I have completed step one of hiring myself – the Creating Calm Assessment & Plan. It was actually done about three weeks ago, but between traveling, everyone in the house being sick in the past two weeks, and life in general, the blog post (and organizing!) wasn’t a high priority.
I knew J wasn’t as into improving our home’s organization as much as me (no shock there!), so I completed the assessment on my own and then went over it with him. I’m pretty sure that doing the full assessment with J would have pushed him away from this project completely.
The assessment is split into two parts:
- Big picture questions on frustrations and goals.
- A tour of each space to get more specific information.
Some highlights from the big picture questions:
- What are the biggest frustrations? J and I agreed that the laundry room was one of our biggest frustrations, but I learned that the entryway has been bothering him (the shoes do tend to live in the hallway) and his clothing storage isn’t working for him (I may have more than my fair share of clothing storage locations).
- What is the clutter and disorganization costing? Relaxation time because I always feel like I need to work on the home. J’s response: nothing. Not a surprise.
- Why focus on organization now? I made adjustments to the home’s organization when X-man arrived, but haven’t adjusted as much since I started working more and things are getting messy and stressing me out. I didn’t ask J this question because he doesn’t want to focus on organization now 🙂
- What are our goals? We want to have a home that functions really well and more time for fun. We also want to get rid of the clutter (at least a good chunk of it!).
After the big questions were answered, I went through each space to get more specific frustrations and goals. This was a little hard because I’ve worked on the organization in many of these spaces before and some of that work has fallen apart. Hard to take, but that’s reality!
Besides just not taking the time to maintain our systems and adjust them as life changes, another contributor is not taking the time to process new items that have come into the home. When J’s parents dropped off a lot of boxes from his childhood home at least two years ago, the boxes were put in the laundry room and left to collect dust and obstruct our path to things we actually need. Today I realized the folding chairs we bought for Thanksgiving last year are still sitting in our lounge. It’s amazing how your eyes can avoid seeing clutter when you want them too…yikes!
When I was reviewing all the spaces with J, he asked me, “Does the organization bother you so much because you are here more?” Probably. The fact that I’m a professional organizer doesn’t help either; I can’t help but look for areas of improvement. The home’s organization doesn’t bother J, but he’s willing to play along. In his words, he’s doing it for “relationship building and growing.” Works for me!
Then it was time to plan the work. I usually knock this out in 15 minutes with clients, but in my own home the questions started to swirl in my head…Do I start in the big areas that need a lot of work or in the easy areas? Do we even have time to work on this? When will it get done? AHHHH!
Time for a deep breath…take a step back and just plan what makes sense. Don’t worry about the amount of work; it will all be done one step at a time (sometimes a very tiny step!).
Here is a our plan of attack and some of the reasoning behind the order:
- Laundry room – It causes both J and I frustration so knocking it out will make a big difference.
- Storage room – Completing it will get both of our main storage areas in shape.
- Basement play area and closet – We keep most of the outgrown baby gear in the closet, but it’s getting to the point where I just throw items in and close the door (sound familiar?). If we can open up space in the laundry room, we could create a better system to store the too small baby gear that currently lives in our upstairs landing.
- Lounge, Living room, and dining room – It’s a smaller project that could impact how things are stored in the entryway. It will also take care of one of my biggest frustrations: our pretty, but not functional buffet.
- Entryway – One of J’s biggest frustrations.
- Master bedroom – Making adjustments to my clothing storage could improve J’s clothing storage frustrations.
- Upstairs landing – Adding some storage in this space can help with the master bedroom.
- J’s closet – If we have opened up storage space in other areas of the home, it could make this space function better for J.
- Kitchen – It already functions pretty well, but has a couple small areas for improvement.
- X-man’s room – It also functions well now. By the time we get to it, X-man may be in a whole new stage and it will need to be adjusted!
- Paperwork management – This is a frustration, but it is more important to me to focus on the physical organization of the house right now.
It’s a big plan, which is expected since I looked at the whole house. Some of it might not get done at all, but by putting the big frustrations first, we will make progress in the most important areas.
Once the plan was in place we had to decide how to get it done. What could we commit to doing along with everything else we have going on? We decided to organize from Tuesday nights from 8 pm – 10 pm Tuesday (knowing that it won’t always happen). J didn’t want to organize on the weekend or for long periods of time (or really at all!); I really don’t want to organize at night…it’s a fair compromise.
Our first session is coming up tonight – first up are those boxes in the laundry room!