Getting Organized: The Power of Clumping

My client stood in the middle of her home office looking overwhelmed and harried. “What a mess! I don’t know where to start!” How often have you felt that way? Without a word I began clumping like items together. Mary Kay products in one area, cassette tapes and CDs in another area, paper in another area. When I left that day, the room still had way too much in it, but everything was sorted into piles of like items.

Two weeks later I returned and was surprised to learn that my client had not only organized much of her Mary Kay products, but she’d also sorted and filed papers for over two hours. How remarkable! You see, this client had been diagnosed with ADHD. In the 13 years I’ve been helping people clear clutter and get organized, I cannot recall a single client who had spent two hours sorting paper by themselves after one of my visits, much less one with ADHD. ADHD is a brain disorder with deficits in executive functioning that make dealing with paper seem like an impossible nightmare. I was astounded. Paper is one of the toughest things to organize for anyone, and is definitely at the top of the list of organizing tasks that are avoided like the plague!

My client had no clue that what she had accomplished was remarkable. She said, “When the paper was all over the room, I couldn’t even begin to think about going through it. But, once it was all in one place, it was much easier to do.” That is the power of clumping. Once like items are all in one place, it’s much easier to deal with them, both psychologically and energetically. When items are all over the place, it’s as though their energy is calling to you from all different directions. It’s just impossible to wrap your brain around what to do with them. Put them all together and you’re ready for action.

So, the next time you are faced with an overwhelming organizing challenge, first clump like items together. Don’t make decisions about the items you’re clumping, unless it’s a no-brainer to discard them. Making decisions will distract you from clumping and slow the clumping process. Once you have groupings of like items, then go back to each grouping, working from the largest to the smallest items, and make decisions about what to keep, what to pitch and how to containerize items. Experience the power of clumping!

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