Chronic Disorganization

What is Chronic Disorganization?
There is another group of clients who deal with what’s called chronic disorganization.
Chronically disorganized people have struggled with organizing tasks for most, if not all of their lives. Repeated attempts at organizing have failed. Most of Jill’s clients are in this group.

People who live with chronic disorganization may find that one day it just hits them.  They can no longer handle the day-to-day struggles. 

Others hit their personal tipping point when a crisis like a flood or death in the family causes them to call for organizing help. Now, on top of their everyday hassles from disorganization, they have to adapt and adjust to a new situation or transition! That extra layer of challenges becomes too much overwhelm to deal with alone!

Trying to stay afloat in a sea of chronic disorganization breeds tension and frustration. Eating habits, restful sleep and reliable health status may go downhill from the constant stress. Some feel chronic anxiety from the repeated experience of losing important things in the piles of stuff.

Why are some people Chronically Disorganized? 
Did you know that everybody does not automatically see and process information in categories and steps? 

According to Cindy Glovinsky, a psychotherapist/professional organizer/college professor and author of Making Peace with the Things in your Life, any small “glitch” in the way a brain takes in and processes information can lead to a breakdown in the organizing process.

These glitches have nothing to do with I.Q. Most of Jill’s chronically disorganized clients have advanced degrees and have achieved high status in professional careers. But, the achievements have come in spite of a constant struggle with the process of organizing.

Just naming a folder can be difficult. If everything reminds you of something else, how can you pick a name for a file folder? 

Other problems with processing may include –

  • Moving fast - whirlwind stirs things up, items fall down, objects get covered over
  • Moving slow - a sensory or info processing glitch makes organizing confusing 
  • Perfectionism - fear of making a mistake leads to delayed decisions about donations
  • Procrastination - delay starting or completing makes it hard to accomplish projects
  • Sequencing - difficulty in breaking down a goal into chronological steps
  • Distractability - problem holding steady focus leads to tangents

More information is discussed in the The Major Roadblocks to Change, a PDF article in the Features section of this website. It discusses perfectionism, procrastination and a variety of challenges clients face in choosing and finalizing decisions.

Are you Chronically Disorganized?
Answer these three simple questions:
1. Has getting organized been a challenge for you most of your adult life?
2. Does being disorganized negatively affect your life in some way every day?
3. Have you tried and failed to get organized by yourself?

If you answered “yes” to all of the above, you are probably chronically disorganized (CD).

Here are a few more questions.

Do you have many interests?
Are your projects and tasks mostly unfinished?
Have you gathered large amounts of paper and possessions–more than you use or enjoy?
If something is tucked away, do you forget to attend to it?
Is it easy for you to lose your focus and get distracted taking a new direction?
Are you frequently late because you lost track of time?
Is it difficult for you to make choices and let go of things?

According to author and founder of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization, Judith Kolberg, these are some of the common characteristics of chronically disorganized individuals.

How could Specialized Training Help You?
Chronically Disorganized (CD) clients tend to be unconventional thinkers and learners. They find that conventional organizing systems simply don’t work for them. A professional organizer specializing in CD clients can help to create a looser, more creative system that will be enjoyable and easy to follow.

Jill Lawrence, CPO-CD®, is a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization and holds her ADD Specialist Certificate through the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. www.nsgcd.org

If you organize with Jill, the process will be more interesting, stimulating and fun than with organizers who have not studied, learned and invented specialized techniques for working with clients who have ADD/ADHD as well as for other Chronically Disorganized clients.

Together with Jill, you will brainstorm and invent novel color-coded systems that are visual and memorable. For more information on Chronic Disorganization visit the Q & A section and check out links to Resources for books, support groups, etc.



Garbage Girl
by Faith Williams
February, 2000
more poems...

“I can’t find anything, not
anything. Whatever,
I let go, let up, and down
it sinks to the bottom
of the piles, or floats to
the other end, or, who
knows? If I did, it
wouldn’t be lost. I long
to be able to live a
clean, neat life, but
these times are hard, and in
hard times I make like
a hamster and shred,
dig, and rumple a house
around myself, safe, safe.
I can’t clean up, I can’t
pay the rent, I can’t
grow up, I’m stuck
in the middle of this
mess. O lady, god,
where are we going,
and how on earth
will we find our way
in the rumpling dark?






















A Clean Slate
Faith Williams,
January, 1999

Never easy for me,
I ask myself. And all these
persons inside, why it is
agony to throw things out
like ripping skin off
a snake before she’s
ready. I am in
transition, always; that’s
my trademark. Growth
so good, so messy, in space
the crumpled skin has
given. I, and all of us,
reach around inside
the space of this life
the whole stretch of it,
big loose flaky
skin wrapped around
us: babe, girl, wolf, and
crone. Who were we
then? And what on earth
might give us peace?
I struggle now to see
emptiness as another
kind of space, where
the new, clean snake
waits in balance, to see
what she will see.












On Training with Jill:
“I feel younger already after 9½ hours yesterday and 11½ hours today of learning, working with you and benefitting from your expertise, wisdom and hard work. You are a master teacher - and yes, I see myself making more income and happiness as we continue to implement your strategies and work with you. After 3/4 of a day, my husband said he is “excited” to have you working with him too!”
M.I., Psychologist, Alexandria, Virginia