The Best Systems are Empowering and Sustainable

Over the 30 years I’ve been a Holistic Professional Organizer, I’ve learned that  effective organizing is all about your relationship with your rooms and the items in those rooms.

Creating Systems

The first thing I ask a new client during a consultation, is:  What purpose do you want each room to serve for you? 

Before we can create systems, we need to know the functions each room will serve.  Maybe your dining area is also your home office, and it needs to serve both functions well.  Maybe your guest room is also a meditation or exercise room.  Maybe your living room is also your reading area and your media room.  Maybe the laundry room needs to store your sewing machine and mending supplies, as well as your tools.

My Job

Once I know how each room needs to function, it’s my job to help each client  create empowering, sustainable systems for those rooms.

  • Empowering, because when your rooms are organized in a way that truly supports your goals, you are empowered to BE and DO your best!
  • Sustainable, because when your rooms are organized in alignment with your goals, preferences, and Unique Retrieval Strategy, it’s easy and fun to maintain the order.

What is a Unique Retrieval Strategy?

My Neuro Linguistic Programming training has taught me that we each process information differently, and working with so many clients over the years has taught me that we each retrieve memory differently. If I try to remember where I put something I “see” it in my mind’s eye.

But many of my clients have non-visual retrieval strategies and they need different cues to remember where they’ve put something.

If they just put the information in a file drawer or behind a cabinet door—without giving themselves additional cues—it’s like throwing the information into a black hole.  They’ll never remember it later.


Maybe you’ve experienced this frustration! But NO MORE… not after you understand how to work with what I call your Unique Retrieval Strategy!

The 2 Most Important Skills to Get and Stay Organized

There are lots of great books and programs on organizing out there. The thing is, many of them leave out the most important skill sets:

  1. knowing how to set up systems that align with how YOU retrieve information
  2. knowing how to set up sustainable systems so each room can function as a partner in your success

If you’ve ever decided to follow someone else’s system and you put your time, energy and money into it, you may have ended up more discouraged than when you started!  Because without these 2 key skills, most people just don’t get results.

How to Create Systems

This is the second article in this Sustainable Systems series.  For the first article, You’ll Never Be Organized Unless You Can Create Systems, click here.

What can Systems Do for You?

office-deskAs a Holistic Professional Organizer, I help my clients learn what I had to learn myself 25 years ago: how to create systems for running a home efficiently.

The word system comes from the Latin systema, which means a set of interacting and independent components forming an integrated whole.  It derives from the more ancient word sunistemi, a verb denoting union.

When you create efficient, effective systems for your home, it’s like you are setting up your home to be what I call your “success partner,”  and your home is then able to serve the full measure of it’s creation.  I believe our homes can do more than shelter us and provide structure for our activities.

When you have systems in place, your home will support you to live your dreams, to become the most successful versions of yourself.

How to Create Your Systems

When you create systems for your home, you deliberately decide:

  1. the functions you want each room to fulfill (e.g., meal prep in the kitchen)
  2. each step of those functions (e.g., mixing, cooking, baking)
  3. the equipment you need to support each step (e.g., pots, pans, bowls)
  4. the most efficient way to arrange the items for best work flow

You’ll need to create a system for every household task.  When I had my systems in place, I found I didn’t need all those built-in storage units I’d been dreaming about!

Below are some highlights from some of the systems I created in the early 80’s that I’m still using today:

  • Meal Prep: We clean as we prepare the meal, so that by the time we eat, the counters are clear.
  • Dishes:  We use the left side of the sink for dirty dishes, the right side of our double sink serves as a place to drain and dry everything we wash by hand.  When we start the dishwasher, we flip the “Dirty” card magnetically clipped to the front of the dishwasher to the “Clean” side, and we all take turns emptying the clean dishes.
  • Laundry:  We installed shelves and hanging rods in the laundry room.  Dirty clothes go into the laundry basket in our closet.  Once a week, I gather up the empty hangers, put them on top of the dirty clothes and carry the basket to the laundry room.  After sorting, washing and drying the clothes, I pull them out of the dryer and hang or fold them immediately.  Delicate items hang dry.
  • Bathrooms: I keep old washcloths under each sink, along with spray cleaner.  Each evening and morning when I use my sink, I wipe it down with the washcloth.  Each bathroom gets a complete cleaning once a week.
  • Our Bedroom: We own the most luxurious bed linens we can afford, and I love to walk into our room when the bed is made, so I take a few minutes each morning to create that loveliness for myself!

