Let’s get something out of the way: you are not a failure because you have clutter.
Everyone has clutter to some degree. If keeping clutter under control is a challenge, grab a bag of candy (and not just because chocolate can make you feel better.) Candy can actually help you find your sweet spot for organizing and it’s one of the ways I connect with audiences at speaking engagements.
Here’s how it works. I give each person in the room a bag containing eight pieces of assorted candy. There’s usually chocolate, hard candies, soft candies, colored candies, and gummies. After the bags are distributed I instruct the audience to organize the contents of their candy bag.
The looks I get are priceless. Everyone wants to know how they should be organizing the candy, but the only instruction I give is simply, “Organize it.”
It’s fascinating to watch what happens. Some people organize by color, others group like shapes together, some people organize based on texture and group hard candies together and soft candies in another pile. Everyone organizes differently and everyone in the room can see that just by looking around. There is no right or wrong.
The activity helps to illustrate that organizing comes down to personal preference. If you don’t organize like your mom, or your aunt, or your best friend, it doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. We all have different personalities. That’s really important to understand because a lot of times we’ll stop ourselves before we even get started. An organizing project can get derailed by thinking, “Oh, I can’t do it like my mom, I’m a failure.” Or “I can’t do it like my friend, so why even start?”
If you don’t organize like your mom, or your aunt, or your best friend, it doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong. We all have different personalities.
You don’t have to organize like your mom. The way your friend does it might not work for you. Organizing is as personal as your taste in home décor or music.
When I make this point using a bag of candy there’s visual proof that people approach organizing in different ways. I can almost see lightbulbs going on throughout the room and the realization that it’s not wrong to organize differently than mom does.
You are not a failure. You do have a unique personality and organizing style that suits you perfectly. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Take some time to find your organizing sweet spot.
If you’re stumped (or keep eating the candy instead of organizing it) I would be happy to work with you on your next project. Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can get started.