My life could be an episode of Love It, Or List It. I go from renovating, rearranging & continually trying to add function–to scanning the real estate listings on the regular. And, after what we’ve gone through with stay-at-home, social distancing, remote learning…aren’t we all feeling a bit cooped up and cluttered?
This was a selfie I took after Revi played a game called, “Pile Everything on Mommy,” and if it’s not a cry for help, I don’t know what is.
So, I did something I’ve always wanted to do–a wishlist project. I hired a professional organizer.
Here’s what happened.
We\’re in our forties…we have a lot of stuff we’ve accumulated. Doesn’t everyone? Add three children to the mix, and BAM–you have a nightmare. What should be a big enough house for all five of us ends up feeling like a never-ending pile of clutter.
Our Personality Mash Ups
Clutter creates anxiety, and I am constantly cleaning up. 90% of the time I like to have everything in its place.
This is an example of how I like to store things we aren’t using.
My family? 90% of the time, all three males in this house drop whatever is in their hands–including garbage–right where they’re standing, when they’re done with it.
This is my children’s way of storing their things.
My youngest is four–and she is BY FAR the most helpful member of this family. But, while she is happy to wash every dish in the sink and put away all the laundry in the right drawers, she also can create clutter disasters.
Revi decided to remove everything from the shelves. It was super fun to clean up.
She collects “bits & pieces” in bags, backpacks and baskets. She paints her toenails in the middle of my bathroom floor. And, there was the time she emptied her ENTIRE closet into one gigantic pile on her bedroom floor. For anyone who asks the question, “Where was mom while she was doing this?” Trust me. This girl is stealthy. She works FAST. And, there’s no distracting her with things like screens. Give her ten minutes, and she’ll either do the laundry, or destroy the world.
Bring In the Professionals!
So, I’ve always wanted to enlist the help of a professional organizer. I’ve spent time scouring articles and personal accounts of people and methods. I read Marie Kondo’s The Magical Art of Tidying Up, and it was refreshing and enlightening. It actually taught me why I hold onto things, which lead to get rid of a lot in the past few years.
But, I was still facing a problem I couldn’t solve on my own. I needed help.
This experience moved me way beyond any progress I\’ve made.
The Right Time
What made me decide to finally take control? This school year, I have everyone out of the house on a regular basis for the first time in forever. Hubs thinks we need a bigger house; I think we need better organization. A bigger house only means more cleaning, right? So, when I saw a local women post on Facebook about being a professional organizer, I reached out.
I gave her some details about what was frustrating me the most. I shared a quick video of just walking the area that was driving me crazy. We set a date. It was a pretty simple, uncomplicated beginning.
Just what I needed.
When she arrived, she wanted a brief tour of the house–in general, the closets, cabinets and storage areas, since that’s where we have the biggest issues. She listened to me, asking questions, “Is this working for you? How does this work?” Or simply, “Tell me about this.”
Having studied home organization, working with other families and being a mom herself, she was already aware of the continual struggles. She was supportive and encouraging. She assured me that there are so many families out there struggling with how to manage their households, especially after the year and a half we’ve had.
Supportive, encouraging and non-judgmental…exactly what I needed.
Getting Down to Business
After touring the areas of our home, we sat down to talk–and plan. She asked me about my areas of struggle, following it up with, “What would it look like if there were no obstacles.” She gets it–if you can dream it, you can make it a possibility. While discussing the problem areas and issues I was facing, a few answers came to light. Like therapy, the answers will come out the more you talk about the problems with a professional.
Because I thrive with the “everything in its place” method of organization, that\’s where we went. But, don’t kid yourself. I’ve TRIED to do this before. It’s never worked.
But, that was BEFORE I had an expert. She was determined to help me solve this. She went in–determined to help me create an environment that could be managed.
You can SEE the floor.
What We Accomplished:
I have designated areas that belong to me.
I find comfort that everything in my storage room has a place.
I kept things that I wasn’t ready to get rid of–even if my reasons for keeping them only matter to me. And, I was able to do it without judgment.
I got rid of things that I secretly hated, like glitter, thinking it made me a better mom. “Glitter NEVER comes into your house.”
My kids have a lot less toys. Don’t tell them that. They haven’t even noticed. I was given the freedom to donate anything I was sick of cleaning up.
We worked together with a “Less Is More” way of thinking, encouraged by my professional home organizer, through questions she asked, reminding me of my goals–in a very unthreatening, kind way.
I was able to remove enough stuff to fill my SUV with the seats in third row down to donate everything–that day.
How Has This Helped?
With the set-up we created, I was able to do an additional eight hours of organization the following day–BY MYSELF. Everything has its own place, so I was able to organize any clutter I found into its correct place. I also felt confident in what I was getting rid of. In eight hours, the following day:
- I went through all three kids’ closets and purged: clothes, books, school papers and kid “stuff.”
- I cleaned up the playroom of a basement we have, and NOTHING is on the floor. The shelves have a lot more room on them.
- I went through some of the storage area–now organized–getting rid of more items. (Including duplicates I had, but didn’t know it before everything was organized.)
- I took another full car load of stuff to donation.
- In the past week, I wanted to do an additional 30+ minutes a day. And, I’m not done yet!
My Advice? Get a Professional Organizer.
One aspect of hiring a professional organizer is the money. How do you justify it? The mental toll that clutter takes is huge. For five hours, I paid someone to help me get started on a path that would remove that mental toll–for good. My assessment?
It was worth every penny.
My husband, who would never have agreed to this, asked when she’s coming back.
Future attempts at organizing? I have a plan because of tips and tricks she gave me.
What room, or area, of your home do you struggle with on a daily basis?
If you’re in the Fox Valley, IL area, reach out to my professional organizer at firstname.lastname@example.org
See more of my home decor, plants & DIY projects on Instagram.