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!
Ann and I continued, and mostly finished, emptying and transforming Bill’s office. It will become a guest room.
The room’s closet was chock full of boxes, office supplies, tools, three-ring binders, more financial records, and other varied items. We cleared it, separating items to be tossed, recycled, shredded and donated.
Next, we finished emptying a bookcase, which had held framed family photos, and many books. In an earlier session, we had placed some of them in a bookcase backing up to the big desk. We completed that task.
Moving around the room, we finished clearing off the desk. At last report, Ann said that someone from her church might want it. Once it’s gone, and the carpet has been cleaned, the room will be more ready to become the planned guest room.
When all was done, I showed Ann the saved photo of how the room looked from the hallway before we started working. A big bonus, she now could look at the room from outside without feeling overwhelmed about how it needed to be changed. That accomplished, she now could do the fun part – choose furniture and accent colors to go with its warm brown walls.
After our two “double session” days working in the basement, Ann and I started transforming another room. Her husband Bill, who had died several months previously, seemingly kept every piece of mail ever sent to him during their many years together in the house. His office had lots of paper, most of which could be recycled or shredded. There also were boxes, CDs about computer operating systems, political buttons, books, office supplies and other items to be discarded or given away. Our task was to de-clutter the room to make possible its transformation into a guest room for visitors, including grandchildren.
As with the basement, we started at one point in the room and started working our way around it. Some interim result photos follow.
During our next session, scheduled in several weeks, we will continue working our way around the room, as it changes into a warm and welcoming guest room.
She is a busy wife, mother of two active teenaged sons, and working professional. The large master bedroom in the family home has space for her office and a treadmill. Horizontal surfaces and the floor collected clutter. I suggested starting in a corner and working our way around the room.
Next to the printer, we cleared a table where her sons sometimes like to do homework and be near their mother as she works. We added printed obsolete work and school information to the scrap paper file and created other new files.
After that, on a tall dresser, we coiled some electronics cords. On the floor, we collapsed boxes for recycling, put some other things into the trash, and separated items bought online for return.
In our next session, we will continue on our path around the room.
The woman is busy. A wife, mother, and educator working in several schools, she says that she’s disorganized. No, it’s more that she doesn’t have enough time. In our most recent session, on a gorgeous spring Saturday morning when we should have been outside playing, she, her husband and I tackled part of their basement home office challenge. The morning’s task – to clear a path to the filing cabinet, so she actually can use it. We stuffed some papers into it. (Hmmm…pretty full. An upcoming summer project for her – purging papers no longer needed.) We spoke about new categories of files, to help her in her work. We put other items that she’ll use for crafts projects in the opposite corner of the room.
I first met Julia in May, when spring was just starting to take hold. Our next meeting was in mid-July, during “high summer,” with the days already getting shorter. (Yikes!) What would she like to work on? Firstly, we would rearrange her front room, opening up the space so she could exercise to DVDs playing on her computer.
Next, we spent our remaining time battling with (what her sister calls) the Paper Dragon. A few boxes and bins hold papers of various kinds that need(ed) de-cluttering attention. With more to do, we are developing a new filing system that will work for Julia. That will continue to be our focus until the task is done.
Megan’s blended family moved into a new home in July. Some rooms are settled, others can use some attention, and one badly needed work. Megan’s office was unusable. The desk was piled with varied items, and the floor was littered with boxes and bags. We got to work, first clearing the desk, so she could use it. We created new files, then dealt with all on the floor. Many papers went into a bag for recycling, other items into another to be tossed. By the end of our session together, Megan was thrilled with her office, where she now can work comfortably, instead of at the kitchen table.
I saw Sandy and Roger at a concert, and told them about De-clutter Me! She asked me to come and help at their house. What would we do? She mentioned the Paper Room. “Oh no,” I thought, visualizing a room with tall piles of paper everywhere. Arriving at their rural home on a rainy morning, we toured the house, with both of them pointing out areas needing help. Roger said that many horizontal surfaces were covered with stuff; relatively easily fixed.
Where to start? In the Paper Room, of course. It wasn’t nearly as bad as my mind’s eye had “seen.” Its closet needed de-cluttering. Sandy and I pulled lots of yearbooks (she’s a retired teacher), bags of photos she’d likely never sort. Clothes and other items were set aside for the town’s weekly budget closet sale. Roger opened the room’s window, so that all could be easily loaded from its sill into their cars. Well, mostly. A load of ~50 small Legos pieces was in a strong plastic bag, which broke, falling between pieces of wet gravel. Though he said he would clean them up, I helped. Avoiding slimy “bird doo” was an extra added “benefit.” We got it done, and shared some laughs.