NAPO Michigan Blog / Media Center

The Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers invites you to explore this blog so you can be informed of the latest news, events and trends in the organizing industry.

July 1, 2011

5 Survival Tips for the Chronically Disorganized

Chronic disorganization can negatively impact an individual’s quality of life on a daily basis. This can be due to past or current disorganization. Often, past attempts at organizing have been unsuccessful for creating long term success. The National Association of Professional Organizers in Michigan (NAPO-MI) wants to share their top five most helpful tips for individuals that are chronically disorganized.

1. Just Start - There is no perfect place to start, everyplace has its benefits and drawbacks. It may be helpful to start in a place that will give you some visual results and contain a limited amount of emotionally charged items. What is important and crucial to your success is that you do start, focus on one place at a time and remain committed to the process.

2. Know Your Vision - Decide what it is that you want to accomplish. Then, break up your task into manageable pieces.

3. Revise The Plan That Worked The Best - Look at your organizing attempts from the past and figure out the components of each attempt that were helpful to you. Incorporate these into a new plan. Your plan doesn’t have to look like or resemble anyone else’s to be completely effective for you. There is no one right way to do something but there can be a way that works best for you. Be creative in making a tailor made system. If a system doesn’t work then tweak the system to make improvements. Don’t feel you need to completely start over each time.

4. Get Some Support - Since disorganization has been a recurrent problem for you most of your adult life, you may be wary of failure or condemnation. Enlist some help from supportive friends or family members. A professional organizer and a counselor can be extremely helpful in supporting you in your organizing endeavor.

5. Be Patient - It may take awhile to get everything organized and all your systems developed as you would like. Focus on the progress that you are making and reward yourself for the things that you do accomplish.

“People who have struggled with disorganization most of their lives often believe they will never get organized, but they absolutely can make improvements with help from professionals trained specifically in chronic disorganization,” said Chapter member Debbie Stanley PLLC, CPO-CD®.

Overcoming chronic disorganization can be possible with a little help. For more organizing tips, visit

Article submitted by Chapter member Stacy Rafalko CPO-CD®.