John Trosko – The importance of being organized

There is something about getting organized. That ‘high’ of accomplishment post wardrobe clear out, garage clean up or collections demobbed. It helps us develop a new relationship with our ‘stuff’ and the result can range from quiet satisfaction and peace of mind to a grander liberating experience.

To learn how to achieve this, today we are talking to John Trosko Los Angeles-based professional organizer and owner of OrganizingLA. John and his company professionally plan and supervise organizing systems in homes and businesses. By applying creative and technical solutions, John’s company teaches others how to spend less time searching for the things they need, which results in more time for the activities they love.

John is also 2007-2009 President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO-LA) and his press coverage includes the Los Angeles Times, BusinessWeek, DailyCandy,,, Better Homes & Gardens, Estates West Magazine as well as national television segments for Scripps Howard Broadcasting Company. John is truly the doyen of organization so if this is an area of challenge for you, listen well..

John, what do you feel are the benefits of decluttering our homes and work spaces?

If you work in a business, how much time are you wasting looking for client-related paperwork? If you’re a lawyer, there is absolutely no way you can charge a client for the time you are using to locate a lost file. You’ll never recoup this cost and it just eats into your bottom line. If you can cut down file retrieval time from 2 hours to 30 minutes wouldn’t that be an achievement? Being organized will save you time, stress, and ultimately money because you’ll find what you want, when you need it.

Where do you see people get stuck with their organization goals and how do you help them get unstuck?

In my business, there are many reasons why people get stuck. When I began doing “organizing” as a business, I used to think if someone adopted a system, their organization worries would go away. I would walk a client through the front door, talk to them about where they drop the mail, and why. I’d set them up with a better basket in the ideal location, put a label on that basket, sneak a trash can in there somewhere and drop a letter opener into the basket. I’d coach the client about the value of systemizing their daily mail to keep the paper clutter at bay. But nothing on Earth is going to get them to actually maintain the system if they don’t care enough, or they’re not taking responsibility for what comes into the front door.

What do you mean being “responsible?”

I realized over the past four years, that people’s attitude about their stuff and systems need to change before they can make lasting improvements. So it’s not about the stuff, and it’s not about the systems. People need an overall vision of what they want their home or office to look like and get the help to keep it that way on a regular basis. The relationship to their stuff needs to shift. By eliminating the need to stop blaming their disorganization on a partner or small limited closet, they focus on what they can start doing now, on a personal level. This means that when you shop for something and bring it home, you assume the responsibility for the care, maintenance and storage of that item. You take the responsibility for putting (or not putting) something away in a cabinet or drawer when you’re finished using it. You can chose to have your space a mess or make tiny steps necessary to keep it somewhat tidy. If you shift your thinking and put value and responsibility into your choices and actions, you’re more bound to want to take care of your possessions and increase your chances of maintaining your space.

I love the awareness that our responsibility begins right at the check out register! John, thank you for your organizing wisdom and for shedding new light on our clutterbug challenges.

If you feel you are in need of more organizing tips John serves as Editor of “OrganizingLA” an online blog delivering daily productivity tips and trends, and in October John will become a contributing author to Samantha Ettus’ “The Experts’ Guide to Doing Things Faster,” published by Clarkson Potter, a division of Random House, Inc.

In the meantime think of the multiple benefits of tackling that unruly drawer, selling that old box of vintage comics or sorting through that pile of paperwork….
Looking forward to that sense of accomplishment.

P.S if you are up for the challenge don’t forget to donate or recycle your stuff! Working Wardrobes , Salvation Army, Green Dump Truck , and many more organizations will be thankful for your newly found decluttering skill!

© The Red Barn Cooperative – Working together to nourish lives
A Red Barn Coaching initiative

This ‘nourishing conversation’ was picked up and featured in a blog carnival compiled by One Organized life.

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