I Love Organizing-- Just Not Other People's Stuff
Nine years ago, shortly after moving to California, I made my initial venture into entrepreneurship by launching my own organizing business, Simply Sort. Inspired by clutter-busting shows like TLC's Clean Sweep, and those similar, I thought, "I have good ideas. I've helped friends and family. How hard could it be?"
Well, as I discovered, while it wasn't necessarily hard, it was by no means easy. Not that launching one's own business is ever easy. After all, I believe anything really worth doing, should have some hardness to it. With Simply Sort, it wasn't that I was afraid of the hard work, but rather, the work itself turned out not be what I assumed it would be. I learned to "fail fast" as the pros would say. Which for me, was a success all on its own.
The folks that had agreed to work with me, mostly strangers who I had met through an organizing Meet-Up group I formed, were all lovely people. They embraced my ideas and positive attitude, and welcomed me right into their very messy rooms. Together I talked them through sorting piles of clutter into categories and tried to get them to see there are simpler and more efficient processes to house their belongings. The last thing anyone feeling overwhelmed by all their stuff wants to hear is a stranger telling them what they really need to do is throw 80 percent of it away.
So I didn't say that. But I wanted to.
The truth is, I really didn't care what they did with their stuff. On top of that, I had an overwhelming instinct that once I walked out their front door, the work we had started together would never get finished, and so any progress we did make would be unrecognizable the next week.
I walked away asking myself, "Is this really how I want to spend my time?" It's not a spoiler alert to reveal the answer was, and remains to this day: no.
One of the biggest benefits an organizing expert can provide is some much needed objectivity and clarity to what is essentially a very emotional experience. For the person who owns 35 antique collector mugs, every mug is precious. For someone who just sees an overflowing cabinet, the mugs are simply an obstacle to having a tidy kitchen. Knowing how to balance the practicality of a clean cabinet, with the sentimentality and respect of someone's precious collectibles is a very special skill. One that I sadly don't possess. Or, possess enough to make organizing other people's stuff a fun and personally satisfying experience.
I'm just too much of a direct person. Or, as my mom would say, BLUNT. Thank goodness I never made anyone I worked with cry. But I never want to either.
So I'll stick with organizing my own life and continuing to write for this blog. Maybe one day I'll even write a book :) Organizing is a major source of joy that I am very passionate about. I've been organizing my personal domains-- bedrooms, school lockers, apartments, office cubicles, friend's closets (invited of course), etc-- since I was a very young girl. You never saw a toy box so tidy.
That is many years of organizing life lessons, tips, how-tos, and advice to share with anyone who is ready to tackle the clutter chaos in their life. Starting doesn't have to be as overwhelming as I know it seems. Simply begin by sorting one pile at a time. I know not everyone loves organizing as much as I do, but I hope they will see the benefits of living a more organized life. It's worth it. I promise. And even a more glorious and enduring victory when you organize your stuff yourself.
You got this.