Hoarding, collecting, getting organized and staying organized seem to be very popular subjects these days. I subscribe to several magazines and each and every month there is at least one article about being or getting organized. Most magazines are focused heavily on organizing one’s self, home or office. The television shows, on collecting and hoarding, portray extreme cases, actually making you feel ill watching them. Hoarding seems to be happening in epidemic proportions. So are you a collector or a hoarder and what is the difference? The answer is you cannot be hoarding if you have not collected, but you can collect and not hoard, so they are separate terms.
Hoarding is a negative behavior if the hoarding is creating an impoverished way of life. Collecting seems to be a much kinder way to look at the situation, yet it is the necessary key element and beginning act to hoarding. When someone has boxes, papers, collectibles, food products, gifts, animals and so much stuff it takes up their precious living space, until the point that they cannot even enjoy or use the stuff, it called Impoverished Wealth. You have so much stuff, stuffed in your home, you cannot even use or enjoy it. The money or time you spent collecting items, has now taken up your space for living, moving about and enjoying a fulfilled lifestyle.
Collecting, on the other hand, if done as a hobby or for a purpose and does not turn into cluttered mess, can be quite enjoyable. I enjoy collecting art, artistic objects, books on decorating, Feng Shui, alternative health and herbal medicine. I have a place for everything. When I buy more then I have space for, I eliminate something and replace it with something I like better. The minute your stuff starts to fill entire rooms, garages and walk-ways you are probably collecting and hoarding too much stuff. Whatever is eliminated may go to family, friends or sold on Ebay.com or esty.com. Anything left from your purging can go to charity. Your taste in fashion and design changes about every 7-8 years, and so go to Town and get some new stuff, go ahead and collect and keep it around until it doesn’t please you aesthetically any longer.
People who have a very difficult time letting go of “things”, even when the “things” are making their life impossible to enjoy, and who cannot stop bringing home “things”, that serve no purpose for them, are considered to be hoarding. I don’t like to call people “hoarders”, because they are not “hoarders”, they are PEOPLE who have a hole inside of them and they think they can fill up that hole with stuff. Generally I have found that people with collecting and hoarding behaviors have lost something, and they have not processed loss, therefore they have found some “things”, “items” and food or pets, which give them pleasure and fulfillment for that very moment. People with collecting and hoarding behaviors are generally the kindest, most loving and considerate people that live in our world. They have been wounded and they are licking their wounds with things that make them feel warm and fuzzy inside. I see people barricade themselves into their homes, and that is exactly what all the boxes, books, papers and stuff is, a barricade. People that create a barricade are people who have been wounded and hurt. The barricade is a sign that they have been violated, and had their boundaries crossed by intrusive, often times violent, and disrespectful people. Some people who hoard and barricade learned it from their childhoods, and many, at first, spent years working on being clean and orderly, yet ultimately fell into the same mire as their parents.
When someone, with no background in helping people with collecting and hoarding behaviors, gets involved and starts to clean up or take power and control of the “things”, most people, that suffer from their collecting and hoarding, become VERY upset. I have seen people become very hypervigilant, depressed, angry, violent and sometimes psychotic if their property is even slightly disrupted. But what you have to remember is those “objects” that they have collected, and piled up, have been the replacement for what they already lost. The mind of a person who collects and hoards is very sharp, and calculative. They had to form that mind in order to function despite being hurt and wounded. Helping people who hoard, purge their obsolete and purposeless stuff, can be like playing chess, where if you cannot keep up with their diversions and desire to keep all of their” kings and queens”, both of you will lose and end up in a vicious cycle of hamster in the wheel. When you move highly charged stuff, the person has a relationship with, it is as if you are taking their mother, father, child, pet, husband, and wife or loved one that they lost all over again. A person will start to feel as if they are unraveling and will often start to, finally, process their loss. When this occurs you must, as the helper, be prepared to be supportive, loving and kind. Take a break and have the person fully realize their catharsis. You must tread lightly but firmly with someone who has strong relationships with their stuff!
The first step is that the organizer and the client develop a relationship. Both people must agree that the time is correct, and that the person with collecting and hoarding behaviors stop collecting and hoarding. A verbal contract is a good idea. Second the person with collecting and hoarding behaviors must acknowledge that they are emotionally ready for the feat of sorting and clearing. And third a plan of how they will sort, clear and fill the space with beauty and harmony must be made. It is a very difficult and strenuous prospect, when homes are filled to the gills, but it can be done and completed within a short period of time. So get prepared to Get Organized Now! Call 949-709-7000 for a free 30 minute consultation if you are ready for some help. Also look on www.i-deal-lifestyle.com and read the blog and all about the staff who will help you get and stay organized.
