The Top 10 Reasons People Fail at Organizing

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There are 10 common reasons that most people fail at organizing.

It could be only 1 reason throwing them off, or it could be all 10. Regardless, the outcome is a continuous feeling of overwhelm.

I certainly don’t want to see you struggle, or lose your business, simply because you’re having trouble getting organized. We can fix that!

Check out these reasons, and solutions, if you feel like you fail at organizing your business, but you’re ready to make a change.

The Top 10 Reasons People Fail at Organizing (and how to fix it)

1. They just have too much shit. Period.

This is the heart of it for so many people. You can’t organize your way out of clutter. Before you can properly organize, you need to remove the excess. 

Sometimes, this is going to involve mindset work. You’ll have to figure out why you have all this stuff, why you’re holding on to it, and what it will take for you to let go.

SOLUTION: Declutter and let that shit go! Stop letting “things” control your life and take back control of your space, whether it’s a physical or virtual space.

2. They care too much about making things pretty.

I get it. Some of the organization stuff on Pinterest and Instagram is honestly porn for me. I can lust over labels as much as any nerd. While it feels amazing to make things pretty, and it makes for great social media content, that shouldn’t be your motivation for getting organized. Things rarely stay pretty.

SOLUTION: Function is far more important than pretty — I know, I love Target too. But if it’s not functional and efficient then you won’t keep up with it. Once you have a good system, then see what you can do to make it prettier.

3. They think organizing is a one-time project.

This isn’t a weekend project that you knock out and it’s finished forever. Sure, you can, and should, do organizing projects on the weekends, but it needs to be a regular occurrence, not a one-and-done event.

It’d be awesome if we could just organize our Google Drive and it would stay perfect, but that’s not how it works. You need habits and routines to keep things organized.

SOLUTION: Schedule recurring organizing tasks on your calendar — Automatically recurring tasks are the foundation of my business. I couldn’t operate without them. (I use Asana for recurring tasks, but ClickUp is cool too.)

4. They make it too complicated.

Whenever something is complicated, hard to do, boring, or just plain annoying, we tend to avoid it. If you make a complicated system for organizing your business, you’ll never use it.

SOLUTION: Just keep it simple!! The most simple solution to a problem is the best solution (that’s basically the sum of my knowledge from engineering school).

5. They don’t prioritize organization.

If you don’t have enough time or energy, you’re never going to spend your extra bits of time and energy on organization. So, you’re either too busy because you can’t say no or you just aren’t setting priorities.

SOLUTION: Remind yourself why you want to be organized. Remind yourself about the benefits of being organized. Look closely at your schedule and find a few minutes of time here and there that you can dedicate to organizing, or find something that really isn’t a priority and replace that with organization.

6. They don’t know where to start.

When you’re starting from rock bottom of the chaos zone, it’s going to feel pretty overwhelming when you think about organizing. How could you possibly get it all done???

SOLUTION: If you usually fail at organizing, start small. Organize a drawer or the top of your desk. Use this basic process: 

  1. Remove everything from the space and clean it
  2. Trash anything that’s junk, recycle if possible
  3. Put away things that go in a different area
  4. Declutter and donate anything you don’t use
  5. Organize whatever is left over and enjoy!

When you’ve tackled one small project, take a break and admire it. Use before and after photos to motivate yourself. Move on to another small project and slowly work your way up to the big projects.

7. They procrastinate and over-plan.

You can look at pictures on Pinterest (I know because I’ve done it), but it won’t get you any closer to being organized. You can also buy all.the.templates but they won’t magically organize you unless you actually use them!

SOLUTION: You should absolutely plan your organizing projects, but you don’t need to go over-the-top with it.

8. Their team/family is disorganized.

You spend all weekend tidying, resetting, and organizing the house, but then your spouse/partner/kids/whoever comes along and suddenly it looks like a bomb went off in your organized space. The struggle is real.

The same thing also happens if you have a team for your online business, and they make a mess of the digital storage or project management system.

SOLUTION: The fix for this struggle with organization isn’t more organizing. It’s communication. Explain to the people you live with or work with why organization is important to you. Make them aware that their behavior is causing you stress/anxiety/overwhelm and it costs you a lot of time and energy.

Also, teach them about your systems for organizing. Show them where things go and give them a chance to learn instead of expecting them to figure it all out on their own and becoming frustrated when they don’t.

 9. They are perfectionists.

This is 100% me 🙋🏻‍♀️ Many perfectionists become paralyzed (analysis paralysis!) when faced with a project like organizing because they are afraid they will fail. Either they won’t do it right or they won’t do it well enough or maybe they will actually make things worse.

SOLUTION: Let yourself fail. I repeat (mostly for myself)… let yourself fail. It’s through those “failures” that we learn and grow and adapt. When you figure out what doesn’t work for you, it will lead you to the best solution. The only real failure is not even trying.

10. They don’t know how to organize.

It may seem obvious to some people, but there’s quite a bit that goes into organization. If you weren’t taught those skills as a child or didn’t learn them on your own as an adult, it can feel impossible to get your business, and your life, more organized. You may even think that you’re just not an organized person.

SOLUTION: The truth is, everyone can be organized. You just need to find your style. Organization is a skill, not a personality type. Find a system that works best for you.


Let’s get to work! Which of the above “reasons” is holding you back from experiencing more control in your business?

Is it the amount of stuff you have? Or is it your mindset? Or maybe you’re trying so hard to organize things perfectly that you’ve achieved some level of uber-organizer that’s exhausted you.

Or is it more than one of these struggles holding you back?

See if you can identify the primary thing holding you back. Then, work on a practical and simple solution. It’s perfectly okay if this takes a while.

Eliminate each struggle with organization until the overwhelm melts away and you’re living your best organization life.

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