I am frequently posed with some variation of the question: “What types of organizing projects have you worked on?” or “Who hires a Professional Organizer”? When I first began this business, my first several clients contacted me out of sheer desperation! Their stuff had infiltrated their primary living quarters and had become overwhelming. This is still a common reason I am called-in to help. I’d like to share a few true organizing stories with you. Although the circumstances are real, the names have been changed.
Sam called me and shared his challenges: Time constraints, recent move, many boxes to go through, too much paper and family coming to visit. We decided that the “weekend fast track” was the best option to quickly bring order to his home! I learned that many items still remaining in boxes, belonged to his recently deceased mother therefore, understandably so, he was unwilling to part with most items. My response was, “please show me where we can put it all, if purging is not an option.” He showed me to an outdoor storage shed. “You are just going to have to trust me, but I will need to start three steps back from your primary goal”, I advised him. I then quickly emptied the entire contents of the shed and then heard thunder! Looking up at the darkening sky, I started praying!! I mean, after I had just told him to trust me, now we’re seriously facing a possible rain storm!? I picked up the speed, moving all the “keep” items from the house into the back of the shed for long-term, safe-keeping. Long, funny story short, the rain held off and sixteen hours later, the kitchen, living room and dining room were all “clean and clear”‘! His storage shed was arranged with frequently-used items located at the front. An indoor office area was tidied and set in order, making a home for incoming paper. Sam was breathing a sigh of relief and was ready to receive his guests!
On the other hand, when Mary called me, I knew her organizing goals would take longer to realize. Her challenges included: over abundance of possessions occupying all areas of her large house, unable to find things so would re-buy multiple items which exasperated the problem, and a large shipment of more than 3,000 pounds of more household items would be arriving soon. It was decided that we would take the “slow and steady” path to achieve lasting order. And we would begin with the most urgent need of clearing out the 3-bay garage to make room for the scheduled delivery of “more”. Over the course of several months, each area of the home was worked through. As chaos and clutter left, the entire atmosphere changed! Mary’s autistic son, who thrives on order, was perhaps the primary beneficiary!
Jackie called me two years ago. The initial phone assessment left much untold. Vickie mentioned she hadn’t always been a “hoarder.” Depression had settled in and taken over her thoughts as a result of her mess. She had resolved to “reboot” her life by moving back to her home-town as a solution. She contacted me because she couldn’t do all the work required in the time she had to be moved-out of her apartment. When I arrived, it was evident Jackie was apprehensive and embarrassed to let me into her world. I wouldn’t dare have told her, it was possibly the worst conditions I had seen up to that point in my career. What wasn’t shared over the phone was that she hadn’t set foot into the kitchen in six years and hadn’t been into the bedroom in 3 years because of a rodent problem! This was the largest project I set foot into but by God’s grace we were able to not only clean and pack the entire place but we were able to get her deposit back, which is the greatest miracle I’ve encountered in my organizing career! From that which began slowly and methodically by simply creating a pathway from the front door, momentum was gained, the floor was discovered and packed boxes began to emerge and accumulate, replacing the complete chaos and clutter. Countless trash bags were taken out, a donation pick-up was scheduled and packing materials were brought in. Only days later, Jackie was ready for the movers! As I bid her farewell and wished her great success on her “fresh start”, she said, ” I wish I had called you sooner!” I smiled and replied, “Me too!” I kept in touch with Jackie after her move. She is doing great and has proudly shared pictures of her new place. She resolved to never let things get that bad again!
I ran into Allie, an old acquaintance, at a coffee shop. At one point in the conversation, she mentioned her storage units (plural) were a source of stress for her and her husband. They wanted to be rid of the high rental costs but the sheer volume of stuff contained within the space was overwhelmingly daunting. Allie welcomed my offer to help and a date was set! Allie, her husband, their adult daughter and I, spent two 8-hour days emptying, sorting, purging and condensing. Due to a recent, hurried move, most of the boxes contained various, unrelated items. Each item identified as “keep” was re-packed according to category and labeled. At the end of the project, an entire storage unit (the size of a 2-bay garage) was now empty! Reducing by half, the overall storage Allie and her family needed…..now that’s what we call success!
I am so privileged to be welcomed into others lives and to be a part of their success stories! So, who hires a Professional Organizer? I have found it to be a vast array of individuals; people like you and I who may have busy lives and too little time. People who have come to a point of desperation, are met with serious time constraints, have company coming over, are going through a major life change, are moving or people who just need a little help.
If you find yourself in one of these situations, please reach out! Everyone needs a bit of help now and again and could benefit from having a hard-working, non-judgmental, positive encourager on their side to reclaim their space and sometimes even their sanity!
I’d love to hear your story!