The professional organizer came over last week and the week before. She also had a design background (and she’s a stager) so I was looking for assistance in how to not just make things neater, but look more stylish as well. Her name is Judy Ott. One of Judy’s first comments about the entryway really cracked me up – “have you thought about hanging some art here?”
Gee, you mean the bare naked walls need something? My answer was, “Uh…no.” Not because I was against it or anything, but somehow that just seemed like such an advanced decorating move when I was still trying to figure out basics like how to keep the mail from accumulating on the dining room table.
Anyway, the most functional and used room of the house, the kitchen, took nearly 8 hours of her time over two visits. And we didn’t even get to the pantry. This is what happens after you have 11 years of buildup in your kitchen.
She opened every drawer. She took everything out. She made me question what it was for, whether I used it and did I still need it.
There were some interesting things I learned about myself, like WOW did I have a lot of Tupperware and apparently I never used the scraper attachment that came with my handmixer because I use a spatula.
Anyway, I had a lot of bits and pieces that belonged to dead or gone appliances. I even had the manuals for them. For example, I have a mad, mad love for my George Forman grill. I am on like my 4th one in 12 years (I use them so much the Teflon wears off). I have had so many that apparently I now have a zillion of those trays and spatulas it comes with. I decided I really only needed two of each but if Judy had not asked me about it, I wouldn’t have thought to get rid of the extra trays and spatulas. My brain had associated the “I have a grill and these are the parts for the grill” the analysis ended there until Judy interrupted that association.
Oldest stuff I found? Gift receipts from the stuff off our wedding registry! (11 yrs old.)
The other thing Judy made me question was why things had to be in the kitchen, especially if I didn’t use them everyday.
- Ex. 1 – the cake carrier. That thing was ENORMOUS. And it didn’t fit in anything so it lived on top of my microwave and I had to dust it all the time. I also only used once a year for Monkey’s birthday. Judy very reasonably pointed out that I had plenty of storage room in the garage shelves and to designate one section for the kitchen goods.
- Ex. 2 – the hard liquor. We have this kitchen passthrough, except it was so full that nothing could pass through it! Judy moved all the hard liquor to the garage shelves. Guess it was pretty obvious we weren’t drinking it from the dust on the bottles!
- Ex.3 – the warranties and manuals for the appliances. I kept those in a kitchen drawer where they were sitting next to the dishtowels (I know, no idea why that happened). Judy pointed out they should be in the office, which was totally logical since I had filed all the stuff that came with the kids’ appliances there.
Pros of hiring of a pro:
1) It forces you to schedule the time to do it. I devoted two weekend days to do this. I found child care and I had nothing to distract me from my goal, to Git’Er Done!
2) The pro has no attachment to your stuff. The pro can ask you why you need it and it makes you look at the stuff differently.
3) The pro is way faster at sorting stuff because the pro isn’t remembering why that item is nifty or a gift or one you used to use a lot.
4) It is someone who helps you shoulder the load. I don’t know about you, but sometimes decluttering and tidying can be a lonely and thankless task which can slow me down.
5) You are paying for the professional expertise and it makes you buckle down a little more rather than procrastinate.
Would I do it again? Yes. Am I doing it again? Yes. Anytime soon? Hope so, but it’s actually really challenging to block out that much time to do it and now that I know how time consuming it is, I also know how expensive it is so serious budgeting is required (~$100/hr). Judy was great, and she worked super hard to help me clear stuff. It was definitely worth all the time, effort and money to reclaim my lovely kitchen.
What’s next? The clearing of so much visible space was very satisfying. I want to keep going and finish the kitchen (there was one drawer and a couple of corners we couldn’t get to within the time we had.) up. Also, now I know that when I get rid of an appliance, to get rid of all the stuff that comes with it (the box for the appliance in the garage, the manual in the drawer, the attachments).