You function like now.

The original intent was to talk about moving, but things change.

That’s what I have to talk about, the fact that things change. They change when you plan ahead and when you don’t. The only constant is change, but so many folks spend so much time and effort resisting change. There’s no grace, no bending. No room for the unknown.

When I started organizing, I noticed a pattern. Moving through someone’s space, there would be what I’d call “clots” of things. Piles that may have grown, toppled, spread, swallowed other things nearby. What may have started out as a pile of mail includes shoes, cards, bags, money, toys, books, who knows? We’d start work on clearing out a clot, and I’d notice you could date particular areas. A pile of unopened mail all postmarked August, 2003. Magazines and newspapers from various dates during the summer of 2009. A stack of receipts, with or without the accompanying goods.  Even a neglected area of a pantry could have cans and drygoods with expiration dates in the same range.

I’d get curious and ask what was going on for people during those time windows.

“I started grad school.”

“My father died.”

“Our oldest was born.”

People would mention things that are part of the fabric of life, but each one was a major transition. And transition isn’t a negative thing, it’s just a change that shook them out of their routines. (think newborn, or new job) They’re chugging along in their lives, doing their thing, and BAM, something happens that messes up their groove. The way they’ve managed their lives before doesn’t quite work for where they are now, but they haven’t made any adjustments. Things start to pile up, routines are limping, and they’re wondering what happened and how can they get back to functioning like before.

You don’t function like before, you function like now.

When I explain this to clients, I can see a light flicker on, usually followed by some dismay and annoyance.

“You mean I have to figure out all new routines?”

No. You are not starting from scratch, you are starting from now.

You already know things that work for you, structures that suit you. Tweaking what you know works is easier than creating new structures out of thin air. However, there’s something that has to happen before you can tweak anything. You have to understand where you are now. What is your situation as it stands right now?