Tuesday, January 10, 2012

De-cluttering 101

Last Thursday evening I attended a workshop, I think you could call it, on de-cluttering held at the Onondaga Free Library on Onondaga Hill.  There was a confusion about time - the paper said one time and the presenter had another - so I missed a little bit at the beginning.  But I found it very interesting, and just when you think you can't learn more there I was scribbling notes to myself.

The presenter and owner of the company, Lisa DeVeau, seemed to hold everyone's attention for the full 90 minutes.  There were probably 35 people in attendance, of which four were men.  Most likely everyone had homes that needed cleaning out, or their parents did.  One person asked about a definition of clutter vs. hoarding.  Good question - like any addiction it seems to be if it interferes with your life, then it is hoarding.  More my definition....I have to admit my mind rambled to a client I have whose parents are definitely hoarders. 

Back to de-cluttering.  There were a lot of questions she asked the group:  "Do you own your stuff or does your stuff own you?"  "Does the stuff give you energy or take it away?"  "Would an item be difficult to replace or get again?"  I own my stuff, I know that, but I also know that it depletes me.

For example.  One of Lisa's methods for clearing out is to walk in a room and starting on the left, make a sweep.  Make piles - DUMP, Give away, Store, NOT SURE, Not at this time....etc.  Start left and work right, never leaving the room until your time is up for that day.  Fine, I thought, I'll start in the sitting room of the in-law apartment and begin my sweep.  Not a big deal, a way to break it all down....  I walked in, turned on the lights, looked left - and there was the buffet I had used as a desk for a few years, stuffed with so much that I had to stop using it.  I turned off the lights and left the room.  Maybe another day.

(She also is doing a workshop entitled "Overcoming Procrastination" on Wednesday, January 18th at 6:00 PM in North Syracuse.  She knows her clientele!)

The company is called "Completely Organized" and their website is http://www.completelyorganized.com/.  They are local - Manlius - and work in three main areas:  Business, Residential, and also Senior Services.  Under the latter they list managing moves, from planning to setting up new homes.  I can see where that might be a godsend for a family.  When my mother moved out of her home after 58 years she worked weekly with a friend to make the move.  They  worked for six months - and the closets were still full.  Now our basement is, but that's another story.

Just as many of my clients get help with packing when they move and are assisted by relocation, I can see how this service would work well for people with houses to de-clutter and a mandatory timeframe in which to do it.