So what, you may ask? Trust me - if you fall into one of these categories you'll want to read this! Not sure if you fit the profile? Check out the quizzes created by the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (FS-001 and FS-002).
CD and SD look very similar on the surface, but have different roots. Let's look at the differences, and what can be done to help.
The Roots of SD
Experiencing major life changes (birth, adoption, death, new job, a move, divorce) - I mean, really - who HASN'T experienced an upheaval - can throw us into a tailspin (remember the Looney Tunes character Taz - that's what it looks like!). This disorganizational tailspin can last anywhere from a few days to years - it's unique to each of us and our situations.
What makes it different from CD is the organizing systems that are in place PRIOR to the life change. The event (situation) happens and tips the scale to where systems aren't maintained, but eventually they are recovered and order is restored. On a side note - remember what I preach about organizing - it's a continuum, not a "Once and For All" event!
The Signs of CD
CD is characterized by 3 things:
- Longevity (can be present from childhood)
- Interference - the clutter interferes with quality of life (both that of the afflicted and those around them)
- Resistance to self-help efforts (person has tried organizing programs, products, self-help books to no avail)
What to do?
For those experiencing SD - be kind to yourself! Acknowledge that this is a stressful period, but that the organization you once enjoyed will return - perhaps with a bit of buckling down (when ready, of course), and tweaking to make the system fit life after the transition. Ebb and Flow, people - life ebbs and flows!!!
Sufferers of CD - I encourage you to think outside the box. Please don't try to adopt systems that work for other people. Overcoming CD is all about customizing organization for the way you think and act. At the risk of throwing another self-help book into your library, I do recommend Judith Kolberg's Conquering Chronic Disorganization - she is one of the leaders in the study of Chronic Disorganization and her methods are tried and true.
Of course, hiring a Certified Professional Organizer would quickly get both the SD and CD sufferers on their way to chronic calm - isn't that a lovely thought?!