Part 3 of 3: Resolve To Succeed

If you’ve read Part I and Part II of this interview with Sharon Lowenheim, The Organizing Goddess, current President of NAPO-NY, you’re two steps closer toward getting organized and making your New Year’s resolutions a reality. Now, to make sure that your resolve is strong and you’re well on your way towards a Happy & Healthy New Year… Sharon cautions against giving in to the tendency to say “I’ll do it later” as well as the tendency to collect lots of things.

A wise veteran organizer once said “Clutter is postponed decisions.” Making the decision to get rid of items and/or put them in their proper places helps re-center you so that you can focus on the decisions that matter; decisions in the present, not forgotten decisions in the past.

By consistently taking care of things as they come, you’re actually able to prevent disorganization and clutter before it happens. SO, part of making your resolutions come true, is an approach that allows you to get ahead while catching up. Sharon points out “We love acquiring new things, but things have no exit strategy. Like a roach motel, things check in but they never check out. We can’t wave a magic wand and fit five pounds of stuff into a three-pound bag.”

Sharon is a strong believer in the philosophy of “Less is More” which she lectures on and offers one of her six basic organizing principles as a mantra: “One in, one out.” A classic example of the absence of this principle is what Sharon refers to as the computer graveyard – when a client has several old computers nearby the newest model, serving as “just-in-case” back-ups, which ultimately never get used. The best example of someone who could benefit deeply from implementing the “ONE IN and ONE OUT” principle is someone who maintains a storage unit – so they can pay for the privilege of keeping stuff that they don’t even use.

Another basic organizing principle is “Every item must have a home.” Sharon tells how during an organizing session, people often say “I was Looking for that” or “I forgot I had that.” If it’s the first one, Sharon urges clients to put it wherever they were initially looking because that’s where their mind wants it to be. As for the second statement: that ought to be a bright signal that the item in question is something that you can get rid of.

Perhaps the most important principle Sharon offers is USE IT OR LOSE IT. “You should only hold on to things that you use all the time, or things that you love. Everything else should be examined for donation or disposal… if something is there ‘just because,’ it shouldn’t be around. People need to take a different approach to their stuff and determine why something needs to be there.”

At this point, you’re next step may be to reach out to Sharon, or book online with the Junkluggers if you know what you want gone. Sharon also recommends reading: Donna Smallin’s “Organizing Plain and Simple,” Julie Morgenstern’s “Organizing from the Inside Out,” and Peter Walsh’s “It’s All Too Much.” But, if you want to hear it straight from the master, check out Sharon’s book “Small Spaces, Fast Paces: New York Organizing Secrets,” available online at


Sharon Lowenheim, MBA, MSE
Organizing Goddess ®, Inc
[email protected]