Have you ever looked at someone’s impeccably organized home on social media and asked yourself, How did they do that? Why can’t I do that? Why am I so disorganized? Why don’t you have the same skills and motivation to get your pantry in order? To color coordinate your books?
The truth is, many people aren’t naturally organized. They may be organized in some areas of their life, but not in others.
Being organized can be an innate ability or it can be taught. I’m certain you’ve heard people say organizing comes naturally to them. Even so, organization is a trait that must be learned, applied, and adapted.
But what if you’ve read books about organizing? What if you had a professional organizer come in and help you out? What if you’ve done everything you possibly can to learn how to be organized, but you can’t seem to figure it out?
First of all, you’re not broken or lazy. Being organized is a skill that requires constant adaptation. Sometimes systems we use fail. Sometimes how we used to organize isn’t the way that works for us now.
You have to adapt and be flexible.
So why am I so disorganized?
There are many reasons why some people are not naturally organized.
You were never taught.
As kids, we learn by watching the adults around us. How many times have you seen a child do the exact same mannerism as their parent? What about your own kids? Do they mimic anything you do?
One reason you may be disorganized is that you were never taught. Perhaps your parents weren’t the most organized people. Maybe your home — growing up — was in a perpetual state of an organized mess. You became comfortable with that and it’s how you now live. Items may not have specific homes, but you know exactly where everything is.
You were never interested.
Everyone has different hobbies. Some people are into coin collecting. Others love to spend hours doing complicated puzzles. Hobbies are as individual as the person doing them. So one reason you may be disorganized is that you were never interested in learning how to be.
You might look at social media and see organized homes and go, “Eh, not for me.” If you aren’t interested, your motivation is already low. And if you’re forced to do something you’re not interested in, you feel resentment towards it.
You have a brain-based condition.
Being organized is a laborious skill. But it’s also a mental one. Organization requires attention and focus. You need to figure out a new method if one way doesn't work. You might need to do a lot of trial and error. This can be tough if you have a brain-based condition.
This can include ADHD, depression, anxiety disorder, or a learning disability. Yes, if you have one of these you can certainly be organized in specific areas. Children with ADHD have an uncanny ability to organize their toys while playing. Not in the traditional sense, but they may line their toys up.
Sometimes having things too well organized can add to your anxiety. It’s important to find a balance and organize within your means.
You’re overextending your responsibility.
Single parents and caregivers handle a lot in a single day. They make sure the people they care for - children, aging parents - have everything they need. Then they need to make sure they're taking care of themselves.
Your responsibilities have a very specific priority order. Learning how to be organized could be on the lowest rung of your ladder. If you’re overextending your reach, the last thing you want to do is add something to your list that isn’t a priority. Focus on the things that matter and organize when you can.
You have a physical-based condition.
I mentioned before how organizing is a laborious activity. It requires moving, shifting items around, and finding the best system that works for you. This can be hard to do when you have a physical-based condition that makes consistent movement difficult.
People with Fibromyalgia, Endometriosis, or even Diabetes for example can find it hard to be on their feet for long periods of time. And of course, as you age, your body tires faster. If you have one of these conditions, it’s not your fault. Even if your brain is wired for organization, it’s hard to follow through when your strength is depleted. Do what you can, when you can.
You’re going through a situational life transition.
With COVID restrictions lifting, people are getting back into the workplace. For some, this may be going back to jobs they had. For others, it could be finding new ones. If you recently got a new job, are moving, or dealing with other situational life transitions, organizing your life isn't even on your radar. Or it is and you don't have the time to figure things out.
When you’re going through big life transitions, your focus is on getting through it. Deaths in the family, becoming a new parent, or opening a business are all transitions you could be going through. While it helps to be a little organized during this time, it doesn’t pay to add one more thing to your already crazy new schedule.
If you fall into one of these categories, there is nothing wrong with that. I repeat: There is nothing wrong with that. With you. You’re not a failure if you can’t organize well. You may simply be unable to or don’t have the bandwidth to take it on at this moment.
Whatever your reasons, you are not broken.
Is there a way for a disorganized person to become organized?
There’s always a way to learn how to be organized. You don’t have to become a professional organizer, but if you want to learn a few basic organizing foundations, it’s possible.
First, stop asking yourself over and over again, Why am I so disorganized? Instead, ask yourself, How can I be more organized?
Change your mindset. Remove the word “disorganized” from your vocabulary. Use the word “create” instead. Create is a little less intimidating than organize. Create a system that works for you instead of organizing one. Practice gratitude. Every day, say or write down three things you’re grateful for. You’ll be surprised how a little gratitude can shift your mindset into a positive and creative one.
Take notes. There are countless studies showing the benefits of writing things down. We remember things more that way. Start by brain-dumping all the things on your mind onto paper. It could be tasks you want to do, things that annoy you, or observations. Take some time and write it down. Then select items you need to prioritize.
Prioritize. The most organized people know what they need to prioritize. This could be a task, a person, or an activity. If you focus on prioritizing what you need to do, you’ll become more organized. Don’t overachieve. Focus on one priority a day, no matter how big or small.
Take it slow. Go at your own pace. Forcing yourself to become organized when you aren’t ready isn’t going to solve anything. Focus on practicing the other three habits and organize slowly. You may not have to organize every aspect of your life. Focus on the areas that need it most and don’t worry about the rest.
Becoming an organized person won’t happen overnight. It’ll take patience, resilience, and effort. So the next time you ask yourself, Why am I so disorganized? take a step back. Don’t fall into an abyss of negative self-talk. Remember — you’re not broken if you can’t organize. You’re not lazy if your organizational skills are lacking compared to others.
Take a look at that list again. Do you fall into any of those categories? If you do, there’s no reason to despair. Everyone has different strengths. If organizing isn’t one of yours, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. But it doesn’t have to be your endgame. At Dexterous Organizing, we help our clients with basic organization projects. We listen to your individual goals and assist in sorting, editing, categorizing, or re-zoning.
Your journey to a more organized life doesn’t have to fall on just your shoulders. If you constantly ask yourself, “Why am I so disorganized?”, contact us today. Let our professionals guide you through the process. We'll train you into becoming the type of organized individual you need and would like to be.
And make sure you follow us on Instagram. We post daily organizing tips as well as transformational before and after photos.