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Meet Mary Dystra Novess of Within Reach Part 2

In my blog post on March 25, 2016 I formally introduced Mary Dystra Novess CPO.  She is a past president of NAPO and a warm, lovely, helpful person.  She has generously given of her time and expertise to allow me to interview her.  I hope you enjoy getting to know more about her and her business Within Reach Organizing Services.download

As an organizational consultant, what motivates us to change?

Books have been written on change and what drives it. For our purposes here I’m going to cover 2 main drivers: avoiding pain and seeking a better state of affairs (mentally, emotionally, physically, financially etc.).

One of the biggest influences on how we deal with change is how we are internally wired. If you have ever done an assessment (for example DISK), you become aware that people are wired differently; from a high comfort in embracing change through the spectrum of avoiding change. Some people seem to thrive on change while others only embrace change when presented with dire consequences if they don’t change – possible loss of job, home, relationship, or health. Change for many triggers fear. Fear that it won’t be enough to make a difference anyway or that it will be emotionally painful, or it will cost too much or that they will have to deal with loss.

For those who struggle with change (we all do at some time), the best way to become more open to change is to identify the end goals and put it in context of positive outcomes vs. the pain of possible loss. For example, if you are on a diet and concentrate on the loss of the chocolate cream pie instead of how great it will be to have more energy and fit into your favourite clothes again, it will be much harder to stay with the diet because you are focused on the pain instead of the joy of healthier and more trim you. Same principle goes with decluttering your environment and mind. I always suggest a person seek out support in the area they want change because it makes it so much easier and keeps the focus on the right things especially on the hard days.

Through helping your clients to organize their home offices you help them to increase their bottom line while improving their quality of life. What would be the first step to reaching this goal?

As Steven Covey wrote many years ago, “Start with the end in mind”. If you can’t define something, you can’t track it and you can’t attain it.

When I start a relationship with a new client the FIRST thing covered is setting up great decision making criteria in 4 key areas. Then, all decluttering, organizing, time management and decisions revolve around the client established criteria with the end goal(s) in mind.

As a speaker, blogger and trainer, you’ve been helping clients and families learn strategies to become better organized. You specialize in inspiring others to live an uncluttered life. What suggestions do you have for those that feel overwhelmed by clutter?

Identify who would love, need or appreciate the things that no longer serve you well. Donate, recycle and return items today because every day that you feel overwhelmed or controlled by your stuff/environment, is a compromised day that can lead to a compromised life and compromised relationships. If you are a reader, there are 3 books I would suggest right off the bat to read: It’s All Too Much by Peter Walsh, Everything That Remains by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus and Your Money or Your Life by Vicki Robin and Joe Dominguez. For a newer read, some are finding comfort in Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. If you are not an engaged reader, save the money and do NOT buy the books. I have been in more homes where clients have dozens of unread organizing books. In my experience, intentions will only waste money and create more clutter and guilt.

What has been your biggest personal challenge around organization?

I have my own “Would’a Could’a, Should’a” bugaboos. That’s why I have such high empathy for my clients and I don’t judge. My passion is aquatic stuff, gardens and reading for knowledge. That means for me that I have 5 aquariums, create an overabundance of vegetables in the summer and always have articles to read. To my credit, I was born with great leveling force in my gut that hates waste so I remain conscious of 1) what I spend in time and dollars, 2) what goes to waste and 3) make sure I have a way of sharing the excess so that little is wasted.  When I have an ailing client, I often do a drive by to deliver a meal and a smile. Good for them & good for me.

To keep my reading papers in check, I clip down to the article. Dad still gives me his Wall Street Journals, Financial Times, Time, building and home trade magazines and I pick up magazines that discuss organizing and simplifying. I am still old school and I love paper. I try to speed read and pick up trends, statics and tips. When I fall behind, I choose a cutoff date or relevancy date and do a quick mini purge so that things stay in balance as I am running a business, home and need quality time with my great husband on the weekends. Life is always a balancing act and there is an ebb and flow to all activities and mental bandwidth. As the old proverb goes, we teach what we most need to learn and I am a lifelong learner. It’s the gift I get from my clients and share with my clients. It is the circle of life.

Thank you to Mary Dystra Novess of Within Reach Organizing Services for sharing her thoughts with us.

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Residential Organizing Services for the Region of Niagara, Hamilton, Halton-Peel and Surrounding Area