want to know a little bit about me -- my organizing philosophy, my background, etc. That way, you won't have to say, "Why the hell should I listen to your suggestions?" -- and we can get right down to work helping you create some order.

My Background

I have been a Professional Organizer since 1998. Prior to that, I was a Social Worker, running a welfare-to-work program at the Atlanta Housing Authority. I hold a BSW and a Master's degree in Urban Planning -- my goal was to provide affordable housing to the masses. Unfortunately, working for government (underpaid and unappreciated) didn't suit me -- so I struck out on my own. I've always been sort of anal-retentive (my mother was a child of the Depression and never threw anything away), so I learned to be organized early in self-defense.

I am a Golden Circle member of NAPO (the National Association Of Professional Organizers) and spent 9 years developing the award-winning website www.OnlineOrganizing.com. However, once my husband and I became full-time RVers, I chose to sell the site and return to working directly with clients. I provide hands-on organizing services, workshops, and simplicity coaching for those who want to bring their lives back into alignment with their true priorities. I love what I do and get a huge thrill when I can help a client regain control in life.

My Organizing Philosophy

There are a lot of misconceptions floating around about what it means to get organized (especially with the proliferation of shows like "Clean Sweep" and "Mission Organization" -- which simultaneously encourage people to clear out the clutter, and lead them to erroneously believe it will happen in a weekend. Only with a crew of 20 working for you!)

I don't want anyone wandering into my blog, mistakenly thinking that they will put in a day or two of sorting, and life will be wonderful -- so I need to take a second to clear up a few myths Here it is in a nutshell:

  • if you think, "I've always been disorganized and I'll never be able to change," you're wrong -- organizing is a skill just like tying your shoes, and you simply have to be taught how to get and stay organized
  • if you think, "It takes too much time to organize," you're wrong -- it may take time to clean out the clutter and learn the organizing techniques, but a good system does most of the work for you and actually saves you time in the long run
  • if you think, "I'll just hire an organizer to come in and do it for me and that will get me organized," you're wrong -- an organizer can help you clear up the backlog and learn the necessary skills, but YOU are going to have to learn how to maintain those changes YOURSELF
  • if you think, "I'll just do a clean sweep and get my house in order over the weekend," you're wrong -- try and do that, and you'll get overwhelmed -- it's much better to tackle one small piece, let that change sink in, and move on to the next

Organizing is a process, like exercising -- you can't expect to have a new body overnight. It takes time to burn away the flab and build up muscle -- and then you must work at it every day to maintain your results. It's the same with clearing out the clutter and building good organizing habits. Sorry, there is no easy solution.

Cure The Illness, Not Just The Symptoms

You see, the stacks, the piles, the overflowing in-box, the rushing around because you're always late -- they aren't the problem, these are just symptoms of the problem. Something is causing your life to malfunction in a way that creates disorganization -- my job is to help you dig deep and find those roadblocks, then eliminate them. All the surface stuff -- like the type of filing system you use, how your closet is organized, the way the mail gets processed every day, when you set aside time for your weekly "to-do's" -- should be designed to help you work around those roadblocks. A change in your environment can encourage a permanent shift in your organizational habits -- but you also need to work on the inner issues at the same time:

  • First, you must learn the "why" of organizing -- my blog will help you pinpoint exactly what is causing your disorganization and offer steps for tackling those problem areas.
  • Second, you must learn the "how" of getting organized -- I will teach you  a variety of easy-to-understand organizing techniques that you can implement yourself. Do you hear that "yourself" part? You won't need to keep hiring an organizer to come back again and again -- you will be able to keep it under control on your own.
  • Third, you will need to acquire (and learn to use) the appropriate organizing supplies -- when appropriate, I will recommend containers, shelving, racks, calendars, folders, desk accessories, drawer dividers, etc. will work for your situation (and tell you where you can buy them).
  • Fourth, you will need to implement systems that will help you maintain the changes you've made -- my blog will teach you proven methods for handling paper, managing your workload, scheduling activities, tackling projects, and staying on top of all your stuff, so that the clutter and overload and disorganization never come back again.

So, When Are You Going To Use That Again?

My clients joke that a lot of what I do is ask annoying questions (and I'll be doing the same in my blog) -- "When are you going to use that again?" or "What purpose does it serve in your life?" or "What's the worst thing that would happen if you got rid of it?"

But what I'm really doing is helping you to become aware of the traps you've fallen into over the years -- the excuses you have for hanging on to things and paper and activities that do nothing to improve your quality of life (and may actually be detracting from it). I'm forcing you to move beyond the clutter of indecision and make a conscious choice about what to keep and what to toss.

My blog will never tell you to get rid of anything you cherish, but it will ask you to articulate why something you haven't used in 20 years has value to you. Most importantly, it will give you permission to let go of any area of your life that isn't working. Are you ready to begin?

read the original post of this blog

posted on: 10/15/2009 11:30:00 AM by Ramona Creel
category: General Organizing Tips

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Discuss This Post

by TORY RYDER on 10/16/2009 1:18:59 AM:

you got my attention with" what are you going to do with that" I am a saver after my "living through the Great Depression Mother" I needed to hear the WHY again. Thanks for mucho info in the first blog i read. you go girl.. Im comming onboard.. tr

by Ramona on 10/16/2009 8:16:48 AM:

wonderful! I hope you enjoy future posts!

by SopePapyPloma on 2/3/2010 5:31:19 AM:

nice answers i like it

by dissertation writing on 1/21/2012 1:21:25 PM:

Excellent post! I think you've encapsulated the mission of this blog and our challenge.

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Can We Have Some Order Here?

by Ramona Creel

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About Ramona:

I have been a Professional Organizer for more than 10 years, I am a NAPO Golden Circle member, and I was the original founder of OnlineOrganizing. I have worked one-on-one with scores of clients and have trained dozens of newbie organizers as they got started in the industry. I provide both hands-on and virtual coaching to help clients improve their organizing skills and simplify their lives. I invite you to visit my website at http://www.RamonaCreel.com, and I challenge you to find one new idea that you can put into practice in your life, to help you become better organized, starting TODAY! I am passionate about coaching folks toward a more balanced, productive, and enjoyable life -- and I firmly believe that if I can do it, so can you!

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