"I Don't Have Time to Organize"

Updated: Dec 2, 2019

I have always loved organizing! I am one of the rare people that spend too much time organizing and not enough time doing other important stuff I need to be doing. I feel more comfortable tackling other things when my space or life is organized. I feel chaotic and uncomfortable with an unorganized space. That being said, I do not expect anyone else to feel that way about organizing. However, I do think most people would be more productive and feel better if they were a little more organized.

Organization does not have to look like the pretty pictures from Pinterest and magazines. It just has to be organized for you in a way that feels comfortable. I used to think my older son was so disorganized with his school work. His papers and notebooks were a mess! I really wanted to straighten up his work and show him how great labeled dividers, color coded notebooks... would be. After talking to his teacher one day, I learned that my son is actually quite organized. He never forgets to turn in his assignments, and always has everything he needs each day for school. The teacher informed me that my son is "organized" in a way that makes sense to him, even if it didn't make sense to me. I decided to leave him alone with his organization system, since it seemed to be working.

Organization looks different for everyone, finding out what is realistic and doable for you is what is important. Below are the many excuses we all have for not organizing, as well as some ways to get past

the excuses and start organizing!


Most often, when I say “I don’t have time,” what I’m really saying is that organizing isn’t a priority right now. And sometimes the circumstances of our lives are such that organizing shouldn’t be or doesn’t need to be the priority.

Whatever the reason, there are just some phases of life where organization is going to be put on the back burner. And in those instances, it’s completely fine to just acknowledge that it’s not a priority and allow yourself not to feel any guilt about it. Seriously.  Sometimes giving ourselves grace is the best thing.

But other times we just need need to push ourselves to organize even when it is the last thing we feel like doing, or want to do. There were a few organizing projects that I have wanted to complete over the past few months, but I could never seem to make time to get them done. I would have said that they were a priority for me, but if I really looked at how I was choosing to spend my time, they clearly weren’t. 

If I was going to truly claim that my projects aren’t finished because “I didn’t have time,” I wouldn’t be stating the truth. A more accurate statement would be, “I didn’t prioritize getting organized.”

Sometimes we need to just find a good compromise. Maybe I make an agreement with myself that I will do a half an hour of organizing before I do the other stuff I want to be doing each day. Maybe I listen to music or my favorite podcast while I organize. There are plenty of ways to make time for organizing without giving up other important things in your life.


If I’m being honest, whenever I say “I don’t have time” for organizing (or anything else, for that matter!), a second thing I often really mean is that I’m overwhelmed by the thought of the task. I may even be flat out scared of it. 

Many times, the thought of tackling an organizing project is way worse than the reality of it. 

It doesn’t have to go from disaster to perfection. Often just going from “disaster” to “marginally better” is enough to make a positive impact on our ability to use the space.  Just picking one thing to organize each day can over time make a significant dent in a project that feels so intimidating. Or maybe you call a family meeting, set the timer for one hour, and you all work together to see how much you can accomplish.

The key is getting out of our head and just getting started. 


Finally, one more common reason we give the “I don’t have time” excuse is that we just don’t know where to start. We can see the mess we have. We can see the pretty pictures on Pinterest that we want our space to look like. But we just don’t know how to get from that mess to the pretty picture. It is easy to find yourself, me included, surrounded by piles of half finished projects and a “too hard pile” of objects I just don't know what to do with.  It can feel like other people are capable of organization, but that we are just not built that way for some reason. This can feel very frustrating.

Even though it may feel like organization does not come naturally to us, getting organized is just like everything else: Just because you don’t feel like you are all that great at it at first, doesn’t mean you can’t develop the skills and habits it takes and become better at it. 

Eventually, organizing might become part of your day to day habits and routines, and not feel so much like work anymore. One day you may even love organizing! It can be a great feeling for you and your family, coming home to house that is organized, which would make the time spent organizing more than worth it.

If you are someone who feels overwhelmed by the thought of organizing any space in your house, work, or life, I offer all kinds of organizing help. My goal is to help you be organized in an easy and efficient way. Please contact me at info@healthy-paths and set up a time for me to meet with you about your organization project.

*Adapted from Abby Lawson's article "I don't have enough time to get organized."

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