About Storage Containers

You’ll notice that buying lots of storage containers is NOT part of creating your systems.  I’ve seen people spend hundreds of dollars on plastic bins they didn’t need once we’d de-cluttered and created their systems.  I’ve also seen people spend thousands of dollars on built-in shelving and garage systems to store items they really didn’t use or need.

To save your money, I recommend against buying storage containers until after you’ve:

  • completely released everything you don’t use, need, and love
  • gone through the 4-step Creating Systems decision process above

I’ll share more about when and where to buy storage containers in my next blog post.  If you’d like my expertise as you create your systems, I’m offering a special $200 May Savings on my Mess to Success HomeStudy course.

  1. Find out more:
  2. Click to register and, in the Coupon Code box, type MaySavings to receive this $397 course for only $197… only until May 31!

Resistance Is A Clue

stuck_post_tues_4_17We can’t talk about DESIRE without talking about resistance. 

When we want something, REALLY, really, REALLY want it, often we find ourselves STUCK… in the experience of NOT HAVING it.

And we lose faith.  We feel like we’ve hit a wall.  We can’t keep going toward the goal.  It’s just not gonna happen for us.

That’s resistance.  The good news?  That’s all it is:  just resistance.

And the cure for resistance is to stop resisting.  You are resisting some uncomfortable emotion you don’t want to feel.  What is it?

Once you give yourself permission to actually FEEL the emotions you were resisting: the frustration, the anger, the grief, the hurt, the fear, the despair…  they will move through you, doing their work in you.

Once the emotions have been felt… we often feel empty.  Surrendered, to our great desire and our Hero’s Journey of achieving it.  In that surrendered place, open your eyes and ears and heart; the answers you need will come.

Release Opens The Door For Clarity

TT_post_tues_4_15Birds are made to fly.  Their desire to fly is instinctive, but they do need to be nudged out of the nest.

What are you made for? 

You’ll find your purpose hiding under your desires. 

Let’s say you desire a de-cluttered, organized, lovely home.  How is that desire linked to your life purpose?

The obvious answer is that in a home that functions optimally and is set up to serve you, it’s easier for you to be your best self, to give your best gifts into the world.

But that’s just the obvious answer.  There’s more. 

Here’s the Transforming Truth, the one that I hope will nudge you into action on your Clean Sweep goals:  it’s in the actual PROCESS of releasing everything that doesn’t serve your potential that you actually CLEAR the inner blocks (limiting beliefs) that keep you from fully manifesting your life purpose.

Where do you instinctively want to fly?

Judgement and Desire Cannot Live In The Same Space

April_post2What is your relationship with what you desire?  Are you in a state of joyful expectancy and fulfillment?

If you’re not enjoying your desires, it’s usually because you have some kind of judgement on them. 

Here are some of the judgements I’m familiar with:

• It’s not OK for me to want that.

• That’s too expensive.

• I’ll never be able to…..

• It’ll take me forever to get that done!

• I don’t deserve it.

If any of these judgments come up for you when you ponder your desires, you need to become more like a little child.  A baby doesn’t spin into mental judgments when she wants something.  She just wants it!  She allows herself to have the feeling of DESIRE! 

Have you ever watched a baby determined to master a new skill?  Maybe she wanted to sit, to crawl, to walk, or to pull herself up to the window so she can look out at the world. 

Her DESIRE is the very energy that fueled her action!

In how many ways can you be more like that baby?  If you want a de-cluttered, organized home, are you willing to keep trying, to keep falling down and getting back up again?  Are you willing to ask for any support you need so that you can master the new skills that will give you your goal?

Sacred Space

I believe one of the most powerful actions a woman can take is to create a sanctuary in her own home. 

No matter how small her home is, no matter how many kids and animals live with her, no matter how her partner feels about it, if she will claim a room—or a corner of a room—for her very own, that one action will put her on a path to claiming sovereignty in her life.

How can a woman open the door to that power?

  1. Claim a space in your home that will be a sacred space, just for you
  2. Set it up to serve a purpose that will refuel you (meditation, yoga, dance, reading, writing, art)
  3. Decorate it with colors, textures, furnishings you love
  4. Spend time there, feeling nourished by the space you’ve created
  5. Allow your attention to dwell on your “sanctuary” when you are tempted to notice things about your home or life that aren’t yet ideal

What one thing refules you when your tank is on empty? Tell us in the comments below or share with us on our Transforming Space Transforming Self Facebook page.