Like many of my friends, I was always complaining about the “projects” that I never seemed to make the time to tackle – clearing out cupboards, sorting books, organising recipes and photos etc, etc.
Lois has helped me realise that it’s all do-able. She helped me clean out and reorganise cupboards. She never ‘made’ me do things I couldn’t, or didn’t want to do, but her encouragement and practical methods resulted in having the same effect. I still have quite a lot to do, but having worked on some of it with Lois has given me the confidence and the practical know-how that makes the remaining tasks seem less onerous. So instead of feeling as if a cloud is hanging over me, I know that when I decide that it’s time, I will be able to tackle them with the determination and practicality that I’ve learned from Lois.
I finally decided I wanted to get my car into my garage! Lois was great – she helped me make decisions about what to keep and what to “let go”, and she also helped me with the practicalities of the process – the rubbish skip, recycling, taking things to the opp. shop. Then we organised the things which stayed – it made it so much easier to find things.
Five years ago, I moved from the family home of sixty plus years to a unit. Because I found it difficult to sort and pack at the same time, I made the gigantic mistake of finally saying to my helpers—”Put it all into the boxes, and I will sort it when I get there.” I had the ‘removalists from hell’ who piled boxes into my new garage in a very higgledy piggledy fashion.
I also had belongings and keepsakes from my parents and grandmother. I had helped several friends to move into full time care, and had stored some of their ‘precious things’, which I still had after they had died.
I had made a few desultory attempts at getting organised, and had given up, defeated and overwhelmed, with no idea where and how to begin. When I had tried alone, I would start pulling things out into piles, and then I would feel I’d only succeeded in making it worse, and in my panic, I would put it all back where it had been, and give up in defeat.
So when Lois told me of her organising business “Clear the Decks!” I asked her to help me.
The first time we worked together, it started to get to the “looking worse stage”. I had to confess my panic to Lois. She quietly talked about how it would always be like that until we had things sorted into meaningful piles, like ‘keep’, ’recycle’, ‘throw away’, ‘give away’, ’sell’. As we dealt with the various piles we would gradually begin to bring order out of the chaos— with Lois suggesting, discussing, listening, understanding, explaining. Always before she left, the chaos we had created for that day would be wonderfully orderly.
Lois never “bulldozed” me into decisions, and when things became “too hard” or ‘overwhelming’, I never felt criticised or foolish, but rather, understood. Lois was always affirming, encouraging, and helping to strengthen my resolve. One very useful box was a “still to be decided” – because often when the pain had been dealt with the contents could be disposed of—whereas, had Lois ‘insisted’ when I could not yet agree, I would probably have given in but been very unhappy.
We worked steadily from January, weekly where possible. My goal was “car in the garage by Christmas” – though we did not only concentrate on the garage. We also did work in the bedrooms, kitchen and living room.
The available storage space began to be used in a much better way. Lois was also very helpful in putting flat pack units together! It is certainly wonderful to be rid of the frustration of spending hours looking for things.
We achieved the goal when I drove the car into its garage one week before Christmas.