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Vicki's Corner


Getting Organized

Living Upside-Down

Vicki Norris
Restoring Order

CBN.comMy house was torn apart, not by a tornado or a natural disaster but by new carpet. Everything (and I do mean everything) from upstairs had to come downstairs or be crammed into the teeny laundry room or two bathrooms. For such a small home, we were shocked by the way our stuff took on a life of its own.

And the way my husband “groups” items when he brings them downstairs reveals that he has never been through the Restoring Order training program! In short, most of my belongings are spread high, low, long, and wide throughout my house. Yesterday I wore the same clothes from the prior day because my dressers were blocked by piles of furniture and boxes. I wore my glasses all day because I couldn’t get to my contacts. Isn’t it good to know that yours truly—an organizing expert—sometimes deals with disorder, too?!

This state of chaos, even though I knew it would be very temporary, has been extremely painful for me. I haven’t known what to do next, I’ve been tired to the point of retreating  to my bed (which one night was square in the middle of my office!), and I’ve been crabby with everyone around me. I’ve even shed some tears of overwhelm as I’ve surveyed the unfamiliar and haphazard scene.  This uncomfortable state of affairs has even has affected my ability to work! I had a big proposal due yesterday and had to carve out enough surface space to work, trying hard not to look around me. There is exactly one place to sit in my living room and my dog found it, too.

Yet, I am thankful for this life interruption.  And not just because now I have a squishy new carpet pad and furry threads underfoot . This experience has given me another reminder about the physical, mental, and spiritual connection between order and quality of life.

Mind you, I don’t have a militaristically organized home; I don’t believe order is about perfection or having all the latest household fashions. Yet, it IS orderly and comfortable and pleasant (although dusty at times, which is why I have dimmers on my light switches!) At any time I can invite people in, even if the couch pillows are rumpled or if new stuff has temporarily assaulted my kitchen counters or if the Radio Flyer tricycle is illegally parked in the hallway. I have systems and destinations for things, so that when new paper and stuff arrives, things get cleared daily. It’s a home that works and is a joy to live in.

Thanks to my carpet, I have another reminder about what it feels like to be disorganized. Folks tell me all the time that they feel like they’re drowning or suffocating because of their out-of-control space. They report that it’s hard to function on a daily basis and focus on what they need to do. This is no way to live.

My upside-down state of affairs at home is thankfully short-lived. But sadly, for many people this search for belongings, this nonsensical jumble, this feeling of being helplessly stuck underground, is a way of life. To you, I say “there is hope!” Disorganization IS recoverable. With dedicated time and a commitment to “go the distance” to whatever it takes to dig out, you CAN reclaim your space and all that you lost in the jumble.

If you’re disorganized, may you be encouraged to take back lost territory. You may have to launch a full-frontal attack, but you will get it back with time and resolve. If you’re organized, may you relish the order in your home, which protects your daily routine, your priorities, and even your sanity! And remember to take those life interruptions in stride (I’m learning, too!).  Tonight I’ll be dusting and folding laundry (now that I can get to my washing machine) and putting back drawers into dressers thinking of all of you, wishing you right-side-up living.

About the Author: Vicki Norris is an expert organizer, business owner, speaker, television personality, and author who inspires people to live out their priorities. She is author of Reclaim Your Life™ © 2007 by Vicki Norris and of Restoring Order™ to Your Home, © 2007, a room-by-room household organizing guide, both published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR (available now at Norris is a regular on HGTV’s nationally syndicated Mission: Organization, and is a recurrent source and contributor to national lifestyle publications including Quick & Simple magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, and Real Simple magazine.

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