My dirty little secret.

Elizabeth Lee posted on 3rd April 2009    CATEGORY: Organizing
closets, organizing closets, seattle organizer, seattle organizing,

The story of how one professional organizer braved the clutter at the bottom of her closet and found treasure.

Ladies and gentleman I am a professional organizer, but do not let this title mislead you. I receive comments all the time from clients that resonate in my head for days   “Wow, your house must be so perfect!”   I literally laugh out loud (well I snicker when they say it and then laugh later in the car) because that is not the case. That is just simply not real life and the word “perfect” only appears in my vocabulary when speaking about my children.

I’ve decided to share with you my dirty little secret.  There is a corner of my home that I really don’t covet, that I’m actually pretty embarrassed about – the floor of my closet. It’s a mystery to me, how I can keep a clean, organized home, but then refuse to address the complete disarray of shoes on the floor of my otherwise clean closet. So what is the cause of this shoe problem? No, I do not have some sort of shoe fetish if that is what you are thinking. The cause of the shoe problem is the set of double doors that I can close every morning after I scrounge around on the floor looking for a pair of shoes to wear.   Yes, out of site out of mind. I do not have to look at the mess so I do not care about the mess. Great news for me? Not really. We will get back to that.

If left to their own devises most people will create clutter. It speaks to an attitude long held that managing the minutia of life is not important or interesting.   We simply save all the detritus we collect, regardless of its urgency or lack of, until the dinner guests arrive and then cram it into the desk drawer or behind the closet door. When you have a home office situation this creates work-work things going on top of play-work things and chaos ensues.

Case Study: I had clients that lived in a large beautiful bungalow home. With 4 children and home based careers these were busy people and their home showed it. The husband’s office was right off the main entry of the house and every square inch was covered with papers, books, electronics, furniture, hair elastics, ballet shoes, a dog bowl, camping equipment, unfolded laundry…you get the idea. The wife had her office space in a corner of what was also the kid’s playroom. Her desktop and drawers were overflowing with paper, magic markers, computer programs, diapers and dinner plates. In between these two rooms was a closet that could be accessed by both offices. Imagine an earthquake at Staples where a girl scout troop selling cookies had met its untimely demise.

After the initial shock of the situation wore off I asked them how in the world this had happened and they admitted that initially when friends would come over they would madly shove the “stuff” into the rooms and close the doors, but later they would never address the bow and arrow that had ended up on top of the business proposal and they never were able to find the bill from a vendor which became stuck to the bottom of an old baby bottle. Eventually they stopped panicking when the doorbell rang and kicking the clutter into the rooms was second nature.

Take a picture of your workspace and you will be amazed at what you see through the camera’s eye. I do this when I start all of my organizing jobs and my clients are always shocked to see their workspace this way. Swing open those closet doors. Start going through the stacks and bags of your life and see what you find. There may be something good in those piles: money, a note from a client that you have been meaning to touch base with, an unopened love letter.

So what does this have to do with my closet? Well I got down on my belly yesterday and pulled out all of my shoes to take an inventory of summer shoes and I found seven pairs of flip flops and my black belt with the great silver buckle that I have been looking for for months and thought aliens had stolen in the night. Seven pairs of flip flops??!!  To some that would seem an inordinate amount of flip flops – that is not the point. fendi-b-belt-7762692

The point is that even “Professional Organizers” such as me have a small corner of doom. I however do not let it get beyond my closet’s double doors and neither should you. The key to any successful business, relationship and household is control over the closet, corner or pile of of doom.

**it is also helpful to have shoeracks and hooks for belts installed in your closet to avoid problems like those mentioned above**

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