Does it surprise you when you see organizing experts working on organizing projects? The reason I ask is this. When I organize alongside my online class participants, inadvertently someone is surprised that I have an organizing project to do in my home. Does this surprise you, too? If so, you may believe that once someone gets organized that’s the end of it. Staying organized just happens. The truth is, being organized is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. You have to take steps to maintain the order you created while getting organized. Which means, to stay organized, you will very often have an organizing project or two on your to-do list.

For someone like me who enjoys the process of getting organized, this is terrific news! There will always be a fun and rewarding organizing project on my list. But, if you don’t enjoy the organizing process, this news can be quite sobering. Regardless of which camp you’re in, the trick to staying organized is to find your preferred style.

Are you a proactive organizer or a reactive organizer?

With proactive organizing, you diligently maintain your organizing systems, taking action before things get too far out of control. One might expect that most professional organizers fall into this category, maintaining a relatively organized home at all times. This organizer, however, does not. Remember, I enjoy the process of organizing, in large part because I enjoy the visual transformation. So, I actually prefer to let things get a bit messy before I step in and maintain my organizing systems. This means my approach to staying organized is more reactive.

If you’re just setting out to get more organized, then chances are good you’re more of a reactive organizer. You wait until you can’t stand the clutter any more and then you take action. The potential downside to this approach is that if you wait too long, the clutter may become so overwhelming that you begin to feel paralyzed and don’t know where to start. (If you’re currently feeling this way, be sure to check out my mini guide Help! I don’t Know Where to Begin!) If you often find yourself feeling overwhelmed by clutter, then consider proactive maintenance strategies, instead of being reactive.

Organized Drawer

Proactive organizing is best for you if:

  • You don’t enjoy the process of getting organized.
  • Clutter makes you feel overwhelmed or even paralyzed.
  • You’re short on time.

Reactive organizing can work for you if:

  • You enjoy the process of getting organized and feel a sense of excitement or satisfaction when you transform a messy space.
  • You don’t get easily overwhelmed by clutter.
  • You enjoy spending your free time working on organizing projects.

Your mission for today is to consider which approach works best for you and share your thoughts in the comments. Then, stay tuned! In my next quick tip (blog post) I’ll share organizing maintenance strategies that will work great for your organizing style.

Happy Organizing!

blue Aby



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Aby Garvey is a creative organizing expert and simplify 101’s founder. She has created 14 online organizing classes, which she has been teaching since 2007, helping thousands of people around the world get organized. Aby loves to help people create positive change in their lives through her online classes and organizing eBooks.