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Organize your life: Start with a crisis

As much as I love and adore the Christmas season, with every sparkly light and gaily-wrapped gift the time I think of as organizing season comes ever closer. With the end of the year comes W2s, filing, a mess of receipts and never-opened bank statements. How will it all get organized in time?

This year, though, we're starting early. It's not because I got hit by a virtuous bug; no, it's because my five-year-old son has been struggling with behavioral issues in school and his developmental pediatrician has prescribed order. Not only will we have to simplify the playroom, but also my prodigious piles of paper and digital media.

We need help. As luck would have it, this week a friend-of-a-friend decided that it was her destiny to start an organization business. She's a whiz at it, and met with me for an hour yesterday. I thought her philosophy was brilliant, and I'll share it with you.

Laura said that, in order to truly organize your life (and make it stick) you need three things:
  1. A major upheaval. For most people, it's a move, a serious life change (starting a family, sending a child to college, a divorce), or a calamity. For us, it was a crisis of the psychological kind. But silver linings abound, right?
  2. A commitment to the process of change. If you can't bear to get rid of that t-shirt from the 1996 Olympics that you've never worn, not once, it's not going to work.
  3. A good marketing plan. You've got to convince all your stakeholders (a.k.a. your family) why their life is going to be vastly better!
It may take a crisis to get me to put all the toys in bins and open my bank statements when I get the mail each day, but by golly, it will change my life, and it will give my son the tools he needs to survive elementary school. And that's something.

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