Jennifer found De-clutter Me! online, reading the website Timely Tips. She got in touch shortly before Thanksgiving. We emailed back and forth, spoke, and set a date for just after the holidays, during the first week of January. A nasty snow storm got in the way, so we postponed.
Our first session date finally arrived – on a brilliantly sunny and cold afternoon, the day after another snow storm. Quite typically January.
Jennifer, her husband Jim and I sat down at their table to get more acquainted and discuss their project. There were a number of areas in the house that could use attention. We toured around, then I suggested that we start at the table itself, so they could enjoy meals in a peaceful setting without bills and other mail “intruding.”
We set to work, and cleared the table. We found a quote, from the 19th century Arts and Crafts designer, William Morris. “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” That’s good guidance!
In the pile also was a handwritten note, based on a conversation with Jennifer’s friend Jari, who suggested that they “lean into it” – their de-cluttering work. Jennifer said that she could tell that I, as a professional organizer, would be “fuel for the jet engine,” their catalyst.
Our first session’s time used up, we discussed a homework assignment for before our next session. As part of it, I suggested that they trim “dead stuff” off the plants near the table, and give them showers. (I do that monthly, in the kitchen sink or in the shower during the winter then, as much as possible, outside with the hose during the summer. Why? I figure that photosynthesis works better when not competing with dust. Plants actually look happier afterwards! An encouraging bonus, especially during the winter – the opportunity to smell the plant dirt. Spring will come!)
We spoke about areas to focus on next time, looked at our calendars and scheduled our second session for just under three weeks away. Smiles all around! Success!
That’s what Alison said at the beginning of our session, meaning that I provided the needed energy, instead of caffeine. She had requested time with a professional organizer for Christmas. Her mother, who lives in Pennsylvania, looked online, and emailed me, encouraged, in part, by my musical interests. She’s a professional violinist.
After a few exchanged emails and a phone conversation, Martha sent a check, with Alison’s local contact information. We scheduled a date during the first week of January.
Alison has a small business, in which she leads “early childhood and movement classes for babies to five-year-olds and the grownups who love them.” We would focus our time on two bookcases in the guest room/office of the apartment shared with her husband.
Attending to the bookcase on the left and working top to bottom, we first pulled books for donation and give-away. Next, we consolidated instruments. As many other clients have, we collected cords for various electronics and placed them in a basket. We straightened curricula.
Next, the bookcase on the right. We pulled boots, shoes and sandals from the top. They would go into the closet or closer to the front door. We put office supplies together. As with the other bookcase, we stored together some materials for Alison to sort at another time.
Our gift time used up, Alison was delighted, saying that she would ask her mother for another visit in early January of 2019. That’s a first! No one’s asked for de-cluttering a year in advance. Bonus points for Martha – Christmas shopping done!
Based on a recommendation for a professional organizer, Eugenie contacted me about her friend Linda. Her charming, old farmhouse was very full with two houses’ worth of furniture, plus she might benefit from some de-cluttering. We wrote back and forth about how to best help Linda.
After receiving Eugenie’s check for several sessions and some more exchanged emails, Linda and I scheduled our first session. It would be mid-day on a beautifully bright, though very cold, day.
We looked around the first floor. I asked what was bugging her most. Her answer – her upstairs bedroom, but she was concerned that I would be shocked and put off by it. I told her that I’ve seen many situations that could use some attention. Not to worry!
Once upstairs, we started with her dresser. We cleared, then she dusted it. Success!
Next, we started on some piled books, magazines, etc., on the floor next to her bed. Making a good start with it, our time was then used up. We likely would return to it during our next session together.
Azur responded to a posting on the Front Porch Forum, Vermont’s online community bulletin board. He spoke about the family’s basement, and wanting to simplify and minimize it, “like five tiny houses.” He wanted better “flow” between its rooms, which had included his work space and play space for his two daughters. Excited to start our work together, Azur said that he already had brought excess clothes to the Salvation Army.
We started in a basement interior room. I suggested that he devote a corner bookcase to storing photography equipment. Its top shelf needed some attention, but the bookcase was otherwise usable.
Next, we worked our way across two tables, which held computers, memorabilia, and other items. As often seen with other clients, there were cords from varied electronics, which we placed in a separate bin for later sorting.
Our focus switched to a bookcase in another corner of the room, which we then organized. Why no photos? They looked fine in the camera, but then came out blurry. Frustrating!
Azur was pleased, and we agreed to reconnect after the holidays. He, his wife and daughters were thinking about them. We will return to our work when it’s warm enough to create more order in the family garage.
A client gave me the following information on a beautifully clear and warm autumn day. I set it aside for when it would be more useful. Today works! It’s punishingly cold and we have some, though not a lot of, snow.