"AN AMAZING SURPRISE" BY AMY NEWKIRK
I was just putting out feelers when I sent in my request for an organizer. I felt DESPERATE, sure that my life was destined to be one big rat race that I never could a handle on. I saw no end to the chaos and clutter in my life, no possible way that I could ever change. But I was still curious about an organizer. I didn't think I could AFFORD one, didn't think I could find the time to work with one, didn't think I could overcome my embarrassment and let a complete stranger see the horror of a house that we were piled into. Although I was curious, I had NO intention of following through.
I received calls or email from all of the organizers referred to me. And I blew them all off, like I was sure I would, still thinking there was no HOPE for me or my home. Then one organizer caught me at home, and we had a nice chat. She was practical and straight-forward, and she said things in the very beginning that made me secure that she wasn't going to try to make as much money as possible on me, that she would be honest and FAIR. She told me not to hire someone to do my entire house, but to hire someone to just do one room. Commit to a certain number hours, then evaluate how effective it was. Then she left me to THINK about it.
She had intrigued me for sure, but I still had little intention of following through with it. Maybe in a few months when things are calmer, maybe next year. Finally, I decided to give it a TRY. We agreed to a 4 hour session to work on my worst room, the guest room where my clothes lived. The one that always looked like the aftermath of a tornado. She walked into my house, took a look at my room, and said "You're going to have to eliminate at least 50% of what's in here." I mentally panicked, and thought this would never work.
But I trusted, and I worked through the PROCESS with her, and I listened to her guidance. The transformation was nothing short of miraculous. When she left 4 hours later, my guest room looked fabulous! And the CHANGE it made in my life! I no longer dreaded putting away my laundry, because I knew exactly where to put it. I no longer threw my clothes in the floor or on the bed, because I knew what to do with them. I no longer laid in bed each morning, dreading getting up and trying to find something to wear in that disaster area, because I knew exactly where everything was.
Well, we've had several more sessions since that first session, each one leaving me with a much nicer house, a boost in my self-confidence, and more of the WEIGHT of shame, exhaustion, and chaos taken off my shoulders. When I first began, I didn't know if I could afford this. Now I realized that I couldn't have afforded NOT to. There's just no way to express and capture the full measure of gratitude I have towards this wonderful lady. I wanted you to know what the referral has meant in my life, what a life-changing experience it was for me. I would never, ever have met my organizer without your website, so I have you to thank for this transformation as well. I just wanted you to know that you made a real difference in my life, and I am very, very GRATEFUL to you. God bless you for what you do, and I hope your website can help other people just like it did me.
The organizer that was referred to me by www.OnlineOrganizing.com kept in touch, unobtrusively, by emailing me, until I was READY to begin my organizing. My Dad died on Christmas eve, so from the time I first contacted her, to when we actually began working together was several months. I also have ADD, which I made her aware of, and she had experience with Attention Deficit Disorder adults.
The first session, I was afraid that she would be "too professional," and scare me away from the whole thing. She arrived in WORKING clothes, ready to sit on the floor or whatever it took. She was very warm and friendly. I first showed her my list of areas of concern: my purse, my papers, no "homes" for things, list making, inability to stick with my own systems, but pretty good at other people's systems. We talked for awhile, then started with a TOUR of my bedroom, where I have a small office. Then we got to work.
We picked up all the papers and took them into my Dad's room, where I said I could have my office. She created a system of FILING, and we went through all the papers. I didn't have any problems throwing things away. After three hours, we organized most of the papers in temporary folders. She left me with a list of SUPPLIES to get, which I did as soon as she left.
She also left me with a LAYOUT of the new office. She said, "I think it would give you much pleasure to be working in the room where your Dad used to breathe. It would be a way to keep his memory live, instead of letting the room eventually turn into a storage area." I liked the idea of that. She is probably right about it becoming a storage area. I especially like the way she described how being in that room might give me PLEASURE, because it does now.
She wants me to work on the permanent files, since I have the supplies to do that. But sometimes it's hard on my OWN. I was much more motivated when she was right by my side. It's expensive having her here, but when you consider therapy can be up towards $200 per hr. and insurance will pay for very little of that, her fees are worth my mental well being. I hope I learn to do things by MYSELF and stop sitting around, looking helplessly at piles of things. That's my goal, but I can also envision having "maintenance visits" with my organizer, once we have finished the major projects.
My organizer came in a snow storm for an all-day appointment to our second session. I would have called in and said I couldn't make it, had it been me traveling an hour (in good weather). She is very DETERMINED and it seems like commitments are very important to her.
We went to my bedroom and gathered the rest of the papers that were on the floor, in baskets, in boxes, in folder, in binders, and brought them all to the room that I chose to have as my office. She was still convinced about me using my Dad's room as an office, concerned that otherwise I would not have a REASON to go in there, and felt it was important that I do go in there. The amazing thing about my organizer is that she has great intuition and great empathy for the human soul, and thinks beyond "organizing" to how one lives their life, in a way that is very hard to describe. She is more a healer than an organizer. It's as if the organizing comes in CONJUNCTION with healing whatever underlying psychological problems may exist that are preventing you from being organized.