You have always done everything yourself. Moving, packing, unpacking, decorating, organizing your kitchen, the kids rooms, the garage, were all tasks that you pushed yourself to accomplish, never even thinking of asking for help. We are so distant from relatives today, and don't want to inconvenience friends, so we end up doing so much on our own. Marla the owner of I-Deal-Lifestyle was totally guilty of this push, push, push behavior. She prided myself on being the dynamo woman who could do it all. Looking back if Marla had known she could call on someone to help her get organized and situated she would have been dialing away.
Prior to becoming a Professional Organizer Marla really had not been aware of the "profession". She saw a few shows about hoarding, and heard the term "Professional Organizer", but never thought of it in terms of a personal service that you could call upon. She explains "I thought the term Professional Organizer linked only to the serious hoarding situations." It wasn't until she retired as a Social Worker/Therapist and was soul searching to a new career, feeling completely turned upside down, and disorganized that Stone started searching out books on how to get organized. "I bought book after book, signed up for newsletters from Professional Organizers, and started plowing through the material." One day a message from a Professional Organizer out of England popped up on her email. All of a sudden it hit her, "I'm supposed to be a Professional Organizer."
Marla exclaims "For heaven's sake I had been a very organized Clinician, keeping two offices alive for ten years, billing insurance companies, keeping track of clients and their lives, and helping others get themselves organized." It was a perfect fit for her, and explains "it felt like doing old fashioned "Social Work.""
The old fashioned Social Worker, before licensing and all the rules and ethical
boundaries, was a man or woman, who visited families in search of care, usually
with a fruit basket. They were called "friendly visitors". They were hired by
the family to come in and help other men and women get back on their feet. The
"friendly visitor" would go into the home and help in any way possible to put
things back in order. They would lift the person out of bed, help them get
dinner ready or wash some clothes just to start the ball rolling again. It was
the kindness, caring and nurturing ways of these visitors that brought life back
into the family member who had been down and out.
Organizers help empty nesters to single mothers get their lives organized. They help business owners and employees to increase productivity, with time management and where to put the cubicles or desks. They help with organizing kid's schedules, toys, papers, garages, pantry's, laundry rooms. The I-Deal-Lifestyle organizers take it to a whole new level which is called UBER organizing where everything that can be organized gets organized "to the bone."
Professional organizing is the best luxury gift you can give yourself. The team at I-Deal-Lifestyle can organize your space in half the time of industry standards so you can literally organize every nook and cranny of your home and office in one - three days.
The owner Marla Stone says it is like an "abracadabra moment." "To see the before and after pics of each job is like we have performed magic," Stone explains.
Professional Organizers are the friendly visitors of today. We are there so you don’t have to push yourself to pack, unpack, move, clean out your garage, organize your kitchen, closets, decorate, do errands and shop if that is just not in the cards for you. We are there to teach you how to organize, coach you and fix up your house, simple. So stop pushing and call a local professional organizer and GET ORGANIZED NOW!
Call Marla Stone at 949-709-7000 for a free 30 minute phone consultation.
We also do Feng Shui and are Décor Specialists!!
Steps for decluttering
Space Analysis-Analyze your space and figure out what you want to use it for. If it is your garage for instance, do you want to park your cars or will it be a workshop or a kid's play room? Understand that if you want to use the space for more then one activity, realize the potential of the space and all that it can be. Make drawings, even if you don't draw well, of what you think it would look like. Cut out pictures from magazines of ideas you have for the space. Visualize the space in your mind's eye. Discuss the space with family and friends and generate ideas. Call a professional organizer and get a free consultation about your space. Next take everything out of your space.
Take everything out of the space. Starting with an empty space will help you determine a home for everything you are keeping and give you a blank canvas to design the space from scratch. Find an area to sort through the things you will keep and the items you will eliminate.
Eliminate. Of course the most difficult part is getting rid of stuff that you have held onto for some reason or another...and guess what, even if you haven't used it for years and aren't sure when you will, it is still difficult to get rid of stuff. Have four piles. One for Keep, one for Give, one for Trash, and one for Miscellaneous or just can't decide. This makes the task go quicker. Once you get everything sorted you will be ready for putting everything in its place.
