Exercising your [decluttering] muscles

13 May 2013

Since October, I’ve been trying to go to the fitness studio that I belong to, Take Action three times a week. Due to some circumstances I won’t go into here, I hadn’t been able to go for almost two weeks. But I managed to get there yesterday.

My workouts had been getting progressively easy over the last six months. But yesterday, I found my workout challenging. And tiring.

As I was using the elliptical machine, I thought about how, once again, exercising can be compared with the process of decluttering and organizing.

In the process of decluttering and organizing, you make decision after decision. At the beginning, that can be really tough, particularly since decision-making tends to be tough for people with a lot of clutter (otherwise they wouldn’t have a lot of clutter). It can be hard to get started and painful once you do. But once you’ve been at it awhile, it gets easier. You have less resistance. And you get faster. Just like exercising.

I have a wonderful client who once referred to exercising her decision-making muscle. Before working with me, even small decisions were sometimes challenging. But after our work together, daily decisions became easy and clutter never reappeared.

The key is regular exercise. And regular decision making. That’s how you keep from getting overwhelmed in these arenas. Doing something—anything—toward reaching your (exercise or organizing) goals is so much better than doing nothing, because it keeps the momentum going.

I’m happy to say that I’ll be at the gym again this morning and am back on the path to thrice-weekly workouts. I anticipate it getting easy again and know it will stay that way as long as I keep going there regularly!

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Janine, great post as always. I use another analogy that highlights a similarity between organizing and exercising. I hate to exercise, so I have a personal trainer who comes to my home twice a week. This ensures that I do it. While many other people can get themselves to the gym of their own volition, I know that without someone keeping me accountable, I won’t do it.

Similarly, some people know that they should get organized but they can’t get started on their own. They need a Professional Organizer to work with them to ensure that it gets done.

Needing help to do that something that others can do on their own doesn’t make someone a failure. It’s all about recognizing who they are and knowing where they need some assistance.

Sharon Lowenheim 05/15/2013 10:46 AM

I agree about the personal trainer/professional organizer comparison. In fact, I wrote a blog post about that, to which I linked in this post. There are so many ways that exercise and organizing are analogous.

Thanks for your comment, Sharon!

Janine Adams 05/15/2013 08:18 PM

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About Janine

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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