I have too much stuff and not enough time to sort/process/organize it to my satisfaction. So it sits around in piles on counters, in boxes in our office, and on shelves in closets, driving me and (especially) my husband crazy. But we have an extra bedroom, and it’s been serving quite nicely as a junk room ever since the PC died/we started using only laptops/there was no longer any need for an “office.”
But very soon my mom will be coming to live with us. And that junk room needs to be cleared out so it can be her bedroom. And the guest room, which held any overflow from the junk room, needs to be cleared to be HER junk room! Okay, it’s not really junk, but craft and sewing and hobby supplies. But there is enough of it to require a bedroom of its own. So now I have to deal with all my junk, and quickly. I figured I needed Help.
Yesterday afternoon, a professional organizer came to our house to give me a “free consult.” It was a beautiful thing. Finally, someone was here to help me with my clutter. And not just anyone…
1) Doesn’t have an emotional relationship (either positive or negative) with my Stuff.
2) Has a lot of experience actually finishing organizing projects.
3) Promises that in exchange for an hour of my time (during which I take her on a show-all tour of my house and its inefficiencies) she will give me a Plan to follow.
4) Will work with me to implement this Plan, and
5) Will hopefully at some point soon tell me how much she actually charges for her services.
So right after I say good-bye to my new best friend, but before I can finish more than one pats-on-my-own-back, it comes to my attention that my husband is not thrilled with any of this. Why not? If we can afford it, why not?
Well, here’s why not:
1) He’s a very private person and doesn’t want a stranger going through our stuff. Don’t even ask if he knows about this blog.
2) He’s suspicious of everyone until proven trustworthy. What is the “catch” here? Free consult = too good to be true. What have I agreed to so far? She probably just wants to sell her own products. Best/worst of all, what if this lady is just casing our joint to plan a future robbery?
3) He was raised to be more frugal than hiring someone to help us organize our stuff, and as a matter of fact…
4) He already knows what to do to organize our stuff and has been telling me that for years.
What?!? My own spouse has the answer to my lifelong issues with disorganization? Why haven’t I listened to him before?? (Too late to address reservations #1 & 2.) Turns out it’s because his solution involves me delegating more household work to him and the kids. And I am terrible at getting other people to do work. I’d rather just do it myself than deal with the whining and complaining. And you should hear the KIDS! (*ba-dum-POW!*) But seriously, folks, I am a bit of a dishrag, or a doormat, or whatever dirty/limp/underfoot kind of object you want to imagine. So I have made attempts at delegating work before, but somehow it never stuck.
But this time was different. Why? What finally changed?? Again, I prefer to answer these imaginary-questions-from-the-imaginary-audience in list format:
1) I’m pressed for time and have to get things done before my mom’s stuff arrives from the East Coast, a full month before she actually arrives. And I do my best work for a deadline.
2) Though I may be a slow learner, eventually things do sink in. Usually this happens right after Someone Else tells me the same thing that hubby has been saying for years. (Gee, I can’t understand why that annoys him so much.)
3) He used a great metaphor to explain my situation. Some might call it a cliche; I prefer to think of it as a “classic.” He pointed out that the reason I can’t wrap my brain around all that needs to be done at home (and then get my body to follow through on my brain’s ideas) is that I’m too busy doing the work that’s right in front of me. In other words, I “can’t see the forest for the trees.” Ha! That’s so true! And here’s one I thought of: “The title of Manager doesn’t mean so much when you are also the only one doing any of the work.”
So I made up a preliminary chore chart, with which I relinquished all responsibility for feeding the dog, taking out trash, putting away other people’s laundry, and emptying the dishwasher. Oh, and dinner one night a week is all hubby’s doing, including planning and obtaining the groceries for said dinner. The People must also help entirely clear the table after meals, not just bring out their own plates and cups. And hubby will teach the kids how to load the dirty dishes into the dishwasher.
O.M.G.!!! (Another oldie but goodie.) I could not believe the amount of mental energy that I gained almost immediately, just knowing that I wasn’t responsible for everything anymore. All the work on that chore chart is being done now because it is someone else’s responsibility, and not because they are (apparently) doing me a huge favor. In the short time the chore chart has been in effect, I have done tremendous things around here. My executive functioning got a major boost. I have ideas and I am calmly implementing them while other people do some of the work I used to do.
Oh, don’t get me wrong: if the organizer is at all affordable, I will still hire her. And my husband will deal with it, because I believe it needs to be done, and doesn’t he want me being in charge of things around here? What I really mean is that his idea was totally great, and I’m (as usual) kicking myself that I didn’t listen to him sooner. But I still have a deadline to meet, and more importantly I want to Be Done With Constantly Trying To Get Organized and get on with my life.
So hurry up and email me, organizer lady! Let’s have a second date and see where this takes us!