Putting Everything in its place. I always say there is a home for everything and it's true. You will find a home for every item you want in your space. The reason it is a good idea to have a home for everything is simple...stuff will end up back where it belongs, and it will be easy to find when you want it. Since you designed the space ahead of time it will be pretty easy to move everything into place. If there are heavy items there are great tools at the hardware store for moving and sliding heavy peices. This is also a time to hire a handyman, or get some handy friends over, if you want things hung, pictures, racks, wall units put together etc... Once your finished sit and relax and take it all in.
Sit and Relax and take it all in. Finally your space is complete. This is a time to use the space and see if it really works for you. You may want to make adjustments and move things around and even eliminate more stuff you realize you're not going to use in the space. You may also want to purchase some new items for your space. Reflect on the space and make sure it is how you really imagined it. Hopefully with all the planning and carefully considered steps your space is perfect for you and voila!
Marla Stone is a Professional Organizer and a Lifestyle Coach
She serves Orange County, Los Angeles County and San Diego County
She is also available for telephone and or skype consultations nationwide.
Organize Your Self and Space!
Let's say you want to organize your kitchen. The first step is to look in all of your cabinets. If they are stuffed and you can't see what's in them, take everything out, and put on counter-top or table. Sort through your stuff, and see what you want eliminated. When you have four of the same pan, and you only cook twice a week think about the space the other pans are taking up for other kitchen gadgets that can come in handy. Ask yourself "what is this doing in my real estate?" People accumulate cooking utensils, pots, pans, bowls, Tupperware, knives, fancy kitchen gadgets, all in the hopes of becoming Emeril Lagasse or The Barefoot Contessa, but it's not the pan or the pot that will make you a great chef. If you look into your spice cabinet and you see spices and herbs from 12 years back that were never used....NO they are not still okay. If you have 5 Parsley or Basil bottles all half empty combine them into the largest bottle. It is not the spices that make you a great chef either. It's a combination of ease of accessing your and combining ingredients
A friend of mine collected so much Tupperware over the years, stuffing them into a bottom kitchen cabinet that went so far back, it was difficult to reach anything. She had to literally lunge her body into the cabinet to get to a Tupperware in the back. One time she became stuck in this particular cabinet. The more she struggled to get out, the more she became stuck. We don't want to stretch ourselves that much to be a great chef.
Many kitchens I see are stuffed to the brim, with most of the products, in the back of the cabinet. Dishes, glasses, bowls, Tupperware, pots and pans and pantry cabinets, lost and forgotten, and often outdated and Yuk!
One refrigerator I cleaned out had a package of meat that was 7 years old. Yummy!
Let's face it nobody wants to have kitchen disorganization but, with busy schedules and harried shopping, we often end up with at least three of everything, which causes in-efffectual cooking experiences.
Taking a look at everything in your kitchen, weeding out the too much and the too awful to keep, donating, giving away or tossing is the beginning of the organizing process. Next is alphabetizing your spices and herbs in or on a spice organizer in your cabinet or drawer closest to your stove. Alphabetizing spices makes it easy to cook, without hunting and pecking while your garlic is burning in the pan. Next get the pots and pans you use the most in the front of the cabinet, leaving the occasional pots and pans in the back of the cabinet. If you have the deep cabinets that go so far back that you have to enter them to reach something, let empty space be empty space. Don't go there. It really helps to have drawers or pull outs in cabinets so you don't pull out your back reaching into the far too deep spaces.
Next get rid of the hundreds of mis-matched coffee cups, glasses or plates unless they are hugely sentimental, and keep great sets, ( a set is four or more of the same item) that you love, in the cabinets nearest your dishwasher. Have a junk drawer for heaven's sake, but clean it out every couple of months so you have room for more junk. Junk drawers are okay so junk doesn't end up on the counter-top. If you don't have enough drawers for a junk drawer get a counter top organizer or basket with a lid or a cabinet specified for stuff you collect. Piles of mail and bills and rubber bands and whatever stuff does not belong on counter tops.
Refrigerators are for fresh food and food should not be kept in refrigerators very long. Food in refrigerators are for eating. Learn how to shop for food, not until you drop, but until you eat every drop. Buy enough food for you and or your family that is sufficient for every two weeks. When that food is finished go to the market again. Stop buying impulsively and look at what is in your fridge or pantry prior to going to the market so you don't end up with 9 bottles of ketchup or four boxes of strawberries. Food does turn. If you even have the slightest doubt that food or condiments or canned or bottled good or even frozen food has turned, don't take a chance, toss it.
