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What if you could ask me a question about my experience as an organizer that has nothing to do with how to get organized, but has everything to do with the clients I have helped. Could you think of a question? I think you could because it happens to me all the time. When I first started my business my family and friends asked me vague questions such as, “How’s your business going?”
The more challenging questions have come from the clients with which I work. They want to know how much they have in common with the other people I have helped. But what I know they are really saying is "please tell me this is not the worst you have ever seen.”
Almost all the comments reflect the suffering self-esteem of the person with whom I am working. And yes, most of my clients are women. The ladies usually make comments about their situation in lieu of asking a question, but it is still their way of requesting a reply. So let’s pretend you have written a letter to “Dear Amy,” and now you are reading my response.
Disorganized in Detroit writes: "I feel like I should be able to do get my house in order by myself.”
The women who agree to work with me are experiencing or have experienced a period of time in their lives of being overcommitted to their jobs, family, church and social calendars. It only takes a few weeks of not dealing with the physical stuff in your life before it starts to really back up and become an overwhelming situation.
You are dealing with your clutter by asking me to help you. If you had a flat tire you would take it to a mechanic to get it fixed, because if you did not, it would put you behind in dealing with everything else in your life.
Your system of dealing with your stuff has gone flat. So you took the initiative to bring in a professional to fix what is wrong with your system, so that you can be more effective getting the stuff done that is important to you. Chin up, Disorganized in Detroit, the day is soon approaching when you will be squealing tires and taking the checkered flag in your race against disorder.
Clutter Collector in the Country writes: “My family cannot believe I am paying someone to help me deal with my stuff.”
Sometimes we all need an objective, nonjudgmental perspective because of the emotional ties we develop with our stuff. Since your family is obviously not able to be neutral, you let them know you are not going to bother them with your problems. Your family is not living your life.
If you have found a way to make your life better they should be happy for you and encourage the process, instead of casting their line of criticism into your lake.
To show them how you have succeeded in the organizing process, host a bon fire and hayride in your honor and invite your doubting family. On the menu…crow! Don’t give their previous opinion a second thought. Your family will be proud of you because you will be proud of you.
What I really want to tell all my readers out there is that comparing your situation to what you imagine could be the worst situation out there is futile. Those thoughts do not create productive actions. So stop thinking and start doing. Ask someone for help. It is not a sign of weakness to take control of the stuff in your life that gets in the way of being your best self.
Help can come in the form of many types of professionals such as a dietitian, psychologist, friend, minister or an organizer. Take the best care of you, so you can take better care of those things and people that are the most important in your life.
The Neat Freak
Amy Keeling Walton is owner of The Neat Freak Professional Organizing in Bardstown. If you have a question for this column, e-mail email@example.com.