Many people don’t realize that there are two basic types of disorganization: Situational and Chronic. Situational disorganization occurs as a result of a life event that temporarily causes existing systems to become obsolete. Examples of these life events are moving, having a new baby, losing a job, getting a new job, retirement, divorce, or loss of a loved one. Most of the time in our business, people are calling us because of one of these transitions. Change is inevitable, and you have been thrust into a new situation and you need to have some adjustment.
Chronic disorganization is a different matter. When I say "chronic disorganization," people often chuckle for some reason, but I assure you, it’s no laughing matter to those who are experiencing this. Our industry has a wonderful organization called the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization, or NSGCD. Their definition of the problem: Chronic disorganization is having a past history of disorganization in which self-help efforts to change have failed, an undermining of current quality of life due to disorganization, and the expectation of future disorganization. Chronically disorganized people may suffer from OCD, compulsive hoarding disorder, and any number of other serious issues that require special attention. People who have ADD/ADHD may also have issues with chronic disorganization. My colleagues who specialize in chronic disorganization sometimes work in collaborative therapy with mental health professionals to work through this comprehensively.
Resource sites for chronic disorganization:
If you are chronically disorganized, or know someone who is, don’t despair! There are many people who can help. See these sites, especially NSGCD, for books and other publications and even for a referral to a specially-trained Professional Organizer.