When I was asked to write about organizing online, I immediately felt optimistic and hopeful, and then a bit nervous. There is SO much to discuss when it comes to organizing – will people find what I have to say useful? Interesting? Worth their time and effort? Meaningful?
What is interesting about my reaction is that similar feelings surface when we think about organizing our space, belongings and, in turn, our life. We feel excited about the change, hopeful about the ease it will bring, and a bit scared that it will be too hard to do and keep up.
As someone who has been interested in the psychological aspects of organizing for some time, it seems like a good time to start and I’m honoured to share my thoughts here.
When we think about “being organized”, perhaps what comes to mind is the notion that everything will be in its place, looking perfect, just like in the magazines. While this may be possible, I think what we’re really looking for is more connection – to our space, our things, and to our lives.
Yes, we have to do something to get organized (make a call, admit we need help, hire professionals, release items, etc.), however, most impactful is how we feel throughout the process.
According to researchers Sandra Sigmon and Stacy Whitcomb, there is a powerful correlation between how we relate to our home and how we relate to the world outside. The more “at home” and “in charge” you feel in your home, the more you will feel “comfortable” and “in control” outside of it. The decisions and actions undertaken in our “psychological home” have immediate and lasting effects outside of the home as well.
In another study, researchers Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Eugene Rochberg-Halton found that people who described home as “warm and welcoming” were more likely to feel connected in the larger community, while people who described their home as “disorderly and cold” felt less connected to others.
So much of the organizational process is about uncovering how we feel about our space and stuff, and how we extend those feelings outwards. In our increasingly fast-paced, high stressed 24-7 world, taking action that makes us feel more in control, connected and happier, sounds like a great way to move forward.
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