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Most everyone knows that a fence or a wall set around a building is a boundary. It lets people know that when they enter, they are entering someone else’s property.  Why does someone want to have personal boundaries?

According to Oxford Languages a boundary is a line that marks the limits of an area. When thinking about personal boundaries, I like to think of it as having an invisible fence that protects us and that has a gate we control. Everyone has boundaries but not everyone has the same boundaries.

It is important that your boundaries work for you rather than inhibiting you. Our boundaries help us work towards a more balanced lifestyle.

When you inform others about your boundaries, it tells other people how they can treat you.

How do you set your personal boundaries?

  • Have clarity on your values and priorities. Our priorities are the areas of our lives that are important to us. There are many aspects of our lives: work, family, spiritual, health, community, and recreation. Know what is important to you in each area.
  • Our priorities help us determine how much time, energy, and money you want to spend in each area of your life. Knowing our limits helps us set our boundaries and easily say yes or no when opportunities arise.
  • Be clear and straightforward in letting people know where your boundaries are. This should be stated in positive terms – what you need or want rather than what you don’t need or want.

Areas to consider when setting boundaries:

  • Time

Time is one thing that can never be regained. It is up to us to decide how to use it.

How much of our time do we want to spend on social media?

What part of our day do we spend on work?

How much of our time do we devote to helping family, friends, or community volunteer work?

How much do we need to use on our own self-care?

We only have 24 hours each day.  Don’t squander it.

  • Money/possessions

Our money and possessions are there to serve us. Planning on how to utilize these resources and setting boundaries will keep us from feeling stress and remorse.

Setting up a budget plan for your money sets boundaries on how much you spend for different categories. This cuts down on impulse spending and overbuying on holidays and on vacations.

Knowing your boundaries for letting others use your possessions makes it easy to say yes or no when someone asks to borrow your car, use your computer, or even your crockpot.

  • Space

Having a space in your home where you can retreat is important. It can be your office, a meditation area, or a reading nook.

Most areas in our homes are shared areas. Boundaries on how these areas are used and kept prevent one person from taking over the area. One person’s things should not overflow, taking over countertops and spilling onto the floor.

Putting boundaries on your own personal space lets you know when you have more stuff than storage. When you know that one dresser drawer is designated to hold all of your workout clothes, then when that drawer gets overfull you have crossed your boundary and need to declutter.

In Conclusion:

Just like organizing and cleaning, personal boundary setting is not a once and done project. It is a lifetime skill that needs regular assessing.

For a deeper understanding of personal boundary setting and an opportunity to ask questions, sign up for our next monthly Lunch ’n Learn class on July 14 with Diane Quintana and myself. The topic this month is Boundaries and Goals. It is a one-hour class beginning at noon EST on Zoom and costs $19.95. Email Diane ( ) to register.

Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, award-winning author, as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients.





  • Seana Turner says:

    I think space is one of the areas where we forget to set up personal boundaries. When people share living space, for example, it feels like everywhere is communal. I know some people have a tough time expressing a desire for a private space, even a section of the kitchen counter. I think it is nice when every family member has some sacred space where they can put things without worrying about them being moved, piled upon, or otherwise interrupted.

  • I feel that setting space boundaries fosters respect. I do not go uninvited into my husband’s office, and he respects my space as well.

  • Julie Bestry says:

    I’m very, very big on personal boundaries. My initial instinct is that the harder someone pushes on my boundaries, or the more they assume that I don’t have them, the more firmly entrenched I make sure they become. No, I won’t talk to clients one weekends or non-business hours. No, I won’t do that thing that’s not what I do. No, I won’t give you (random stranger) money. No, I won’t join (random acquaintance’s) MLM for jewelry or spices or storage bags or whatnot. I can imagine to some people, it seems like inflexibility, but I know that my sanity and serenity depends on my boundaries not being breached. I like the way Seana refers to having “sacred” space; whether it’s physical space or time or money (or emotional button-pushing), being clear about your boundaries and, if necessary, repeating them, is key.

    (Granted, I live alone, and I imagine the longer I do so, the harder it will be to recognize the flexibility necessary between keeping your sacred space and living communally. Maybe finding that balance is a subject for a future post?!)

  • Kim says:

    This is really great. I love how you have broken it down into categories. I have never thought of boundaries in those ways.

  • Boundaries and having them are essential to your well-being. I had to learn this as an adult, and it wasn’t easy. I appreciate you saying it’s something that you need to be vigilant about and continually work on. I find this to be true.

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