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Why I Wrote Book About People Affected by Chronic Disorganization. And How Did I Get Here?

December 3, 2022

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Hello, I'm Jen
As a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization® (CPO-CD®), I am uniquely qualified with the knowledge and experience to help you with ADHD issues, hoarding, chronic disorganization, and aging. 

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After 4 years of intense scribbling, late nights typing, and some hair-pulling, I’m happy to announce that Making the SHiFT® will be available on Amazon from March 2023. 

Today’s blog is different from my normal ones, where I provide organizing and decluttering tips

Because I’m going to let you in behind the scenes of my new upcoming book, Making the SHiFT® True Stories of How People Affected by Chronic Disorganization Learn to Live a Deserving Life.

I wanted to share my journey and the thought process behind creating this resource for those affected by chronic disorganization, their family members, and other professionals who specialize in chronic disorganization. 

Most people know about hoarding or luxury professional organizing, but chronic disorganization is often swept under the rug. It’s not talked about a lot because people may feel ashamed or embarrassed of their situation. 

After years of helping people organize and SHiFT® their lives, I wanted to shed light on real people’s transformational journeys and show the world that change is possible. 

And fortunately, they allowed me to share them with you. 

Now, let’s get started and answer some questions.

Who Are You?

Hi there! I’m Jen Cazares, founder and owner of Livable Spaces™LLC. I specialize in helping people affected by chronic disorganization, hoarding, ADHD, and aging get organized and SHiFT® their lives. 

For nearly a decade, I’ve been organizing specifically for people affected by chronic disorganization (CD).  

What Did You Do Before Becoming a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization® (CPO-CD®)?

Every life experience I had delivered me precisely to my purpose — to work with people affected by chronic disorganization, but my life before was pretty different. 

Let’s take a trip down memory lane: 

  • My first job was in human resource management. I learned about confidentiality, sensitive information, business organizing, and employee relations. 
  • In my second career, I wanted to do something different, so I became a caterer, chef, and restaurant owner.
    • I ran a small business and organized events. 
    • I honed in on my time management skills and creativity. 
    • Learned a ton about food nutrition and its impact on people’s health 
    • Developed meaningful relationships with customers and learned from them too 
    • I became people focused. 

After 20 years in the food industry, it was time for a change. 

How Did You Become a CPO-CD®?

In 2015, I met Connie Anderson, a professional organizer who piqued my interest in organizing (she later became a great friend too!). 

When I first met her, she was a Professional Organizer, and later she invested in her education to be a Certified Professional Organizers® (CPO®). 

In September 2016, we went to an ​​Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) conference in Portland, Oregon, and that’s when we were exposed to a whole different level of organizing — one I’ve never seen in traditional media.

And it wasn’t just “organizing.” 

It was about people affected by chronic disorganization resulting from ADHD, hoarding disorder, PTSD, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other brain-based conditions. 

And I had to learn more. 

I started organizing and helping others. But I noticed that for true, sustainable change, I couldn’t just help with decluttering and moving things around to make the space more functional. 

So, I got certified through Institute for Challenging Disorganization® (ICD®) to become a CPO-CD

As someone who loves learning, my ambition to become a CPO-CD® and an expert on the subject, the environment, and helping people feel deserving of a livable space and a better life – came to life. 

Why Did You Decide to Write a Book About Chronic Disorganization? What’s the Inspiration Behind It?

I never had any intention of writing a book. 

One day in January 2019, Connie said she wanted to do a TED Talk presentation about people affected by chronic disorganization. She asked me for ideas regarding people affected by CD. 

Oh my, I have tons of ideas for a Ted Talk. 

That conversation got me fired up. My head was swirling with ideas, and I started writing down the different subjects she could talk about with notes scribbled all over my notepad. None of the notes were complete sentences, just words or phases. 

Connie then said, “We should write a book.” 

I said, “No, there are so many books about organizing on the market; what more could we add? Besides, it’s too much work, and I don’t have the time anyway.” 

In March of 2019, I went to my high school reunion. In the welcome session, they had a Powerpoint slide show where they used the word “PRESENT” as an acronym and a metaphor.  

And I LOVED it. 

When I got home, I wanted to create an acronym and a metaphor to illustrate a change in my work with CD clients. 

In one of my favorite Netflix series called The Queen’s Gambit, the main character, Beth Harmon, looks up at the ceiling as she would imagine chess pieces on the ceiling and imagine herself playing full games until she wins. 

My story of how I created SHiFT® was like that. 

In my office, staring at my notebook of words and phrases, I’d see letters twirl around until I saw… SHiFT. 

The idea then started to grow into something more.

What does SHiFT® mean, and why is it the “i” lowercase? 

The most impactful areas of one’s life that clutter affects are one’s social life, health, finances, and time. The “i” of SHiFT® is a person that can become crushed by SH FT. 

Here’s a short excerpt from my book:

The lowercase “i” looks like a little person. It represents the human at the center of the SHiFT® method: the client. They’re surrounded by all these other life factors—social factors, health, finances, and time. When these other factors start to seem overwhelming, the human (“i”) at the center gets crushed.

By helping your client reframe their outlook and learn to manage the social, health, financial, and time aspects of their life, the S, H, F, and T back off. More space is created, and your client finally has room to breathe, experience happiness, and even feel deserving of that happiness.

 The “i” in the SHiFT acronym stands for “I am deserving.” To make lasting, positive changes in their life, a person affected by CD must feel deserving of those changes.

What Was the Writing Process Like?

It’s been a long and challenging process. 

I have been working on the book since 2020, which will finally be published in March 2023. My schedule is already hectic. Then I added writing a book to the mix. (And yes, you can call me nuts!) 

What Did You Learn While Writing the Book?

If you feel passionate about something, you can achieve it, no matter how much is already on your plate! 

I am passionate about Making the SHiFT® and helping people do the same. 

What’s a Myth About Those Who Are Chronically Disorganized? How Do You Combat Those Myths?

The myth is that people affected are lazy, dirty, don’t care, that they can just “do it,” so something must be “wrong” with them, or they’re stupid. 

Nothing is further from the truth! I shout out to everyone I meet that these are deserving people who need help. 

We all need help at one time or another in our life. I also encourage others not to judge them when they don’t know their story. 

It comes down to education, education, education, awareness, and ongoing conversations, like all sensitive matters. The world needs to be more empathic and compassionate. 

This book shows the thought process and inner workings of those who have chronic disorganization. After reading the book, you’ll see many different types of people who can be affected, and you’d be surprised. 

What Is Something You’ve Seen or Practiced That Has Always Helped Those Who Are Chronically Disorganized Improve?

100% listening — that’s probably the most important thing — it’s so simple, completely overlooked, underrated, and obvious! 

What Story About Chronic Disorganization Are You Telling in This Book That Others Haven’t? What Do You Hope Readers Take Away From This Book?

I wanted this book to be a collection of true stories of my clients who have made the SHiFT®. But it’s real, so some clients don’t stay with the process long enough to experience the SHiFT®. 

I am not sugarcoating anything, nor have I cherry-picked only clients who have experienced the SHiFT®. I am not telling people what they should and should not do — the stories are raw and relatable for other CD people who the SHiFT® will inspire.

Hearing or reading others’ stories makes us feel less alone. With an inside look at each client’s story, you can see how chronic disorganization affects people differently. 

Through these unique stories, we can all learn from one another and better understand each other. 

Where Would People Be Able to Purchase Making the SHiFT®?

Making the SHiFT® — digital and printed copies — will be available on Amazon from March 2023. 

To be the first to know when the book comes out (and automatically be entered for a chance to win a signed, free copy):



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