I Can’t Seem to Get Organized

I am considering taking a leap and it is called:

Hiring an organizational consultant before my head explodes.

My hairdresser gave me a business card for an organizational consultant the last time I was in to see her, and it really got me thinking. I am by nature messy, cluttered and disorganized, and these traits do not mesh well with having a very small house filled with a family of four. I had never thought of hiring a professional organizer before, but when I held this pretty green business card in my hand, my heartbeat quickened with excitement.

Everything in our house could have a place.
I could nag train everyone to put things back in their place after they are finished using it.
Yes, I would indeed nag myself too.

It sounds like a win-win-win to me!

I have such good intentions, but I just don’t have the skills. I look at the piles and think to myself that it would be so great to get that little mess of a corner under control. So then I study the area for a little while; I tilt my head and look a bit longer still, and then after realizing that I have no idea what to do with the clutter, I inevitably slowly back away from the trouble spot and go put my nose into a book or my computer and practice my avoidance technique. I am pretty good at that part.

I have had some great ideas in the past. After we renovated our ground floor a few years ago, we set up a cupboard with the top shelf to be used for the girls’ school paperwork and homework, while the bottom shelf was for mail and bills that needed attending to. It has, of course, become our dumping ground. When someone is coming over, everything gets shoved into this cupboard so that we can present the illusion that we have a clean and clutter-free home.

It actually doesn’t look as bad as I thought it would, but yes, that is a homemade birdfeeder at the back.

Another brilliant idea that I once had was to organize the recipes that I clip from magazines and newspapers into a binder. I set up the binder with plastic sleeves and dividers for all of the different types of foods: appetizers, soups, main courses, baking. It worked well for a time.

The problem is that once things become disorganized in our house, then they stay that way until something major comes along that forces us to clean up – like a renovation or some other similarly catastrophic event – and this clearly isn’t happening frequently enough. A couple of weeks ago I was setting the table for a small dinner party at our house and I was looking for the napkins. We store these in the cupboard above the fridge, which is difficult for me to reach. I can however reach them if I am on my tiptoes and they are on the bottom shelf of this cupboard, right at the front. That evening I was craning my neck, trying to see the napkins, but I was having no luck. I hauled a dining chair in front of the fridge and hopped up. The napkins were behind an incomplete set of water glasses that had been moved up there because we no longer use them.

Ever in the cheerful mood, as I always am, I said to Tony, with no discernible frustration in my voice at all: “This kitchen is soooooooo inefficient.”

Tony turned from what he was preparing for dinner and replied in his always patient voice (sincerely, this part isn’t sarcastic): “It works fine for me.”

And it’s true, it does work for him. He doesn’t mind a little mess and disorder, while for me, a messy kitchen means that I will not cook, or even want to go near the food preparations.

I don’t want you to think that we are gigantic slobs, because that isn’t the case. Most things have a general area in which they are put away, but it is just that there are many frustration factors that I come across in the house throughout a typical day, and these inefficiencies can occasionally make me just a little grumpy.

So I am looking at this business card and wondering if it would be worthwhile to call this person. I know that Tony and I could do this on our own, but we are probably too tired and lazy busy to tackle the house these days. A little spring tidy up could be a nice way to usher in spring. And if nothing else, it would provide some great material for blogging.

I would love to hear if any of you have ever hired anyone to help organize your home and what your experience was like.

About Finola

I am an Ottawa area Mom, writer-want-to-be and coffee legend in the making.
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14 Responses to I Can’t Seem to Get Organized

  1. Lynn says:

    I never have, but I'd love to hear all about it if you go through with it. I'm like you – I have little piles of clutter all over the house. In fact, I have a pending blog post about the piles and piles of books that seem to seep into every room in the house.

    I can *get* organized, I just can *stay* organized. Systems have to be very, very easy for me to use them on a regular basis. I'd love to hear if the consultant has some cool unique ideas for keeping paper and schoolwork flowing through the house.

