How To, Life Reflections, Organizing
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Organizing and Fear


My dear friend Amy Volk, in Virginia Beach, has an amazing business and blog–Simplified Living.  She writes about living better, and who can’t embrace that?  I love her blog posts everyday but yesterday’s struck a huge ginormous YES! in me when I read it.  I asked her if she would do a rerun over here and she said YES!  So without further ado I would like to introduce Amy Volk.  Make sure you stop by her blog and pay her a visit.  You’ll be glad you did.  Love to you Amy!

There are a lot emotions tied to organizing and getting organized. I’ve talked a lot about perfectionism and  how paralyzing it is to getting organized, but the other insidious current lurking around is fear.  Fear happens for many reasons and because I’m no therapist, I won’t even try to figure it out, but I do see it crop in my organizing sessions with folks.

Often when we acquire things, we feel good about having them.  Over time, these things may or may not be useful, but still we feel safe having them,  you know, just in case. The just-in-case reason can be rooted in fear of not having, not being prepared, not being in the know, or being unsure of the right decision. Whatever the reason, it stops us from letting stuff go even when our things no longer serve our life.



Here’s an example; say you have saved statements from bills for the past 8 years. You aren’t totally sure you need them but you hang on to them, just in case.  So, you attempt to organize them (or not) and find room in your home, attic, or basement for 8 years worth of paper.  But you don’t have room for 8 years worth of paper and it starts to pile up.  Then I come along and ask you all sorts of questions like, “When is the last time you needed a statement? How would you find a statement you needed in these piles? What’s the worst thing that could happen if you didn’t have these statements?” And so on…

These kinds of questions can make you squirm if you’re living with fear. Because the worst thing might be that you won’t feel prepared or have to ask for help so it’s just safer to keep it all.  Just in case.

This just-in-case reason is probably the single biggest hinderance to getting organized that I run across.  It causes folks to keep or buy too much of everything that they need and then attempt to find a place to tuck it all away.  There becomes a feeling of safety in having things, whether they are used or not.


Today, I want you to look around your home and ask yourself these questions-

1.  What do I have too much of?

Maybe it’s paper or clothing or food, but it also might be kitchen utensils, drawers of makeup and cosmetics, plastic grocery bags, or tools. The list is endless, but you know instinctually what you have too much of.

2.  What is the worst thing that could happen if I let some of it go?

Could you purchase it again if you absolutely needed it? Could you retrieve it online? Could you ever have access to it again?

3.  What is the best thing that could happen if I let some it go?

Would you have more space? Would you have less clutter? Would you be able to find other things easier?

Let me give you a quick story. We recently organized a gentleman who did newspaper crossword puzzles.  Each day he would do the puzzle then wait for the next days paper to check his answers. He did this over and over and over and never threw any of them out.  Why didn’t he throw them out? He was afraid he might want to look at them again and not have the answers.  Did he ever look at them again? No, he had never done that. We talked about some solutions and he agreed to throw them all out, but it wasn’t an easy decision.

value questions

So, if you have identified something that you have too much of and you’re afraid to make a change, keep asking yourself the questions above.  Also, use these Value Questions to help you more. Feeling afraid of change is OK. Letting fear stop you from making the changes you need is not OK. Feel afraid and do it anyway.


  1. Awesome blog! Amy – thank you for teaching me the right questions to ask. It can be scary to let go, but sometimes we just need to simplify.

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