Years ago, I worked in a bookstore and the manager asked me to create a large display. He said I could be as creative as I wanted to be, just make sure it reflected the season (which happened to be Spring). At first, I was excited. I consider myself to be fairly creative and was eager to get to it. I cleaned off the shelving and display area, brought in a bunch of books, stationery, and knick-knacks that the store sold regularly. I stood back and surveyed my “canvas.”
I stood there a good long time. Nothing was coming to mind. My mind was completely blank. I had absolutely no idea how to start. The longer I stood there, the more anxious and frustrated I got. And the more pressure I put on myself to make it just right, the less I could actually think.
Eventually the manager wandered over to see what I was up to. He looked at the empty area, and then looked at me. I shrugged as if to say, “Beats me.” Then he said this:
“Just start. Put something up there; it doesn’t have to be right or perfect or even good. Just. Start. Somewhere.”
And so I did. I started arranging and rearranging and putting things up and then taking them down again. I gave myself the freedom, the right, to do it wrong in an effort to eventually get it right. It didn’t need to be perfect; I just needed to begin somewhere.
As an organizer, I can say the same thing to my clients. When they look around their office, or home, it most often feels overwhelming and they, like me, end up saying “Where do I possibly begin?” And many end up never beginning. That’s where a skilled organizer comes in, takes their hand, and gently urges them to Just. Start. Somewhere.