Monthly Archives: April 2010

Getting Organized – NOT as Seen on TV

A few years ago, the show “Clean Sweep” gave everyone the idea that in about a day or so, their home could be gorgeous and organized.  Now, the show “Hoarders” is doing the same thing.  The fact that the clutter epidemic is getting more attention is positive.  However, if you need to get organized, the important thing to remember is this: your home did not get this way overnight, so making a lasting and positive change will take time.

Since this principle applies to so many things in our lives, why do so many of us still think that the magic bullet still exists?  Saving money for a comfortable retirement takes time, losing weight and keeping it off takes time, learning a new skill takes time.  If you decide to call an organizer to help, or if you tackle the problem on your own, just remember to schedule enough time, stick with it, and maintain consistency until you are finished.  I compare this process to getting in shape.  You can’t become a long-distance runner overnight – it’s just not possible.  I started running last summer and it was not fun.  I walked most of the time, and ran as long as I could stand it.  Then each time out I ran a little more until I could run 4 miles without too much trouble.  It probably took about 6 months from couch to 4 miles.  It takes time.

If you do hire an organizer, be clear with him/her about your expectations.  Do you want your whole house organized in four hours?  This is not a reasonable expectation, even with a large crew.  It physically takes time to sort and purge items, but it takes even more time to decide what these items mean to you and how and where you want to use them in your home.  The fact is, as the client, you are responsible for making decisions about your priorities – what items fit your ideal vision for your space, and what ones do not.  I can bring a crew in and clear out your home – but what will you learn?  How will that help you to maintain an organized home in the future?  An organizer is there to coach you and ask questions, and help you see your life and your things in a new way – so they no longer own you.  But it takes time.

The TV shows don’t show you how many people worked on the home, and they don’t really show how long it takes.  Mission Organization often makes it seem like projects are completed in a day or two, yet knowing organizers who have worked on these shows, I can tell you it takes about a week – for one room.  Help is out there, but starting this with unrealistic expectations only sets you up for disappointment and frustration.  Do your research, read some books on organizing, talk to people who have hired organizers before (organizers will be happy to give you names of clients).  Decide in advance if you can do this on your own, or if the help is worth the expense.  An organizer’s value comes from teaching you new skills and helping you stay on track.  These skills come from training and years of experience, so the cost reflects much more than how much he or she can physically move around in a session.  Paying for this service is not for everyone, but many people find it very helpful for years after the initial work.  With that said, if you know what to do and just haven’t done it – then schedule the time and get going!   If it’s worth doing – it’s worth scheduling – but give it time.