Lori Hoffman was our very first client back in June 2004. She is a dear friend who hired Rhonda and I to help her organize her home office space all those years ago. We stay in contact and from time to time Lori shares her organizing challenges and victories with us. You may remember her as “Gramma Lori” from my Out of the Mouth of Babes blog back in April. Here she is again sharing her victory in The Land Down Under.
After three years of depression and unreasonably high stress, I have finally come out on the other side, but one area of fallout was my basement. Throughout those years, I was able to keep the upstairs and main floor reasonably tidy, purged and organized. When I had things to go to the basement for usage or storage however, I reached the end of my energy and capacity before the items got to where they were going. This resulted in lots of piles and tons of things on the big art table. The secondary fallout of that was that I couldn’t do any creative activities because the space was completely clogged.
*Photo above taken from the top of the stairs and looking down to the bottom of the stairs. Over time it had become a dumping ground.
*My creative space had become unusable.
The time has finally arrived for me to tackle this big mess and what better time than an unexpected ice storm in the middle of spring. I can be in the basement pretending the sun is shining and making big progress while the storm rages on!
As you can see from the photos, this was going to be a big job. I not only had my own mess but quite a bit of stuff that I brought home after moving my mom into a retirement home. I also had items from both of my kids and all of my grandson’s school papers. I emailed Donna and asked her to check in with me on Sunday night to see if I reached my goal, I put on some awesome music and I got to work.
I began at the bottom of the stairs to create a space to work. I quickly had piles for recycling, garbage and thrift store so I lined up boxes, bags and garbage cans for that.
When I came to things that belonged to other people, I made a box for them as well.
*This is a super idea! When you are working in a space don’t allow yourself to leave. It is quite likely that if you do you will get distracted or sidetracked. Stay on task. Set aside items that need to go to other areas of the house and deliver them later!!
I just kept picking up and putting down, one thing after the other. I texted lots of pictures to family and friends with captions like “want this?”, “can this be fixed?” and “when can you pick this up?”
I tried not to get sidetracked organizing things because I needed to make sure I finished sorting all of the things that weren’t in their homes. This round wasn’t about going through desks and cupboards.
*Wise plan Lori! You had a goal and you stuck to it. You knew that dealing with the “dumping ground” was what you had been avoiding and you knew that it needed to be top on your priority list in order to be successful and reach the outcome you wanted at the end of the work session.
When I finished that round, I created a list of what needed to happen next. Ugh – it was my least favourite part, dealing with the sorted piles. I have a well-honed ability to walk past the thrift store box a hundred times before actually taking it to the thrift store! But knowing Donna would be holding me accountable, gave me extra motivation to get it done!! Mid-way through I took a break to document this adventure, and kept moving.
I carried load after load up the stairs and made a neat pile of things my son would be picking up. I put the recycling and garbage out and made a nice thrift shop parade in the front hall. Once I de-ice my car Monday, I’ll load it up and take it away.
Throughout the process, I found a number of seasonal items and Carter’s school papers which needed to go in storage in the unfinished side of the basement. This is a place where the furnace, water heater and softener, laundry and freezer are. It is also where my big storage shelves are. So I ended up carrying on into that room and it is also now completely rid of anything that shouldn’t be there! I swept the floor and sat down to finish my story.
*WOW LORI!! What a transformation. Way to go!!
Earlier this week I did some analyzing of where my life was at and where I wanted it to be. One of the areas I wanted to change is to have a home, yard and car which have been fully organized and are functioning in maintenance mode. My one month goal was to get this basement done and it feels awesome to have completed it. My goal for next month will be to create some storage systems which work for this room. A room dedicated to creating has some unusual challenges for organization but I look forward to finding something that works.
It was so great to have the accountability piece to hold me to the task when I may otherwise have quit and I’m grateful to Donna and Rhonda for being in my corner as I tackled my basement! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to do some ART!!
If you, like Lori, feel you would benefit from an accountability partner then drop us an email and tell us your plan. We would be happy to be your success partner as you get to the Heart of the Matter!
If you are ready to tackle a project but aren’t sure where to start then check out our HEART Process.
If you are ready to say that you can’t tackle your clutter on your own, then what are you waiting for? Contact us today for your free no-obligation initial consultation. We’ll talk further about how we can come alongside you to meet your organizing goals. If finances are an issue, ask us about our Interest Free Payment Plan!