Americans love to shop—it’s practically the national pastime! We’re bargain-hunting, credit-card-maxing, no‑holds-barred shoppers. The thrill of the hunt and the joy of instant gratification make our economy run. But one of the threats of our consumer culture is that it’s created a huge problem of clutter in our homes. The more we buy, the more we have to maintain, clean, store, and retrieve. If you’re a typical American, you shop faster than you can manage what you already own, and that’s a formula for a cluttered home.
Clutter issues cover a broad spectrum, from a few stacks here and there to conditions so bad that you can’t walk through the house. As a professional organizer, the first part of my job is to figure out where you are on the spectrum. Can you handle the piles yourself, or do you need my help? Here are some of the clues I look for when I’m trying to help a client answer that question:
- Clutter has taken over your space. Do you have a few piles of paper, or is the top of your desk buried? Are there two or three extra appliances on the kitchen counter, or are the counter tops unusable? Can you fit a car in your garage, or have the cars been parked in the driveway for the last 10 years? Do you need a park ranger to map the footpaths that wind through the rooms of your home?
- You’re overwhelmed. The clutter bothers you, and you often think to yourself, “I’ve got to get this under control, so I’m going to start today.” But then you face the area to be organized and freeze like a deer in the headlights. You have no clue how to start, so you decide it’s time for lunch. Or maybe you start again and again, but find that you’re moving the same stuff around over and over. Does it feel like you’ve done this work many times before, but you’re getting nowhere?
- You’re ready to make a commitment. You want different results, and you want them so bad that you’re ready to spend time and money to get them. One of my clever clients put it this way: “I had to do a cost–benefit analysis on my clutter and realize that the cost of standing still was greater than what I’d have to invest to move forward.” He’s right: it takes an investment of time, effort, and money to get organized. You’re ready for a professional organizer when you’ve come to understand the higher cost of standing still.
But the reward for your investment will be huge. The time and money you commit will give you back peace of mind, lift the emotional weight of clutter off your shoulders, and make you master of your domain again, instead of a slave to the contents thereof. When you’re ready to do whatever it takes to make your space a livable, beautiful, restful environment again, when you’re ready to invest in your quality of life, you’re ready for a professional organizer.
Are you there yet?
This article was featured in our March 2010 e-mail newsletter. To subscribe to our newsletter, please use the “Subscribe” form, above right.
The Clutter Fairy is available for one-on-one organizing sessions tailored to your needs. We’ll visit your home or office to perform a free assessment of your space and its potential. Call 713‑816‑9505 or send e-mail to schedule an appointment.