When Sean and I moved in together, we went through the process of merging our belongings. We thought we had done a decent job purging and finding spots for each of our things. Even though we had decluttered and organized, we realized we still had too much stuff while we were moving it all into our house. We ended up with boxes filling our second bedroom so that we couldn’t use it for its intended purpose of an office/guest room. We went at it again, deciding what could stay and what could go.
After a few attempts, we felt overwhelmed and stuck. Even though there was progress with each attempt, it was quickly undone when we did a frenzied tidy before guests came over for dinner. You know, when you shove all the extra into a room and close the door so you appear to be tidy? Finally, we had had enough and decided to hire a professional organizer to help us create a sustainable, neat environment. This may sound extreme or indulgent but it was some of the best money we have ever spent!
Enter Maggie Meganbir, owner of Calm, Cool and Uncluttered. Sean and I came up with the main reasons Maggie’s help was so valuable and why hiring a professional organizer could benefit you too.
A professional organizer can help you to:
1. Commit time
Although Sean and I had planned decluttering and organizing sessions, it was easy to put them off when something more fun came up, and really, what isn’t more fun than decluttering? When we hired Maggie, we were committed for the appointments we set up. As we had homework of sorts between sessions, the second appointment was a goal to work towards.
2. Clarify how you want to use your space
We already knew our kitchen and spare room had issues but we didn’t know why. Turns out, both places became a catch-all. The kitchen was where our mail, bills, and day to day belongings landed. At the other end, the spare room was where everything we were trying to hide from guests ended up. Both spaces had things that didn’t belong in them. By describing how we wanted to use the spaces, it quickly became evident what didn’t belong there. Once cleared of the misplaced objects, we could address the excess items that were in the spaces. This created a domino effect because the closet where some things belonged needed to be re-organized to accommodate everything but because we had a clear vision of where everything was going, the task was easy and energizing.
3. Understand the reason why you have clutter
Both Sean and I had some ideas about why we were holding on to some things. I’m sure you have read about reasons why people have clutter (if not, check out our Pinterest Board on decluttering here). There were definitely a few items that had sentimental value, were being kept ‘just in case’ or because we could. Maggie helped put our reasoning into perspective and gently prompted us to make a decision. And those decisions kept getting easier and easier.
4. Give an impartial view
Maggie had no attachment to our things or the meaning they had to us. They were just things. Objects. There was no ‘His’. No ‘Hers’. There was no sentiment. It was just stuff. Stuff we didn’t even realize we were having a silent turf war over. We thought we had done a good job of merging our belongings. Instead we had just found a way to make everything fit and didn’t properly assess our needs. It was silly once we realized it, but there was no judgement. Just help in clearing out what wasn’t needed and places found for what was now simply ‘ours’.
5. Suggest storage solutions for specific needs
Because we converted our basement to a suite, we didn’t have a lot of room for storage. We did keep a small area to store things but it was tight with the Christmas decorations, small freezer and folding table and chairs we needed for when guests came to dinner. Maggie noticed the wall space we had at the downstairs landing and up the sides of the stairwell. This became the perfect spot for some hooks to hang the table and chairs as well as brackets for the broom and mop. It was a cheap, easy solution that we hadn’t thought of.
The amount of help/time you need will determine the cost. We hired Maggie for 2 sessions, 3 hours each, and used her time with us to clarify what we needed, find a direction to work towards and help make decisions on items we were having a hard time letting go of. Sean and I worked longer than that to shred, sort, clear and organize. Maggie’s help was invaluable in getting us focused. Some of the tips we shared can help you without the expense of a professional organizer, but a couple of short sessions might be what you need to see some fast – and lasting – change.
You can find more information and a professional organizer near you by searching the associations below:
What has your decluttering experience been? Let us know in the comments.
-Denise and Sean
P.S. Check out our post on The Decluttering Mantra you Need