How Does Someone Become Chronically Disorganized?

How does someone become chronically disorganized? Perfectionism contributes to chronic disorganization. People feel like they don't have enough time to clean the way they want to, so they avoid cleaning at all.

When asked "How does one become 'Chronically Disorganized'?", Lorie Marrero, who is the owner of "LivingOrder", a professional organization company that creates organizing solutions for homes and businesses, offers this explanation: "Oddly, some of the problem is rooted in perfectionism, which sounds really strange at first. The reason is that they have 'all or nothing' thinking, and they tell themselves, 'If I cannot do this perfectly and fix it, then I don't want to do it at all.' So they don't have time to do it the way they want to and they just let it go. Then they keep letting it go for years and years and they get overwhelmed to the point that they have one spot in their house, like their bed, where they feel safe and always go there while everything else just deteriorates around them."

Being "Chronically Disorganized" is completely different then just needing some help in home organization. It is a disorder that affects a person's entire life, not just there housekeeping skills. In an earlier interview Lori mentioned and organization called that's a branch of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) called National Study Group for Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD). It defines the term as "having a past history of disorganization in which self-help efforts to change have failed, an undermining of current quality of life due to disorganization, and the expectation of future disorganization."

Their website at has information for professionals and the general public alike on this disorder with a statement of, "The mission of the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization is to explore, develop, and disseminate to professional organizers and related professionals organizing methods, techniques, approaches, and solutions that will benefit chronically disorganized people." The website offers a "Clutter Hoarding Scale" that helps professional decide on if a certain client has Chronic Disorganization, the "Are You Chronically Disorganized?" test which is based on a series of 21 questions to help you decide, a fact sheet entitled "Common Characteristics of the Chronically Disorganized", another entitled "Are you Situationally Disorganized?" as well as self-help sheets such as "Tips for Communicating with the Chronically Disorganized", "Tips for Overcoming Procrastination" and "Time Management for the Chronically Disorganized".

The group also offers a great publication on "Causes of Chronic Disorganization" that separates the different factors, and symptoms of each into categories such as "Neurologically Based Conditions", "Structural/Environmental Factors", "Poor Development Skills", "Mental Issues", "Lifestyle Choices", "Communication Problems", "Systematic Factors", "Addictive Tendencies", "Difficulties In Making Transitions", "Aging Issues", "Beliefs And Attitudes", "Physical Challenges", Learning Styles" and "Life/Grief Crisis".

The NSGCD website also offers a list of publications that one can read to learn more about the disorder. It also maintains a list of how to contact professionals that are specially trained in the Chronic Disorganization available in different areas. You can obtain this list of local professionals by requesting the information from the organizations referral department via the e-mail address listed on the website.

If you feel that you or a loved one is "Chronically Disorganized", the earlier you seek professional help with it, the better and easier the healing process will be.

© High Speed Ventures 2011