FOCUS:Confessions of a Recovering Slob

Personal Mastery, Mental Models, Systems Thinking

Adopt the mindset of a master gardener: prune mercilessly and confidently.
Thomas Leonard


When I heard a local professional organizer talk at our library, I knew it was time to hire her. I’ve written about the benefits of purging things and getting organized before.  I’m not really a slob, but I have lived a long time, have many interests, books and supplies, and have accumulated a lot of stuff! I’ve always been a “visual organizer,” with many piles and a sense of where things are (¾ of the way down the middle pile.) But my system didn’t always work, resulting in wasted time looking for a lost paper or bill and my feeling out of sorts.

Sandra Lane, owner of Organization Lane, lives two blocks from me! And, working right beside me, she has helped me reclaim my space, and by extension, my life.

Here are some of the things that have helped with this transformation:

  • Each time we work together, she leaves with whatever I’ve decided to recycle or donate. It’s often a whole car full!
  • I bartered with my friend Jeff: he built shelves all the way around my basement and in exchange I coach him on his start-up business.
  • Everything is labeled. Because I value access so much, I thought everything needed to be out in plain sight or I wouldn’t find it. Not true. Now I have well-labeled files, some of them out of alphabetical order for quicker access, some with clips on them so I go to them very quickly. In my pantry, all the flours are in glass jars with labels. In the basement the books are in sections labeled by category. Access is amazing!
  • See-through containers are helpful. I have craft supplies and hanging clothes and quilts in them. These days there are so many options. Because I’m not a shopper, Sandra shops, sometimes bringing me several choices and returning the rejects.
  • Things that go together are near each other. All of the mailing supplies are together. Old tax returns are in a single file. Summer clothes are in one place.
  • The rewards are so great I have momentum. We’ve reorganized the medicine cupboard. The linen closet is next. Letting go of things is easier.
  • Now that I can actually see across the basement, a new vision has emerged. I’m planning a craft center where friends and neighborhood kids can share creative projects….we’re still working on it, but just thinking about it makes me smile.

I can’t tell you how helpful it has been to do this work WITH someone else. Left to myself, I either get distracted and sit and read what I’ve found, or I get overwhelmed and quit.

I’m not finished yet, but my office is so much improved that I had it painted this week. And it is glorious! It supports my thinking and my work. Most importantly, the structures to keep things orderly are working…I’m hopeful the improvements are permanent!


  • What needs to be organized in your life?
  • Who could help you? Can you swap help with a friend or hire a professional?
  • What could you label?
  • Where could transparent containers help?
  • How can you devise a system that is sustainable over time?


Enter Title

Enter Text


Please join me for a 45-minute telegathering to explore the more deeply both the how and why of getting more organized.  Wednesday, Nov. 9, at noon Eastern (11:00 a.m. Central, 10:00 a.m. MT, 9:00 a.m. Pacific)

 1-218-862-1300 PIN 276583.  No need to register….just call at that time!




Reach me: 1-888-907-HOPE (4673)or e-mail I am a personal and executive coach and would be happy to offer you a complimentary coaching session by phone. Each month FRESH VIEWS focuses on a single topic, relates it to one of the five disciplines of a learning community, and offers a coaching tip and a follow-up telegathering. Please forward it to friends and colleagues. My purpose in writing FRESH VIEWS is to nurture, prod and encourage readers to think and talk about these topics with their families, friends and colleagues. Mine is only one view. Multiple conversations may deliver us to insights only hinted at here. Such a process sustains the vitality of learning relationships, learning families, learning organizations and learning communities.

Sharon Eakes | 720 Maple Lane | Sewickley, PA 15143

Fresh Views E-zine Index

720 Maple Lane, Sewickley, PA 15143
TOLL-FREE: 1(888) 769-3494
FAX: (412) 741-2159