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Organizing aka “Agonizing Fun” – The Missing Ingredient To Your Happiness

Updated: Mar 27, 2019

Today I woke up excited. Not because it was my birthday. Not because I had plans with friends… but because I had some agonizing fun planned: ORGANIZING!

Let me back up a sec and explain.

Lots of people wonder why happiness doesn’t seem to be sustainable. They flip through their mental index of the fun activities that make them happy. For me those might include:

+ Episodes of Broad City
+ Dates with my husband
+ Walking around a new, international city
+ Chocolate

But, you see the fatal flaw, right? If I want to be happy and those things make me happy, why can’t I just do those things forever and be happy?

Well, aside from the obvious fact that there isn’t a job that would pay me to backpack through Europe tasting chocolates with my husband… YET, eventually I’m sure those things would lose their appeal if done all the time.

You see, more than just pleasant fun, you need some “agonizing fun”, an activity that yields a sense of accomplishment.

Cue, organizing.

Maybe the idea of de-cluttering your cabinets, planning out your calendar, and purging your closets don’t set your heart aflame, but the after-effect is a kind of joy that we can’t do without.

There are emotional and tangible benefits as well!

  • According to Happiness expert Gretchen Rubin, organizing gives us a boost of energy

  • Organized people cultivate inner peace through their outer order

  • Organized people feel a greater sense of control and power, empowering them to gain more control and power in other areas of life

  • According to De-Cluttering expert Marie Kondo, organized people can be more clear about what they want in life when they first tackle what they want in their homes

  • Organized people have less distractions and therefore procrastinate less

And I knowwwwwww we all would be happier if we could procrastinate less – but that’s a topic for another day.

This month I read countless articles, blogs and books, including my personal favorites: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo, and Gretchen Rubin’s Better Than Before and Happier at Home.

I think I literally gasped when I read Marie’s framing question for whether or not to keep an item in your house: Does this spark joy? This is something I’ve said out loud to myself on SEVERAL occasions before finding out this was Marie’s motto!

Yet again, my Happiness Gurus of Organization re-instilled my belief that the reason for everything we do – EVEN CLEANING OUR CLOSET –  must be founded in happiness, and not solely pleasant, but agonizing happiness too! So… without further ado…

6 “Agonizingly Fun” Steps Towards Organized Bliss

1. Invest in a good calendar. Personally, I am a proponent of having both a written AND a virtual calendar. Google Calendar helps me keep track of appointments that I can schedule with clients and my team with e-mail reminders. There is no substitute, however, for having the visual reminder of my monthly wall calendar. I think that in this case, it will spark more joy if it’s visually appealing like this gem from TJMaxx!

2. Try the KonMari Method for permanent de-cluttering. Although the KonMari Method can be boiled down to two steps (discarding and designating space) Marie Kondo shares several key steps that helped my make some MAJOR permanent changes.

3. Buy organizers for everything small. It’s not just the big and visible things in our space tha t create chaos and stress – it’s those dreaded “MISCELLANEOUS DRAWERS” too! These are the three organizers that have rocked my world. I cannot recommend them enough!

Use this Walmart Desk organizer to organize your pots and pans! I feel happy every time I open this cabinet now. I kid you not.

The small things can cause stress too. Discard what you don’t need under your sink and organize the rest by drawer with this little Walmart organizer.

Bronze Hanging Jewelry Organizer (also in white!) from Bed, Bath & Beyond. A bit price-y but worth every penny.

4. Make your bed. There are numerous studies about the lives of people who do and don’t make their bed – and the results are freaking in people! People who make their beds tend to lead more peaceful and organized lives. Just make your damn bed.

5. Be wary of what new items you allow into your home. In the past I have been a frequent exclaimer of “maybe someday I’ll need this”. But I ever since reading Better Than Before, I have made note of how much junk I’ve collected this way. Gretchen points out that once you let something you’re your home, it becomes harder to rid yourself of it. Be wary of what you bring into your home, especially if it’s a hand-me-down or a giveaway!

6. Spread out your thoughts. Chalene Johnson refers to this process as a “BrainDump” and Jack Canfield refers to it as a “Irritation List” but regardless of what you title it – this tool is organizational gold. If you are feeling stressed or disorganized, even after you’ve organized your space, it is usually because you have failed to prioritize your agenda and might be paralyzed by where to start! For an instant energy-boost, simply put your pen to paper. Before you go to bed (ideally), take a blank sheet and write down every single agenda item that is floating through your mind. EVERYTHING. Even writing down things like “file that damn hangnail”, “Replace printer paper” and “call Grandma” can bring a sense of order. Once it’s all down – number your top 3-5 priorities and then revisit the rest the following day. Cross things off as you go!

This is only a small sample of the organization gems that I learned in my research and after some more experimenting will be sharing those with you in my upcoming book and online program! So, stay tuned!

In the meantime, comment below! Did this 6-part experiment bring you joy? What worked? What didn’t work?

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