We talk a lot while working, but she keeps me on task, and is very fun to work with and has a very cute sense of humor. I believe, at this point, it is imperative to find a good match in PERSONALITY, when hiring an organizer. My organizer could probably work with anyone. She makes you feel important and successful and functional. However, working on all those papers was not fun. I lost concentration a few times, and at one point, around 2 o'clock, had to make coffee, and take a break, because I just couldn't do it anymore. I also took my medication for Attention Deficit Disorder, so by the time we got back to work I was okay again. My organizer made me feel good by showing me all the containers we emptied of papers. She is a great cheerleader, MOTIVATOR, and always fun to work with. You can tease her and she is a good sport.
The hardest thing was working on the same thing all day. I really liked one of the file headings and all the categories we made. It is "IDEAS". I constantly tear out magazine pages for work ideas (I have a gallery) or home, or things to make. Also, I make notes on index cards whenever I get an idea. All of this was mixed in with unopened bills, insurance stuff, you name it. Now it is where I can find it again. Of all the filing we did, I like that the best. Most of the stuff I don't care if I ever find again, but those things are very IMPORTANT to me.
Also, I had brought a long, rectangular, old, 'seed tray' from work, and put it up on two small matching shelves as a work surface, and told my organizer that I thought I could put glass on top then put MEMORABILIA under the glass. She said I could put some of my Dad's things there. I never thought of that.
She is always in tune with the very recent loss of my Dad, and trying to find ways to keep his spirit close to me. That illustrates her healing nature. This is why she is so important to me, and why working with her goes beyond picking up and sorting hundreds of pieces of paper. She is more HELPFUL to me in that way than my psychiatrist, my family, or my friends. She constantly finds ways to involve my relationship with and remembrance of my father. I am GRATEFUL and honored to have her in my life.
For anyone who is contemplating hiring an organizer, I would say this: A) A good match seems to be very important. I don't know what I would have done if I couldn't stand the person I hired. I probably would have lost interest in the whole thing. I guess it's really important to spend some time INTERVIEWING and getting to know your organizer first -- to make sure you match well. B) If you are in the state that I was in, you can't afford not to hire an organizer, one that works from the ROOTS of the problems. My organizer is worth every penny. My life is changing because of her, and I am indebted. I will keep doing this as long as I need to, giving up other things to work it out. It is that important to me.
My organizer came to finish the office. The papers were sorted, but I had not DONE anything since she left. I hadn't even shredded the huge box of shredding, which would have been a really mindless, easy task. I had a very hard time motivating when she wasn't around. I would look at piles of things (and still do) and not be able to BEGIN. I recognize, now, after doing some reading, that this is part of the grief process, and very normal, after losing my Dad.
She came and moved a lot of furniture around my office, always checking to see if I would like that ARRANGEMENT or if it was comfortable to me. She is very fun -- and probably just having her around, talking about my Dad, her life, my life, and yet getting some sense of order at the same time, was the most helpful to me. I was LOST in stuff. But I never forget her philosophy or process.
We also worked on the magazines. I save every magazine I get, because there is something in them that I may use in my garden antiques and floral design business -- how things are arranged, how the light is in a certain picture, products I want to investigate, colors I like, articles to read, etc. My organizer delights in my CREATIVITY -- which to me is (a lot of the time) more of a burden than a gift. I am extremely visual and always thinking of something to do. She had me tear out pages and classify them by "floral", "organizing", "decorating ideas", "product", etc. I have not finished the magazines yet -- that is my HOMEWORK -- but it's there, it's a system, and I can use it when I can.
I hope that moving, which has employed a lot of my organizer's philosophies as I pack, will be the jolt I need to focus on my space. My new place is a lot SMALLER, and I am leaving a lot of furniture to my daughter. I am only taking very meaningful pieces, and leaving the rest to her. As I packed my many books, I took the time to classify them by "art", "gardening", "Irish fiction", "general fiction", "Dad's special books", 'Dad's airplane books", "Dad's non-fiction", etc. That way, I don't need to UNPACK what I don't want out.
Between the Attention Deficit Disorder, the death of my father, and many changes in my life, my organizer has been a life saver, and left me with a STRUCTURE and a way of thinking that I can incorporate when I have the energy to do it. She also has great empathy for how I feel about my Dad, and the grief, the loss, the sadness. I miss her and wish I could have her help me pack to move. I know it would go a lot faster, be a lot more efficient, and most of all be a lot more FUN.
www.OnlineOrganizing.com is a service mark of Bradford, LLC.
To see what people are saying about www.OnlineOrganizing.com, check out our visitor comments.