I posted a while back that I was considering getting professional help. I've been trying to find someone, and my search is over. I had her out today for an assessment, and she is fabulous! She gave me so many great ideas, and she is running a special right now that makes her EXTREMELY affordable. I've been selling at consignment sales and I'm putting that money toward getting her help. Maybe I'll post my updates to keep me accountable. My house is pretty much as clean as it gets right now and is still a mess with clutter hotspots. I can't wait to get started.
Getting help from a Professional Organizer-- My Progress
I think we are going to get started in a couple of weeks. In the mean time, I am going to try to implement at least 3 of her wonderful suggestions. One was really simple, but she suggested putting my "sell" stuff in the basement, so I am starting to do that. I'll take some pics before I go any farther. I think another I'll try to get done is to make curtains to cover my craft shelves in the play room. The stuff there is fairly organized, but the see-through containers are too much visual clutter for my liking. And the third will be the coat closet. I want to do those things before she returns.
Edited by mkksmom - 12/12/10 at 4:22pm
What a great organizing weekend I've had! I'm exhausted, but I promised an update so I'm going to start it now while I have a chance. Remember I have a 14 months old, so I may be interrupted. :)
OK- I had some things I wanted to do before the organizer came, and I did get some done. I did not make the curtain yet. I needed to have some clear working space for that, and decided to focus on the downstairs living space before the playroom, which is upstairs. I did, however redo my coat closet and put my sell pile in the basement.
So I almost put off having her come this weekend because I really wanted to get my tree decorated and the girls have colds and I didn't know how well I'd be feeling. The house was a mess because I had been using every spare minute to finish up Christmas shopping online. But I really didn't want to wait until after Christmas. So I did a quick clean-up and went on with it. I'm so glad I did. I chose to work on clearing the dining room table first, which was my dumping ground. I hate sorting through paperwork, so there was a lot of that. Plus a lot of my older dd's things and just a lot of really random crap. She put like items together and then I decided what to keep, where I wanted to put it, etc.. We got through the table and cleared off the china cabinet and a little wire cart and a set of plastic drawers for my dd. I'm glad we did all of the dreaded work first.
When she left, I was on a decluttering high, so I continued. I shredded the shred pile, including my medical receipts from my year of infertility testing and treatments from when I was TTC my 14 month old. That was freeing! I also cleared out a drawer in a buffet to put my electronic things and set up a charging station for cell phones, camera batteries, rechargable batteries, etc. I chose some linens to donate. Oh, and the organizer suggested that I should use the plastic drawers for my dd's drawing stuff. She draws non-stop and doesn't like to put them away because she is still "working on it" and this can go on for days. I decided that she can handle a couple of coloring books and crayons and some paper- but not too much. The rest i put in a closet where she has to ask permission first. The organizer suggested that I have my daughter make the labels (my dd loves organizing TV shows like Neat on the Fit TV channel). Before bed, my dd used her sticker maker to make labels. One is for her paper/supplies, one is finished art/projects and one is "working on it" I let my dd pick the titles and make the labels how she wanted. Then she sorted her stuff. I almost had her wait to sort, thinking it would take too long. It was close to bedtime, but I told her we'd start and see how much we could do before bed because she was so excited about it. Worked out well because she was very fast, and we got it all done. Oh, I took about 15-20 minutes and sorted through my in box where I had been stashing the mail for a month or more before bed too.
I went to bed las tnight with my mind reeling. I was processing all of the tips she gave, and I can never sleep well if I clean right up until bedtime. I need downtime. I finally got to sleep and the baby woke me in an hour. I brought her in and she slept 3 hours and after that, I couldn't get back to sleep. I had a snack and wrote a list of all of my projects to get it off my mind and rest, but that didn't work. I gave up at 6:30 am and came down and organized the game/craft closet in my family room while everyone else slept. It's nearly impossible to do while the girls are down here. The baby get into everything because the family room is our most child-proof room and my older dd, wants to start a million projects and starts taking things into the other rooms of the house. I brought out a folding table and got it done in an hour.
