When the federal government passed the CARES Act this past spring to help millions of Americans suddenly out of work due to COVID19 be able to meet their basic needs and, presumably, help stimulate the economy, I can honestly say the last thing I thought anyone would ever consider spending money on right now would be for my services as the owner of It’s Just Stuff, a home organizing and move management business.
Some people view what I do as a luxury. However, if you have ever been knee deep in a hoarder’s stuff then you would know there is nothing luxurious about many of the projects I take on. It can be a very dirty job and I am 100% ok with being the one to do it. It’s definitely not for the faint at heart.
With that said, I continue to be surprised by how busy I have been since the beginning of June when personal services were able to resume business here in Colorado. And, trust me, I am extremely grateful to every client that has been willing to invest the time, energy and, most importantly, money in hiring me as well as be willing to take what is still considered to be a risk in letting a stranger into their home during a pandemic.
It really doesn’t matter what your feelings are about how the U.S. has handled this virus, the bottom line is there is a statewide order in place requiring me to wear a mask and follow certain guidelines until further notice and I, for one, am not interested in finding out what will happen if I don’t adhere to the current rules.
These are still very uncertain times, but they are also the kind of times we must dig deep and decide what are the things that really do make us rich in life and, yes, quickly. Normally I would say the only way to get rich quickly is to win the lottery or marry into money. Feel free to believe in the former, but still be mindful of how much you are gambling away. The latter? Well, if you think marrying a wealthy person is what you really want, it’s still a gamble (hey, why do you think there are pre-nups?), but who am I to judge???
So if most get rich quick opportunities tend to be morally bankrupt, why would I still think there are things in life that can make us rich sooner rather than later?
Obviously depends on your definition of rich.
My definition of rich happens to include feeling at peace in my home especially in the past the 5 months since I had to unexpectedly leave what had been my home for almost 2 years and then make myself at home in 6 different places in 3 different states while waiting to move into my own place again in September.
Likewise, my definition of rich clearly is why I am so passionate about wanting all of my clients to feel peace in their homes by the time we have completed an organizing project.
A few weeks ago I got an email from a woman who had seen a comment I made on a Facebook group page that had something to do with home organizing. No, I am not a troll constantly looking for ways to insert myself in conversations to get clients. I just like to be a good resource for people and if, in the end, I gain a new client than there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking what I believe is a very authentic and organic approach to showing up and engaging online.
Here was the email I received…
I am a single mom with a 9 Year old living in 700 sq feet and have lost control of being able to manage the space. I have mostly managed to declutter the kitchen and bathroom and what that means is it’s easier to keep those areas clean and manageable… they aren’t great. The living room and bedroom are a bit of a haphazard mess overflowing and overwhelming.
I have received messages like this before, but a lot of times it is not as bad as they describe. They see those picture perfect images all over the internet and think that a few messy cabinets and drawers means they are out of control. The clients that truly do have an overwhelming amount of clutter and should feel out of control are usually the ones that cannot admit it and definitely do not see their situation as being out of the ordinary or, in some extreme cases, unhealthy and/or dangerous.
And these are my people…the ones that enrich my life merely by hiring me to do something I love to do and take a space like this…
…and be able to dig through the layers of “stuff” to get it to look like this after a few hours…
There’s still more that needs to be done in this room in terms of better storage solutions and yet more editing of books, clothes and A LOT of crafting supplies (which are definitely being relocated to a hall closet once we implement a better shelving system), but at least both her and her daughter can now see the floor and sleep at night without feeling like their stuff is going to swallow them up in the middle of the night.
Living in this one bedroom apartment with her young daughter, there really is enough stuff to fill a space at least double the size so what we are doing is a very painful process.
Or at least I think it needs to be.
Why would I say that?
Because just like with exercising…no pain, no gain!
And in this case the pain for my client is having to sit on the floor (what little space there was to sit) for hours sorting through piles and piles of stuff.
The gain? Being able to sit anywhere on the floor, couch, bed, chairs, etc. In other words, having control of a clutter-free home.
So when I asked her, as I ask all clients, if she was feeling the pain and if she felt it enough to never let it get out of control again, she proceeded to tell me that she had put aside her pandemic stimulus check specifically for this reason. She was well aware the situation had gotten completely out of hand especially once she was furloughed from her job in March and, like so many others, was spending significantly more time at home.
For the record, she did attempt a little decluttering on her own, but as soon as stay at home orders were lifted and she could actually have someone come be that extra set of eyes, ears and hands on her organizing pain points, she knew the physical and emotional pain wasn’t going to be enough for her. She also needed to feel the financial pain, one that I hope she never has to feel again.
That has to be the goal for anyone who is struggling with any executive functioning issue or, seriously, what is the point in hiring a professional organizer? Even if you have unlimited disposable income, I still believe this is something that you have to take ownership and responsibility for as a human being especially if you are a parent and want to be a good role model for your child and set them up for success as an adult living on their own.
Once again, I am extremely grateful for every client helping me stay busy as well as continue to earn a living, but this particular client? This client…amidst all of the chaos swirling around us the past several months…she took money that I know she could use for so many other things and is taking incredible steps toward creating a much calmer home for her and her daughter. And that, ladies and gentlemen, in my very humble opinion, is how you really get…and continue to feel…rich in life quickly.
Be well…be safe…and remember, IT’S JUST STUFF!
Are you drowning in stuff? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a free 30 minute virtual consultation.