One year to try to change this family's life for the better. To help them be better organized by creating homes for all their loved or needed belongings. To help them define "organized enough" for their comfort and to set up systems that are flexible and easily maintained. It is my job to introduce organizational products into their home to assist them and to help identify the strengths and skills of all family members pertaining to maintaining order in their house.
I'd like to introduce you to the family I have been privileged to work with and who have graciously allowed me to document the changes in their house. Ryan and Maggie have been married for 10 years and have been living in the house for 8 of them. They have two children -Sarah is 8 and Jacob is 4 and they are both in school full-time. Ryan works full-time in an office setting. He works near his home so he does the majority of the school drop-offs and pick-ups including preparing lunches and schoolbags. Maggie also works full-time in an office but it is about a 50 min drive and often involves some sort of overtime. This can be very tiring for her as she also suffers from some depression and anxiety. Ryan prepares the majority of the meals and does the housework, excluding the laundry which is Maggie's domain.
The children are involved in a few activities a week which take up two evenings and Sat mornings. Maggie tries to get to yoga 1-2x a week which helps her relieve stress. Ryan plays hockey half of the year which also takes up an evening or two. As you can tell, there is not a lot of time for house maintenance. Both parents also have hobbies that keep them busy on their off time.
So who can relate to this family? Do you see yourself in a similar situation? The last thing you want to do as a busy parent is to be cleaning up at the end of an exhausting day. The kids are not exactly at an age where they are much help in that department. Sure, Jacob will vacuum if you let him and Sarah can put away items if you tell her where. However, many items in the house do not have a proper home and therein lies a huge problem -clutter everywhere as no one knows where to put it.
They live in a semi-detached 1200 square foot 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom home with no garage and only a crawlspace for storage. They also have a shed and a large backyard but that will be addressed in the warmer weather.
When I first toured the house I could see that there were many items out in the open that were not used on a frequent basis. The laundry room (Maggie's domain) was not really accessible as there was just so many items blocking the way as the room was used as a dump-all for unmade decisions. They had 2 washing machines as they had been gifted a new model but had not had the chance to switch them over yet (it had been more than a year).
A huge issue in this small house is the amount of clothing that each family member has. The drawers and closets are overflowing and it seems that new clothing is purchased when needed but yet the old, never worn or too small clothing is not donated or thrown out.
So laundry is constantly being done, however, there is nowhere for it to be put away (yet) as the clothing of each family member needs to be edited to their favourite, worn pieces. Of course, it is OK to keep a few pcs of clothing in your memory boxes as mementoes but out of style, ill-fitted or damaged clothing needs to be edited.
So far we have worked on the laundry room, the kitchen, the living room, dining room and the basement but we have not completed any of the rooms yet. Each session I leave with a trunk full of donations and a ton of recycling and garbage to go out. Each session the house is starting to feel lighter and roomier. On the plus side Ryan has started taking it upon himself to work on areas of the house on his own. I think that once people see what a difference clearing the clutter starts to make, it is an incentive to continue. 🙂
In the coming weeks I will be blogging about the different areas of the house, what was done and giving suggestions to my readers facing the same situations. Many of you will be able to relate, some will have more clutter, some less clutter. Every client I have has a different idea of what clutter is and some can handle a lot more than others before they start feeling overwhelmed.
If you are looking for a whole home makeover and are ready to take the next step you might be looking for a bimonthly maintenance plan. Every visit we will work on decluttering a different area. Once the areas are decluttered then we can focus on better organization and homes for every item you are keeping. You don't need a bigger home, you just need to reclaim more space in the one you have. 🙂 ~Judy