My Greatest Organizing Failure (I Bet You've Done This Too)
I have to admit that the first time I saw "The Home Edit" was about two months after I began my journey as a home organizer. A friend whose pantry I was working on asked for my opinion on the show, and when I shared that I had never heard of it, I felt excited and ashamed at the same time (curse that ruminating brain of mine). On one hand I thought, "Ohhh, I know what I'm watching with my glass of cab sav tonight!" and on the other hand I thought, "You call yourself a home organizer and you didn't even know that such a show existed? Shame on you, shame, shame, shame!" (Isn't that a ridiculous reason to put yourself down?)
Later that day I went and binge-watched "The Home Edit" and mannnn did I enjoy it! As I watched the show I worked on developing my skills by challenging myself to brainstorm solutions for the spaces being decluttered and organized before they were discussed by the team members. Many times I found that my ideas for organizing the targeted spaces were damn-near identical to what the pros were doing with them (which of course made me feel some sort of happy way). But I also noticed myself thinking the following two things: 1) But it won't stay looking that way for long! and 2) I'm still a little overwhelmed!
Note: This in no way is meant to be a diss for the amazing Home Edit team... they are incredible and make inspirational, positive changes in the lives of the families and businesses they work with! But...
For the way my ADHD brain works, having so many items visible in clear containers is simply too much to handle. Not only does visible storage make me feel distracted and anxious, but my OCD-induced perfectionism wants everything in my sight to be orderly at all times. Well, with three small children at home, it is impossible to keep a throw pillow sitting upright on the couch, let alone keep all of our colored pencils lined up and facing in the same direction in a spotless clear bin.
Like I mentioned a moment ago, for me to feel comfortable in my surroundings, I need the storage and spaces that I can see to be well-maintained; however, if items like socks and undies are in solid-colored bins or baskets (a.k.a. storage options that are not see-through), I DO NOT need them to be lined up and perfectly folded. After all, they are already organized by being in their own individual bins and I do not have to stress myself out by physically being able to see the domino-effect disorder that removing one pair of underwear has on all the remaining pairs.
Listen, I tried folding my socks and undies and placing them in visible containers before, but it just didn't work for me. My attempts to maintain that style of organization actually stressed me out, wasted my time, and made me feel like crap about myself when the other people in my family were not keeping up with the perfectly-folded piles of undergarments I had set up for them.
So, what did I learn by trying things another person's way? To just not.
In order to maintain any space in YOUR home, you have to build systems that work for YOU. You have to address the issue you are facing, acknowledge the feelings it brings you, and problem-solve based on what your individual needs and wants are. For example:
If you are the type of person who needs to see what he/she has to know it's there, go for the clear bins or wire baskets with labels.
If you are the type of person who is overwhelmed by visible clutter, go for solid containment with labels.
If you are the type of person who needs his/her items to be easily accessible, go for open containment options (no lids).
As a home organizer, my main goal is to help to plan spaces that are functional, maintainable, and aesthetically-pleasing for the client I am working with.
I feel that my greatest strength as an organizer is being able to create function and flow in a space, and I will always use the unique way my brain sees things to help the people I work with to set up zones that make sense and, in turn, are more easily maintained. But I also know that aesthetically-speaking, things cannot be Kim's way or the highway. It is so important to get to know my clients inside and out and to openly communicate with them in order to understand which systems best suit their individual lifestyles.
If you are ready to organize a space in your home, remember to put your needs first! And if you find you need support along the way, feel free to reach out for guidance!