My husband and I have had some construction jobs at our home on-and-off for the last several months, which resulted in an accumulation of junk in our garage. Not surprisingly, this has been stressful for me – since I hate clutter.
The guy who has been doing our remodel is a person whom I trust (still do), and we went away for the weekend a while back while he worked on our project. Before we returned, he had come to a stopping place and decided to straighten the garage for us. He gathered up paint cans that I had left divided until I could label them, filled up our tool tote with non-tools, placed some large items in front of the cabinets that I access regularly and stacked some wood on the shelf reserved for our ice chest (which we had with us). I felt annoyed, and that his work was a waste of time since I had to undo what he had done.
What does this have to do with you?
Well, I learned a couple of things from that incident. I learned what it felt like to have someone else organize for me (not with me). To be clear, my friend’s intentions were good, and he did not get rid of anything. Nevertheless, I felt disregarded, as if my needs were not part of the picture at all. I hope to never do that to my clients and have a couple of thoughts to share as a result.
1. If you ever decide to work with a professional organizer, they should never force you to get rid of anything that you use or love. The job of an organizer is to help you decide what to keep and where to store it. If you are uncomfortable with any of their suggestions, tell them. If you ever feel coerced, then either they are the wrong fit for you or they have not been properly trained.
2. An organizer cannot determine at first glance the status of any project you have going. My construction friend probably assumed that all of my paint needed to go together. He was right up to a point. My goal was to sort out the keepers from the “take to hazardous waste” cans, and then label the keepers before storing them in the cabinet I had chosen. What he could not tell is that I had them separated into two different paint projects, so that I could label them easily. Grouping them together actually created more work for me. If you work with a professional, help them understand what they are seeing, and they will in turn be better able to help you.
The day after Thanksgiving was perfect “garage organizing weather” here in Northern California. Cool and dry, not damp or too hot. We got rid of a broken fireplace screen, some scrap recycling and a bag of Styrofoam packing peanuts, then straightened and swept the garage. Now I feel better, because things are properly sorted and stored according to the way we use them. Just don’t do it for me.