Adventures in home organizing + a special My MI event!

September 20, 2015 | by Erin Sirianni

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Outer order contributes to inner calm.  ~Gretchen Rubin

Before we moved to Mercer Island, my husband and I moved about every two years. Graduate school and then work opportunities took us from Minnesota to St. Louis to Dallas to New York City to Seattle.

When we moved from Seattle to Mercer Island where we decided to raise our boys, I told Charles, “I am never moving again.”

Moving is a painful, arduous, emotional process. My parents just went through a big move this summer. I visited shortly after, their exhaustion still visible, and they both confessed to being in a slight state of post-traumatic stress. We spent our time together relaxing and celebrated their next adventure as they set up their new home in Minneapolis.

One of the good things about moving is it forces you to go through all your stuff and get rid of a lot. But now my family has been in our house for five years, the stuff has been building.  As work and my boys’ schedules have become busier, home organization has become deferred maintenance. It’s enough to try to stay on top of the cooking and cleaning, my calendar and bill paying, than to face my overflowing junk drawer and the mounting toys and games in my back hall. Then one day, my back hall looked like this.

Back hall "before"

Back hall “before”

Yikes. I’m embarrassed to share this. It’s not a a picture I’d proudly post to my Facebook page. And yet, here I am sharing it because I don’t think I struggle in this alone.

Finding my partner in home organization

A few years ago, I met Denise Allan with Simplify Experts who gave a presentation on home organization at a Mercer Island Preschool Association (MIPA) monthly meeting. She was such a hit, MIPA invited her back to present again last year.

With my back hall in such a state of chaos, I thought of Denise and realized that I needed help. I felt overwhelmed and paralyzed to tackle all this stuff on my own. Stuff that I had willingly brought into my own house and stuff that had been gifted to us on birthdays and holidays. There was no sweeping anything under the rug or hiding things “out of sight, out of mind.” I don’t have a huge home, and we had reached capacity. There was no where else for anything to go.

So I reached out to Denise and she set me up with one of her organization specialists. My new best friend Pam has been coming over once a week for three-hour stints. (My family is coming to visit for Thanksgiving, so the goal is to have an organized home by then.) She counsels me on keeping things and letting them go. She tosses the old and takes away huge bags for donation. (I set aside some things for MIPA’s Toy Swap as well.)

After three hours of work together, my back hall now looks like this:

Back hall "after"

Back hall “after”

I pay Pam $60 an hour to help me get organized. We have also organized my boys’ rooms (another three-hour appointment), and my room and linen closet are next. I think of it as an investment in my home, happiness, and even my health. “Outer order contributes to inner calm.” It’s true.

A Special Upcoming My MI Event – This Event is now full. Thank you for your interest!

In October, I’m excited to host Denise Allan for another special presentation, “Reclaim your home – organize it!”  This presentation will take place Tuesday, October 13th, at 7:30 pm at the Mercer Island Country Club. This presentation is free and space is limited, so if you want to RSVP to secure your spot, please email me.  I hope you’ll join us!  Wine and dessert will be served.