What is Holistic Organizing?

During a recent visit to Raleigh, North Carolina, my dear colleague Geralin Thomas, of Metropolitan Organizing, asked me to write a guest post for her blog answering the important question: “What is Holistic Organizing?” In recent years there have been an increasing number of professional organizers using this term, and, while I won’t attempt to speak for all of them, I want to offer an answer that captures how we use the term at Living Peace.

Fundamentally, there are two parts of the organizing process that occur during EVERY person’s life transitions. Holistic Organizing raises awareness and honors the importance of these two experiences as essential to becoming more organized and creating lasting life change. 

Holistic Organizing:

  1. Increases awareness of the many levels of personal change involved in EVERY life transition: Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Spiritual. A holistic organizer should be prepared to acknowledge, honor, and make space for the fullness of the client’s experience as she reinvents her life through the organizing process and creates an environment that can be supportive of her current priorities and goals.
  2. Recognizes the central role of loss and grief inherent in ALL life change. Even the joyful events in our lives often mean that we must say goodbye and close previously loved chapters of our personal stories. Most people can recognize the role of loss in events such as divorce or the passing of a loved one. However, we can experience similar emotions and challenges when getting married, having children, starting a new job, or retirement. A holistic organizer will be able to support and honor the confusing and conflicting experiences of her clients as they navigate reorganizing their lives in the midst of such experiences.

To help clarify, what Holistic Organizing is NOT:

  • Green/Sustainable Organizing– This work is focused on issues of environmental sustainability, encouraging recycling & reuse, and conscious consumption.
  • Faithful or Spiritual Organizing – While a holistic organizer should be comfortable encouraging and supporting a client’s spiritual practices and integrating them into their home, work, or daily life, they should be open to doing so within any faith tradition as determined by the client and not bound to the Organizer’s particular tradition.
  • Quick “Results Focused” Organizing– Holistic Organizing acknowledges that life changes occur as part of a process that must be driven and focused by the client’s pace not the Organizer’s. Therefore, holistic organizers are likely to work predominantly side-by-side with the client rather than independently zooming through a project to create a specific quick or attractive superficial result.

While some organizers might integrate some of these other specialties along with their holistic organizing work, I feel it’s important to define the distinctions between these different areas.

At the core Holistic Organizing:

  • Centers on the client’s life transition and process.
  • Holds the client as the ultimate authority and expert in his/her own life process.
  • Provides a hybrid “coaching & consulting” approach that co-creates the best process and outcome for each individual client.

The experience of working with a holistic organizer should be: integrated, authentic, rooted in the present, honoring of the change process, and creating space for peace and growth.

To find a holistic organizer in your area visit our listing of holistic organizers throughout the US and Canada under our Resources tab.

To learn more about BECOMING a Holistic Organizer: Purchase our 60-minute Organizer Education Series video on Holistic Organizing.

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