I’ve never been a particularly organized person. I blame it on my artsy, creative side. But for the most part, I can create the illusion of order when I have guests. In fact, I’m the queen of the “panic clean.” My husband jokes that all he has to do is invite people over for the house to get straightened up. Honestly, it’s amazing what I can get done in an hour of focused cleaning, while frantically barking orders to my kids (insert laughing emoji).
There was a time, however, that I would always run into “stuff” that had no designated place. That stuff would get thrown into my bedroom when I needed to do a quick pickup for guests. The pile of unfolded laundry on the couch? Throw it in the bedroom. That stack of mail/papers we hadn’t gone through? Throw it in the bedroom. Clutter on the kitchen island? Quick, throw it in the bedroom!
Eventually, the “stuff” stopped making its way out of my room once stashed there. My bedroom began to feel more like a storage unit than a restful place to sleep. I felt stressed. I saw the inconsistency in telling my kids to keep their room clean when I wasn’t doing the same with mine.
With three little humans running around, I felt I was spinning my wheels by repeatedly cleaning the main areas of the house, while not having time to make a dent in my crazy bedroom. I finally had enough and was ready to lay down my pride to gain some freedom. It was time to call in the big guns: I hired a professional organizer.
Finding an Organizer
I had already been following several local organizers on Instagram to get some tips and inspiration. I loved their pages, but the price to actually hire one started around $100/hour, and I felt it was too expensive. But when the holidays rolled around, I came across a Black Friday special offered by one of the organizers. I bit the bullet and sealed the deal with a three hour session. Merry Christmas to me!
When the organizer arrived for the appointment, the first thing she did was ask for a tour of the house so she could get an idea of how things were run. She didn’t look in any closets or pantries. She just wanted to get a general “lay of the land.” I had been straightening up almost to the minute she arrived, so things were looking pretty good. She actually smiled when she saw my living room area, so I took that as a win.
We finally made it back to my bedroom. Initially, she just stood back and mentally assessed the situation. Then she went around the room asking questions like, “What is this used for?” “How often do you use this?” “Tell me about this area.”
Once she got a sense of what needed organization, we worked together to sort and separate like-items. I already had several containers of different sizes that we used during this process. They ended up being incredibly helpful, and I was glad to finally put them to use. My organizer also didn’t show up empty handed. She came armed with large, heavy-duty garbage bags. We used one for donations and one for throwaway items. My throwaways consisted of things that I really didn’t need anymore, but weren’t in good enough condition to donate (like old shoes or well-loved kids’ toys).
There were definitely moments when I reminded myself of people on the show Hoarders! One of my biggest challenges in staying organized has always been my sentimentalism. I find it hard to get rid of things that have memories attached to them, especially if they’re from my childhood and teen years. The organizer helped me make some good decisions about what is and what isn’t worth keeping.
When it was all said and done, we filled two large bags for donation and one large throwaway bag. I was left with a sense of freedom and accomplishment after getting rid of things that I no longer needed. I now feel more empowered to make room for what’s truly important in my life. I have no regrets about anything I let go because at the end of the day, it’s all just stuff. Being organized and having a system allows me to have time for what matters most: spending time with family.
**For my local Birmingham mamas looking for an organizer, I had a great experience with Carrie with Kempt Professional Organizing! There are several great organizers in Birmingham, so have fun meeting the person who’s right for you and your needs!