Sometimes Any Warm Body Will Do
Last week, a client remarked that she felt so much of her success connected to having someone there with her while she made her decisions. This is absolutely true. Before we can put everything away in their new homes, we’ve got to go through all of those the things and choose which ones are worthy of being in our presence. This can feel overwhelming when we do it alone. Having another person to sit with us, keeping us focused and listening to our decision process makes a huge difference in our progress.
Before you begin, make sure you are truly ready to assess your stuff. If you’re not ready, that is perfectly fine. You don’t want to empty out your linen closet only to put everything right back because you just weren’t ready to donate a thing. I know some organizing shows present the process as “Look at this messy pantry! Let’s take everything out and put it in clear, labeled containers! That’ll fix it!” Real life improvement requires going through all of the things in that pantry before running to The Container Store.
I recommend choosing a Professional Organizer for a fully judgement free, focused, and compassionate partner. However, if you want to start right this minute but don’t want to pay money for a face on a screen, you could ask someone who loves you to be your Decision Buddy.
Before you go texting everyone you know, let’s talk about what kind of warm body you want.
You want someone who will support YOUR decisions.
Your wife is a great person. She may also want you to keep every pair of shoes you’ve ever purchased because “you may need them some day.” Or maybe she’ll give you a five minute monologue on why you must throw everything away because it’s all terrible and ancient. Either way, she is not supporting you to make the calls on your things. You need someone who will tell you, “heck yes, keep it!” Or “no, you are absolutely right, donate it STAT.” It is sometimes hard to trust ourselves to make good choices and we don’t need someone sabotaging that trust.
You want someone who will not judge you.
Your best friend is wonderful. They may also be the most unsentimental person on the planet. They do not understand why anyone would keep a birthday card from 1997 and they will tell you so with That Look on their face. You may need a minute to honor the memory of the thing before making a decision and that is perfectly normal. If you find your Memory Stack is covering a 10 person dining table, you can reevaluate. However, when given time and emotional space, most of us find our personal scale for deciding what we truly want to honor and what is recycling.
You want someone who is patient.
Your son is the best son ever. And he cannot sit still for 10 minutes. He wants to immediately throw what he considers “trash” into a 30 gallon black bag. When you start talking about the story behind a picture you found in the drawer, he fussily responds with, “yes, I was there, Mom, I KNOW.” He loves you very much. And watching someone declutter is not his thing, like, AT ALL. You want someone who is happy to hold your hand through the process. When we feel rushed, we can get flustered and make poor decisions or completely give up altogether.
So find that person in your life who will pop on a video chat with you for a bit. They will watch you go through your things with interest, cheerfully listen to your stories and plans, and applaud your progress. They will truly enjoy spending that time with you and you might even inspire them to get going on their own pet project.
Then, when you are ready and able to invest in your future calm, you can hire me or any of the talented pro organizers listed with the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO) at https://pro.napo.net/