Day and Night: An Organized Work Area May Not Translate in Home Tidiness

September 8, 2015|
Messy living room with clothes and other stuff

Messy living room with clothes and other stuff

By Marin Rose, Organizing Coach, Libra Organizing

Quite a few of my residential organizing clients wonder aloud why they’re overwhelmed by household paperwork and tasks. “At work,” they say, “I’ve got it all together.”

The truth is that being organized isn’t necessarily consistent from one area of life to another. We tend to seek order where it comes naturally to us, where we’ve had a strong example of it or where it’s most critical to our survival. It’s common for people who are disorganized at home to be quite the opposite in the workplace, for several reasons.

Work is highly defined whereas home life is not. Job descriptions and organizational charts make clear to us what is expected of us at work. In the corporate sphere, roles and responsibilities are systematically defined and delegated. At home, there’s no hierarchy dictating how to prioritize.

Positive role models abound in the workplace but not necessarily in the home. Most of us are eyewitnesses to organized employees before we even hit the workforce. Teachers, professors and mentors throughout our lives have probably exposed us to some form of organization. For those raised in organizationally challenged families, the same example has not been offered in the home setting.

Consequences of disorganization on the job are immediate and severe. Tardiness and lack of preparedness at work can get us into embarrassing situations and even jeopardize our employment. At home, the consequences take longer to materialize and can be more subtle.

Understanding what causes organized behavior at work can help us apply similar principles at home.

Develop a mission for your family and assign roles to each member. Priorities at home are just as important as priorities at work. Define the top goals for your household and decide how each person will contribute. Is saving money a top priority? Freeing up more time for fun? Reducing conflict in the household? What are the daily, weekly and monthly tasks that each person will perform in pursuit of those goals?

Find a role model – and become one, too. There’s no shortage of guidance these days about running an organized household. Whether it’s a friend or family member, an Internet resource or a professional organizer, find someone to help you make positive change at home. And be the example to your kids that you never had. The lifelong benefits to them will be astounding.

Recognize the consequences. There’s no one to fire you from your job as head of household, even if you wish there were. But the consequences of living without order at home often means you’re living with a lack of intention in your personal life. The wasted money, squandered time and seeping energy that disorder requires is not as devastating as the missed opportunity to choose your path and enjoy your home.

If you’ve got it together at work, you know you can do it at home. The first step is to recognize the value of making your personal life as much of a priority as your professional life.

Get organized among friends! Starting September 1, I will offer a series of 8 workshop sessions Tuesdays 5:30 – 7 p.m. at Whole Foods Augusta. Topics will range from letting go of stuff to paper management and more. Contact me for more information.

Professional Organizing Coach Marin Rose of Libra Organizing is celebrating five years organizing people’s spaces and lives to help them become happier and more productive – and less stressed. Contact Marin at  to schedule a free organizing assessment in your home or office, or to hire her as a speaker.

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