Monday, March 12, 2012 4:21 PM EDT
Marissa's basement and kids' play area
One afternoon, my four-year-old son came home from a playdate regaling me with tales of a game of hide-and-seek, and how he and a friend hid, repeatedly, in the friend’s closet. Then he looked at me sadly and said, “I wish I could hide in my closet, mommy. What does my closet floor even look like?”
I’d been blaming the disorganized state of my home on the fact that I have a full-time editing job and a part-time freelance writing career, and two children barely a year apart in age (luckily, my three-year-old daughter cares very little about what lies at the bottom of her closet, but is already extremely interested with what’s hanging in mine). Now that my son was being denied a simple pleasure because I was using his closet as one of many dumping grounds for off-season clothes, unused toys, and other infrequent-use items — that is his closet, below — something had to give.
I’m sure there are people who are ruthlessly organized, who exist in a world where an aphorism like a place for everything and everything in its place actually means something. That’s not my world — well, not yet.
Since I’m not the if you want something done, do it yourself type — why would I do something myself that I can justify paying someone else to do? — I called in a professional. Tina Blazer of Spot On Organizing came highly recommended, and was in my home city of Toronto. Her website immediately proved accessible and sensible; I figured if she couldn’t do it, no one could.
We planned a preliminary visit. As the days passed and the meeting loomed closer, I began to feel dread. I almost cancelled: I couldn’t bear the thought of opening messy closet after messy closet in front of one of the most organized people in the world. What would a woman who runs a professional organization company think when she saw our kids’ play area? The state of my home office? The random items I’d shoved under the bed or the couch?
I’m glad I didn’t cancel. In person, Blazer was warm, non-judgmental and, most importantly, kind. She made me realize my problems were far from unusual and that I wasn’t a complete slob — but that I did need a bit of an intervention in terms of prioritization and management of the stuff my family amasses on a daily basis. When there’s an endless parade of things coming into the home — clothes both new and hand-me-down, artwork, seasonal items, work documents — some things must be moved along or, simply, chaos will rein. It’s inevitable. Chaos definitely reigned at my house. This was just one of the realizations Blazer brought to my attention during her first visit.
Walking around the house with a notepad, we mapped out a plan. We would focus on four areas:
• My son’s closet
• My closet
• My office [below]
• Our basement/playroom
So, you've seen the "before" pictures — my own closet excepted: I couldn't bring myself to show that! Talk about photographic evidence, though...
What would be the next step? Blazer would return the following weekend with an assistant, for step one: culling and sorting. I wasn’t exactly excited about it, but I did understand it needed to be done.
Tomorrow, Part 2: The basement/play area!