  2. Eileen says:

    I've never used an organizational consultant, so I can't help you there.

    However, your post motivated me to get rid of a bunch of stuff that has been hanging around my living and dining rooms since Christmas.

    Thank you.

  3. John says:

    A cluttered mind is a creative mind.
    And that's my story.
    And I'm sticking to it.
    In any case, meh, so things clutter up around your digs. Big deal. Our place usually looks like a tor-typhoon-icane took a stroll – except for every Wednesday when our bi-weekly cleaning service visits.
    The neatness lasts until precisely 5:23pm.
    Revel in your clutterness! Embrace it!
    That is all.

  4. Sara says:

    Or try to convince your neurotically organized friend Sara to come and lend a hand 😉

  5. Liisa says:

    OOh – the last comments sounds like a great offer. I would take her up on that.

    I am the worlds best “hirer”. Someone tells me they are a professional in some area that I didn't even know I needed help with and I end up hiring them.

    So yes, I have used a professional organizer. She was actually a designer/organizer and she helped configure the weird and small laundry room/mudroom in our old house for storage of laundry stuff and then storage for hats, mitts, coats, sporting stuff. I have never used one to organize paperwork or systems though.

    I am pretty strict around here when it comes to certain clutter areas of our house (especially when I'm tired) so everyone knows to put away the stuff they really want to hold onto.

  6. Kiera says:

    Seems like the story of my life–evey though we have just moved to a house almost twice as big and most of our stuff is still in boxes in the basement. I say go for the organizational consultant. If you like him/her, I might just hire him/her too!

  7. Finola says:

    Lynn, I will definitely write about it if I go ahead!

    Eileen, The house looked great when we were there Sunday, and thanks so much for dinner Mom!

    John, I hear you and I believe in what you are saying. I try to let go a little and not let it get to me, but it isn't easy.

    Sara, You did come to mind when I wrote this. We should talk 🙂

    fit for a kid, Sounds like you have the troops trained well. Any tips on how you did that??

    Kiera, I will let you know. And if any of those boxes are still not unpacked in two years time, I say toss them!

  8. Sid. says:

    Though it makes me sound like a freak, I would quit my day job in a minute to be a professional home organizer. I love organizing and re-organizing!

    My motto for getting rid of clutter: when in doubt, throw it out. If you don't use it, or have a good place to put it, get rid of it. Better to reduce the amount of crap you have than spend money buying more stuff to organize your stuff. I have a giant blue box in my basement reserved for stuff I'm donating to the Salvation Army.

  9. Laura says:

    I just borrowed a book about 30 days to declutter. I am feeling the exact same way you are Finola. Will let you know how the book is…if I can find where I put it in the house! lol

  10. Brandee says:

    Who are you, and how did you get into my house? I also have a very small house, with a family of four & two large dogs. *sigh*

    I haven't hired an organizer, but if I wasn't so embarrassed, I would let my mother or my cousin in to do it.

    Best wishes from a fellow non-neatnik!

  11. Capital Mom says:

    My first thought was to ask Sara. 🙂

  12. This is my life too! I have also thought about hiring a professional organizer. The biggest thing I need though is upkeep. I can't have someone come in once and then leave me … doooonnnn't leeeaaavee me 😉

    As it happens, a good friend of mine is starting up an organizing business and she is setting it up so that there are maintenance plans. I LOVE that idea. Ingenius.

  13. Allison P. says:

    I am soon to be selling my house and moving, and I have to say, it's been the ONLY actually successful motivator to get me to deal with the piles around the house. To show the house, we can't have PILES. Simple as that. I have been amazed at the volume of stuff I can now, under these circumstances, easily part with. I'm talking green garbage bags by the tens headed for the Sally Ann. Why didn't I do this earlier? Because I didn't have to!!!

  14. Urban Girl says:

    haven't hired anyone but would love to know how it goes if you do!

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