top of page

5 Ways We Sabotage Our Organizing Efforts and How to Stop

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

How our brains keep us from living the life we want to live.

"I feel like I'll be a different person after I declutter, more loving, kinder, gentler."

A client said this to me on a virtual organizing call this week. I 100% agree. Getting organized in a way that works for our individual lives is life and mind changing.

And I think most people know this deep down, so why does it seem so freaking hard to do?!

5 Ways We Sabotage Our Organizing Efforts

  1. We tell ourselves we don't have time

  2. We put things in places they don't belong "just for now"

  3. We tell ourselves "I'm not an organized person"

  4. We stay in overwhelm instead of seeing the one thing we can do now

  5. We tell ourselves a story about it being too hard

How to Stop Self Sabotaging

I only know this because I hear and do these same things! I've battled the habits and thoughts for years, and I'm living testimony that thought work works.

We won't get organized until we organize what our brains are telling us...

1. "I don't have time."

Do we really not have time? Or are we avoiding it? How do we have time for Netflix and reading blogs and scrolling social media, but not clearing our stuff?

How much time, energy and goodness are wasted by NOT taking the time to do whatever it takes to clear the clutter?

Next time this thought pops in, watch yourself for the rest of the day and see if there actually IS some time.

If not, is there something that can be reprioritized? Or someone who can be enlisted to do something for you to free up some time?

Sometimes it takes vacation time - and yes, this can be a vacation. The refreshment that comes when a home is organized goes at least as deep as vacation time and lasts longer.

Sometimes it takes setting a timer for dedicated daily time.

Sometimes it takes hiring a coach.

Sometimes it takes enlisting family member(s) to help.

Sometimes it takes hiring a junk pick up company.

Sometimes it takes a combination, but we have to give ourselves time to think about this seriously...

We often have more time in our days than we tell ourselves we do.

2. "I'll just put this here for now."

Every time we do this, we're essentially punching our Future Self in the gut and giving them something else to feel bad about.

Yes, it's difficult to put things away when they don't have a home, but is there ANYTHING that can be done instead of leaving it in a pile to be dealt with at some unknown future time?

When this thought comes up, try countering it with, "Can I put this away right now instead?"

This might mean throwing something in recycling, or carrying something up the stairs, or taking five minutes to make a decision and a phone call...

3. "I'm not an organized person."

Really? Or did we just never learn and practice what being an organized person means?

Do we just tell ourselves this and leave the thought there to cover our lives in clutter?

When this thought pops up like a broken Eeyore record (you know, the Winnie the Pooh Eeyore...), try replacing it with, "What would an organized person do?" Then do it.

This might mean Googling it (Pinterest and organizing blogs), but be prepared for confusing rabbit holes.

This might mean just looking at the one thing we CAN do right now, like

  • collect all the trash and recycling in a room (or the whole house, or the garage)

  • empty and refill the dishwasher

  • collect a bag or box of clothes (or whatever) we don't want/need/use/love

  • take donations to a donation center

  • clear a counter

  • go through a box and make decisions about each item

When I'm feeling anxious and unorganized, I like to turn off the phone or put it in another room, set a timer, or, if I'm cleaning, I put on a podcast.

I like to work left to right (or right to left) when clearing clutter so I can see my progress.

I hate feeling like I'm endlessly clearing clutter but never see results. Working on ONE area or category at a time, left to right, can change this.

This is getting organized. This doesn't have to be hard.

If it truly gets hard and you can't find your way through, then it's time to connect with a guide - like me! :)

4. "I'm too overwhelmed, I don't know where to start."

We may feel anxiety, frustration or fear when we see aaallll the things we want to organize.

To overcome this, we can replace this thought with, "What's ONE THING I can do right now?"

Then do that thing. See #3.

5. "It's too hard."

Hard is a thought.

Things are only too hard when we tell ourselves they're too hard.

There IS a way through, and we CAN do it.

If Martin Luther King can do what he did in his life...

If a teacher can do what they do every day...

If a Mom can get her kids fed and dressed and off to school...

We CAN do what it takes to organize our homes and lives in a way that feels good and "easy-peasy to clean" as one client put it this week.

We can stop self sabotaging and get organized.

It just takes patience, time, paying attention to our thoughts, and sometimes some support.

I believe in you! I know you can live the life you want to live.

Keep working on replacing the thoughts that lead to more clutter.

Don't stop. And reach out if you feel stuck! You're not alone and there is nothing wrong with you - we're all in this wild human ride together :)



Are you ready to find more happiness and freedom in your home, office, art space, life and mind?

Do you feel called to connect with me?

Please remember that I'm here for you! Reach out if you have questions and/or you feel stuck.

There's no need to struggle with clutter anymore - you're not alone and I can help you feel better right away.

For inspiration and organizing tips in your in-box, join my e-newsletter, Sunbeams. Inspiration only, no spam, I promise :)

110 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page