when not to organize

You might be surprised if you thought I would say “Anytime is a good time to organize!” but there really are times when you shouldn’t try.

After a huge loss, such as death, divorce or job termination, you’re not usually in a position to make good decisions. Right now, my house is a hot mess because my mother is critically ill and I can’t find the energy to make good decisions. I’m not happy about the piles of stuff, but I also know that it’s only temporary. I do the little bit I’m capable of and defer the rest.

When you’re so tired from making decisions all day that you don’t have any energy left to think about where to put things, don’t force yourself. Taking on extra work or family responsibilities, having a baby or starting a new job can create tension and exhaustion.

You don’t have to do everything yourself. When you’re physically unable to organize, ask for help when possible.

If you anticipate big changes, you can set up systems ahead of time to minimize disruption. Knowing where things go and being able to put them away easily will reduce clutter. During difficult times, don’t demand more from yourself than you are able to do. Productivity can suffer, but you don’t have to.

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