Now for becoming a great chef, the essential ingredients are usually fresh food, just the right amount of fresh herbs and spices, fresh organic vegetables, fresh garlic and of course an organized kitchen. Just take your time and plan your meals. Go to www.epicurious.com for recipes, or become spontaneous if you are in the mood. With an organized kitchen, your cooking experience will fare....no pun intended....better.
Marla Stone is a Professional Organizer at www.i-deal-lifestyle.com. Contact Marla at firstname.lastname@example.org
Orange County Professional Organizer helps you get your home, office, and business organized! We serve all of Orange County, Los Angeles, and San Diego. We also serve your area by special request.
Please call 949-709-7000 for a free 30 min. phone consultation.
Marla Stone Lifestyle Expert is featured in the Orange County Register as the clutter buster.
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Have more time for you!!
O for Opportunity
R for Relax
G for Generate
A for Arrange
N for Next
I for Idle
Z for Zest
E for Execute versus eventually
It is a new year and an OPPORTUNITY to organize your self and your space.
RELAX as you go into the process of identifying what you value in life.
GENERATE some ideas of what an ideal lifestyle would look like and write them down.
ARRANGE for some time to set aside for planning and implementing new behaviors, in order to work on your ideal lifestyle ideas.
There is always a NEXT when it comes to organizing. An organized self and space always has a next!
There also must be IDLE time, when we do nothing, even if things are piled up or on the waiting list to be achieved.
Having ZEST in life and our approach to life is essential for focus and freedom from fear.
Many times we say we will eventually get to some chore or project that we want to achieve, but the essential part of staying happy and fulfilled is to EXECUTE our initiative and get things tackled and completed.
Just remember to always have FUN!!!
Organization skills are not learned, usually. You probably remember your mom yelling "clean up your room", but there wasn't an actual educational plan in HOW to "clean" or "organize" your room. Cleaning and organizing are two separate skill sets all together.
Cleaning involves rags, solutions and those new floor cleaners that vacuum and steam all in one. Organizing is all about...well...organizing. According to the free Merriam Webster online, the word organize is synonymous with arrange, array, classify, codify, dispose, draw up, lay out, marshal, order, range and systematize, and the word organize antonyms are derange, disarrange, disarray, disorder, mess (up), muss (up), rumple and upset. No wonder people feel deranged when they are all mussed up.
Organizing one's self would be the place to start if you want your space to look ordered, and for all the trash to be disposed of. The key word in the previous sentence is "if". People usually only want to get organized, when they want to get organized. Getting organized is not a mandatory law or one of the 10 commandments, so it only happens if you want it to, and most likely "if" the IRS is knocking on your door or your mother is coming to visit.
No wonder people don't dream about their Ideal Lifestyle all that much...too busy being disarranged, disordered, rumpled and upset. The state of disarray can start to be the norm and the standard "lifestyle" nightmare.
So the question is how does one get from disorganized chaos to organized order? Is it simple? Yes, organizing your self and space can be achieved.
The first step is to want to get organized inside yourself. Self Organization starts with defining what your ideal lifestyle would look like. Jot down at least 30 concepts, ideas, or dreams you have about your "ideal" life. You might have to watch a few light comedies, or some action hero cartoons to start to get motivated, or remember what you did dream about when you dreamed, but you can do it. Think about what you value in life and actually write it down. Is it money? Is it a fancy car? Is it a lover? Is it better relationships or a better career? And whatever you do don't lie to yourself. It is damaging when people say "it doesn't have to be" that great of a job, partner, car or career. Saying "it doesn't have to be" is the way it will be. So if you say "she doesn't have to be that great looking", or "he doesn't have to be that smart", guess what? You manifested a not so hot or smart partner. How about, instead, saying "I want it to be....this way", and putting that into the universe.
After you draw up and lay out what it is you want for your self, space organization is the next step. Since the outer is a reflection of the inner, your outer space will want to catch up to the new inner you. Space organization has been written about in 1000's of books, magazines, and now is taught on national television. Organizing a room or an entire home or business is just plain old planning, executing and physical labor, which you yourself can do, or you can hire someone else to do it for you. You will only want that outer organization, in your space, when you feel organized, and self realized on the inside. So go ahead and get started on living your Ideal Lifestyle Now! Write your list!
Marla Stone, Ideal Lifestyle Expert http://www.I-Deal-Lifestyle.com
Marla is known as the Declutter Your Strategy™ expert. Marla earned her BA in Psychology and a Master's in Social Work and is the founder of