In my twenties, I had the dream of becoming a professional organizer. Young and overconfident, I quit my job in the summer of 2001 with the stated intention of pursuing that goal (though really it was just to escape a negative work environment). I never got anything off the ground because I quickly learned I had neither an entrepreneurial spirit nor an entrepreneurial stomach and I took a full-time job at a staffing firm that September. But I'm still an organizer at heart.

Gretchen Rubin (the writer on habits, happiness, and human nature whom I quote all the time) often says, "Outer order, inner calm." Isn't that beautiful? And true? Years later, I realize this is why I wanted to be a professional organizer - to help people bring more order and calm into their lives. There's something highly satisfying about having a place for everything and everything in its place. And for many of us, though certainly not all, it's much easier to think and work if we have a clear space to do it.

That being said, if you were to walk by my house and peer in the kitchen window right now, you would probably find a half-full water glass, a section of Sunday's newspaper, some school papers, and a napkin on the table. You see, I don't live in a show house worthy of Better Homes and Gardens. I live a real life. And I live with people who value organization much less than I do. But when things get out of hand or I'm feeling anxious, I organize. And I feel a whole lot better after even just a few minutes of putting things in order and focusing on something I can control.

You might too.

Photo by Christine Donaldson on Unsplash

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