Monday, August 18, 2014

"Things Will Often Look Worse Before They Get Better"

In the midst of the project

This is a quote from my welcome letter, once someone engages me as an organizer. I say it, because it's true. As we begin to sort through things and move them around, it can look as though things have exploded, similar to the big bang, when the universe began. This has to happen in order for things to come back together again, in a new, more functional order. Change requires change and it cannot happen without disruption.

My goal when working with clients is to help them to work through the transition of change with the minimal amount of stress, using a systematic approach and pacing. Even so, there is always a time during the project where things look worse, and then suddenly, once over the hump, begin to get better. It's important not to give up before that happens, or worse, not even begin the project because the idea of it is so overwhelming.

I have experienced this up close and personal this summer, as we embarked on the project of re-doing my 15 year old daughter's room. This was something she initiated and really took charge of and I was very happy to support her as she transitioned her room from childhood into sophisticated young adult. It involved lots of emotional sorting and purging and I watched her struggle with letting go of the concrete representations of her younger self to make room for her new, mature interests.

We purchased a new headboard and huge desk from Craig's list, which not only displaced her old furniture, but also commandeered the garage for several weeks as she began painting all her furniture to match. The contents of her room moved into every nook and cranny of the rest of the house. Everything came out of her dresser, nightstand, desk and closet to enable all the painting and the installation of her closet system, all of which, as you can imagine, created quite the chaos.

In addition, this summer has been a super busy one for our family. A visit from my mom for one month, hosting a young woman from Spain for another, overnight camp for the girls, summer school for the younger kids and me trying to work in between it all. Throw in several more projects, including installation of a fan in our downstairs bathroom, some much needed and long awaited major landscaping in our backyard, a new shed, rearing and tagging of 180 monarch caterpillars in our dining room and the rehabilitation and taming of our new rescue cat, Lucky, and you get the idea of how it was.

There have been several times this summer when I have felt very exhausted and cranky because of the crazy state of things, when there wasn't one room I could go into that did not have a mess of miscellaneous things that didn't belong there, epitomizing the proverbial "worse before better".

I coped by doing lots of deep breathing, some complaining (which always relieved me) and mostly by just giving in to the chaos. (Click here to read another post about Living with (Some) Chaos). Surprisingly, when I let go of my own expectations that things will be in control, I am able to push past it.

Finally, I am beginning to see the light at the end of many of the projects. It will still be a while before all the leftover debris is dealt with (extra furniture and items) from the transitions as I have to sort through a few more closets and the attic to make room for new things to store and purge out unneeded. For now, I am happy with the progress we have made and with my ability to cope during the chaos.

Here are the "better" photos at the tail end of my daughter's room re-do.

For help with any organizing project
simply call Linda, 716-631-5619.
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