I was exhausted, but I decided to have her come back today and work in the living room. I have had my tree up but wanted to get the living room in order before pulling out the decorations. I have built-in shelves and I had them set up so nicely, but I needed a place to store homeschooling supplies last year, so I gave that up. My dd is in public school this year, and the games and supplies were out of control and a major eye sore, so that's what we worked on today. We set it back up all pretty and things are looking much better in there. I still have a million projects to do, and I have to focus on Christmas, but I am planning to do 15 minutes per day on the nursery. I want my toddler to be able to spend time playing in there and hopefully not hate her room so much. Cuz I need. sleep. really. really. need. sleep. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
The organizer took before and after pics, and I'll have to get her to email them to me. I'll think about posting them. :-) Hope this made sense. My LO was climbing on me half of the time I was typing. LOL!
Oh, one more thing. I realized today that my 14 month old likes to help my load the dryer! This is exciting because it keeps her busy and safe while I switch the laundry. She's growing up so fast... *sniff*
sounds awesome! i look forward to seeing before/after pictures!
a friend of mine is a professional organizer, and i think she's just amazing. i recommend her to everyone. i'm naturally organized, but she really helped my husband and office workers. she noted that i was rather "ruthless" about things, whereas the others were very hesitant. she was able to talk everyone through the various issues surrounding the clutter in the office, and how we can all keep things minimal and clean. having, really, only what we need and keeping the space useable for everyone, which means, in particular, for those people like me who need it to be "minimal." she said "minimal makes the decision, because a clutter-person can always do without, but a minimalist cannot do with! she is right about that!
she also believes that everyone should have space that is "just theirs" but in an office space, that means *a shelf!* so, she noted again, that if you are a clutter person, a basket on the shelf to hold your "clutter" when you are not there is the answer. it has really worked nicely for us. :)
Here are the before and afters. The dining room and living room ones are mine. The rest belong to other clients.
I'm glad to help someone. I certainly need all the help I can get, so I wanted to pass it on if possible.
Edited by mkksmom - 12/14/10 at 8:01am
I think maybe people are reading (from the views), so I thought I'd update. The living room is still in good shape, which is good because that's where the tree is. But the dining room table is covered again... although we are in the middle of Christmas crafts, so that is half of it. And there aren't baskets of bills and stuff that I need to sort through. So I guess, considering it's Christmas time, that's some progress. Actually, considering it's Christmas time AND my almost 15 Month-old isn't sleeping well and I am at my wits end with sleep deprivation, I should be thrilled with where I am right now. I think I am too exhausted to appreciate it. 8 teeth down-- eye teeth and molars to go. Blerg!
After the holiday, I am going to have the organizer over for another session or 2. I think if I keep plugging along, I have to get somewhere, right? I think I can, I think I can....
From someone who cant keep a horizontal space clear for more than 15 mins I think you are doing great. I know it takes time to re=program how you do things. Look at the table, see what is there... its it 'left overs' from a craft, things you meant to put away but got busy doing other things and didnt get back to? How do you use the dining room? Obviously you are using it as a working space right now... Maybe you are just short on crafting space??
that is so cool! thanks for posting photos. i agree, it takes time to learn new habits - especially during a time of year when you're super busy with other things. keep trying, and then have her back. you can talk to her about your problem areas and why they are a problem, and maybe she can help you figure out a different way to deal with stuff. like with your table, you got it cleared off (yay!) but then stuff started piling up again. so, what is the stuff? why does it land there? if it's mail and it lands there because you thought you'd open it and deal with it every day but you actually don't - then you need a system that works for you, like a place to stash the mail all week until you open it all on sunday, or whatever it is that you actually do. sometimes you have to change your habits, but sometimes you can just change your house to work with your existing habits and routines.
it sounds like she had some good ideas and you made a lot of progress. you know how you couldn't sleep that first night? i think it's because when you clean and especially when you get rid of stuff (and actually remove it from the house), there is a big influx of energy. i've totally had that happen! and of course then you have to make up for the lost sleep, lol, but i do like to make good use of that energy and get things done.
if you do have her back (or even if you don't) i would love to see more updates!