How the DECORganize Method was Born

Organizing is soooo boring when you are a creative type of person! Sort, purge. See, store. Quantify, qualify, sort purge. Sound familiar? If you’ve read any organizing books in the hopes of getting organized, no doubt you have read “sort and purge” over and over again. Or qualify and quantify. Or any other variation of going through your stuff, getting it all in one place, and then deciding what to do with it.

The problem with the traditional methods of organizing is that it leads to burn out. That’s right, if you’ve ever worked with a professional organizer before, you know that organizing is a really strenuous and exhausting practice. Each item has to be gone through and the inevitable question of “Do you want this?” is asked many, many times throughout the organizing project.

Another problem for many with the traditional “Sort, purge” organizing formula is that for many, the room or project at hand does not stay organized. It’s hard to keep up with the constant influx of stuff, and you haven’t worked with a professional organizer in a while…and…and…and…

Many people start working with a professional organizer and then freeze the project because the questions and the purging just get too difficult. In professional organizing land, these people are known as the “Chronically Disorganized”. There is a National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization and the goal of the group is to educate professional organizers on how to get through to these frequently backsliding clients.

But the main problem with lasting organization is that if you are creative, most likely, you cannot get organized the same way others do. That’s because you need beauty in your life.

You’re in luck! A new method of organizing is born! My method is called DECORganize. I formulated it after working several years with a long-term client/friend. This woman could not even throw away her child’s scribbles. Nada. One day, my client decided she wanted to do a little decorating. Some curtains, some color, etc. She would call me to look at paint samples and I was happy to oblige, although I didn’t see what this had to do with organizing, frankly!

After a while, this client had added the touches to her home and invited me to see them. I was completely astounded at the transformation of her home! Where was the clutter? It used to be that the clutter was falling out of her closets, children’s books that she couldn’t part with were filling up her bookshelves, stashes of old kids toys were being saved “just in case”, etc, etc, etc. The clutter was gone! She had a yard sale for charity and sold all of the kids toys and books, something she would NEVER do when I was working with her, and her place was simply elegant.

I asked her what her secret was. She told me that when she started making her house beautiful, the rooms were becoming special- and “sacrosanct”, was the word she used. Since her home was now beautiful, she didn’t want to clutter it up again!

I began doing this with all of my sentimental clients who were previously unable to get organized. Decorating and rearranging first, and then organizing, hence the name DECORganize ™.

The method may seem quite backwards to the traditionally organized person, but if you are traditionally organized, you probably aren’t reading this far (unless you are a professional organizer 🙂

I am still amazed when I think about my client. This was a person who would definitely be considered “chronically disorganized” struggling with disorganization for more than 10 years. But because she is CREATIVE, she needed beauty to get her started on the road to organizing.

And so, the DECORganize formula was born. I worked it on another client. A woman whose kids were all grown and had all of the Parenting magazines saved from when they were little, crying over every one because she had wanted another child after her 3 and never did have one. She wanted to save birthday cards from people she didn’t even remember who they were, a very sentimental woman. After feeling frustrated and sad seeing her so distraught over her items and the stuck energy that was permeating the room, I suggested we do a “blitz”. I said, “Let’s rearrange the furniture of your bedroom and make it gorgeous, and see how you feel afterwards.” We both needed a break!

We emptied the room enough so the furniture would have room to be moved around, shifted the position of her bed and other furniture-giving her master bedroom a more romantic feel with the king sized bed now resting under the window in the center of the room rather than off to a corner, where it was before.

We finished moving things around and she loved it! Then I said, “Okay, let’s get the boxes of clutter back in so we can decide what to keep and where things should go.” She said, “OOOOOhhh no you don’t! I’m not bringing those boxes of clutter back in here! It’s going to mess up my room!”

Do you see where I’m going with this? My sentimental client, who had previously been unable to part with ANYTHING, was now telling me that she didn’t want any of her stuff back in her room! Either she would look at it later, or just dump the whole lot of it into a garbage can, she didn’t care!

I believe that DECORganize works best for people who are creative. People who are sentimental, love beautiful things, the dreamer, the nurturer, who surround themselves with meaningful things. If you’ve been able to get organized using basic supplies from office supply stores, that’s great! It just doesn’t work for us creative types.
Yes, I’m a creative type too! I love beautiful things and if I see something in a store and I don’t get it the first time, most likely I will go back to get it after thinking about it the whole night long.

I’m not sentimental though and that’s probably why I’ve been able to get by with using traditional organizing methods all of these years.

I can fully empathize and understand why it is so hard for many people out there (you are definitely NOT alone) to get organized. You are beautifully creative! You love to dream up ideas, nurture your family, and reminisce. Because you are beautifully creative, you’ve got to work with beautifully creative things too if you want to be organized!

You can’t just put your mail in a plastic tray, it’s got to be a textured woven basket with a beautiful fabric liner, or a wall hanging wrought iron 3 tiered wall envelope. Magazines in a beautiful rack not an industrial looking metal holder! Do you see where I’m going with this?

Here’s how DECORganize ™ works in a nutshell.

Clear out the area you wish to decorganize. Literally, put things in baskets or boxes to get them out of the affected area. Shift your furniture into a better arrangement. Look in magazines to come up with a fresh look. Once your bones of the room are set, start putting back your best things. Only put back the best. You’ll worry about the other stuff later. Well, actually you might not after seeing how great your room looks. But I guarantee you, after putting back your best items, you are going to go through the rest of the clutter a lot faster than before. And yes, you will be doing the traditional sorting and purging but it will feel a lot more purposeful and you will work through it all very quickly. Hence the title- How to get organized without throwing anything out!

That’s the DECORganize formula in a nutshell. Decorate first, and organize later. You don’t have to hire a decorator although you can. Most likely you have an eye for décor since you are creative. You can certainly hire a decorator or interior designer, or a field that I am personally interested in, interior rearranging. Interior rearranging is the art of decorating with what you already own, pulling pieces in from other rooms in your house and using them to complete the project at hand. Interior rearranging is also known as “One day decorating” or “Instant Makeovers” because most of the time, custom furniture and other treatments are not being ordered and waited for 6 weeks at a time. Beautiful items can be purchased from home decorating stores and that makes interior rearranging a lot faster and affordable than conventional interior design. If you are not on a budget and in a hurry to get organized, go with an interior designer. If you are, look for someone that does interior rearrangement.

This is where I go more into detail about how to DECORganize your home and specific areas that may need attention. Click here if you want to find out more about’s ebook called Organize, Shmorganize, DECORganize.

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