With the New Year often comes the resolutions to change your life for the better. One of the big goals people often set their sights on, but get too overwhelmed with, is organization.

Samantha Kristoferson and Emilio Jose Garcia of KW Professional Organizers know this feeling all too well.

“We took everything that somebody has ever written us and we tried to look for the common themes involved in [what people found the most challenging about getting organized], and the top three common themes for people are: the complete feeling of overwhelm, not having time and not knowing where to start,” Kristoferson said.

The urge to get organized is appearing in our culture increasingly with pieces such as Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Concepts such as minimalism are also growing in popularity, not only for aesthetic purposes, but for mental health and environmental reasons, too.

“I think what’s happening is that we are bombarded by stuff: physical stuff, a lot of digital stuff, a lot of information. We are demanding a lot from each other, companies are demanding a lot from us, life in general is demanding a lot from us, and our expectations are so high that people are craving simplicity, people are craving less things, less distractions, and more joy, more fulfillment,” Garcia said.

These problems and goals are all too familiar to those of us attempting to get organized in the New Year, but throughout the year, organization is growing in popularity across the country.

“In Canada, [professional organizing has] existed for over 17 years. Professional Organizers in Canada is our national association and it currently represents 683 registered professional organizers across the country from Vancouver all the way to Newfoundland,” Kristoferson said.

When it comes to getting started, both organizers stated the importance of knowing your intentions behind getting organized.

“What we need to do is understand what is it that you want to achieve, and why? If [you] can understand that, going through [the organization] process is going to be easier,” Garcia explained.

The importance of reflecting on why you are aiming to organize your space is important to the process, but for lasting results, it is critical to understand where these motivations have come from.

“The reality is, if you don’t feel like it’s something that’s motivated from inside of you, if it’s someone telling you you should do those things, don’t do it until you feel you’re ready to take on that step … Then you’ll probably see longer lasting change because it’s internal,” Kristoferson said.

Choosing what to keep and what to throw away can be an intimidating part of the de-cluttering process.

“Once we get started, one of the challenges everyone faces is making decisions, especially when it comes to items that were expensive or are emotional because they came from a family member,” Garcia said.

Kristoferson continued by explaining that just dealing with the clutter can oftentimes be the biggest hurdle.

“Everything that you keep, whether it be digital or physical, requires time, energy, and your attention. So just know that if you’re keeping something, eventually you’re going to have to deal with it,” Kristoferson pointed out.

Organization can be a complex process, but the results are increasingly important to recognize what we have. Kristoferson refers to the “economy of abundance” we live in, where we have access to so many products that it allows for easy accumulation of clutter. The
Waterloo Region is equipped with several removal services, donation centres and thrift stores that are ready to accept things you no longer have use for. This recycling of goods allows for better environmental solutions through the sharing of things, and as Garcia pointed out, it often makes letting go of things easier, knowing that someone else will be using them. As well as benefiting the community, organization allows for empowerment at home.

“I think that by having a clear space,” Kristoferson reflected, “by feeling like we have some control over things and knowing what you have, where it is, and getting access to it, gives you this ability to say: nothing can stand in my way.”