A few months ago, a friend came over to my house with Thai food and open curiosity about what a professional organizer’s home would look like. Expecting a sparse, sleek living space, she was surprised to see I have “stuff” and lots of it. That, and the fact my 1930’s bungalow is funky and eclectically appointed, for sure.
Kitchen momentos and wall sculpture, loads of art supplies, a bat-cave basement decorated to near-tackiness (Hey, it’s the hubs happy place!), and most importantly, a welcoming feel of personalized comfort. My house is a kick-off-my-sneakers-and-exhale home, not a furniture designer showcase out of a glossy magazine. Who really lives a perfectly staged life like the window at Company C? Almost no one. Yet many of my clients strive for it, thinking it’s the “right” way?
What my Thai-toting friend didn’t see is the rhyme and reason for where everything behind-the-scenes was placed or how it was stored, labeled and prioritized by arms-length reachability, or not. What she did see was a reflection of my personality and a look at things that I find aesthetically pleasing. For example, I like color. And not just soft, muted, supposedly complementary hues. I mean bold colors. So, I took it as a compliment when she said it looked like a box of crayons exploded!
The point is there is no right or wrong way to look/be organized, and like most things in life, it’s what’s underneath that matters. Sure, there’s an organizational tool box and implicit guidelines to consider: Are you ever going to wear that Flashdance-era bridesmaid dress again? Is that Precious Moments collectibles plate of Grandma’s a sentimental item you really despise? Is an object still hanging around out of some sense of guilt or obligation? Do you have boxes of records, paperwork or warranties that you no longer need?
My extra spicy Pad Thai pal has house dysmorphobia. She sees hers as messy and in disarray and it stresses her out. Personally, I don’t see it, but I know she’d benefit and gain a sense of well being with a well-executed personalized organizing plan.
She doesn’t have to take down the Springsteen poster or get new matching pillows if she likes her ratty ones. AND, she needs to understand that being organized isn’t the same thing as unattainable or unmaintainable perfection.
Remember: An Early American Rummage Sale-style master bedroom room can be just as chic as The Ethan Allen Showcase, and surprisingly to many, just as well organized!
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