“Situationally disorganized” people are normally organized. However, certain life events can propel an organized person into a temporary struggle with disorganization. The event is large enough and disruptive enough that it interferes with the person’s regular organizing routines and compromises the their ability to maintain or adapt their organizing habits. By way of example: a death in the family, a divorce, a job change, a retirement, a move, a wedding, or the birth of a child can easily cause an organized person to become situationally disorganized. A professional organizer like myself is able work with a situationally disorganized person to help them regain control, establish order, and develop new organizing systems that will work for them in the face of the change that has occurred.
“Chronically disorganized” people have deeper, more challenging problems with organization. These individuals have typically struggled with disorganization for most of their lives, they’ve tried to get organized multiple times in the past without success, and their disorganization is expected to continue into the future. Chronic disorganization (CD) usually has a significant, negative, and notable impact on people’s lives. Many factors – among them: ADD/ADHD, neurologic conditions, anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, hoarding disorder, and traumatic brain injuries – can contribute to chronic disorganization. The Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD), of which I am a member, is the leading authority on the subject of chronic disorganization. If you think you might be chronically disorganized, I encourage you visit the ICD website for information. You also might also be interested in taking the free 21-question survey that ICD offers, entitled Are You Chronically Disorganized? While learning to live an organized life is undeniably more challenging for the CD individual, it is possible and working with a professional organizer can often be a big step in the right direction.