For years, organizing and decluttering have been on my to-do list. Neither made it to the top of the list while I was knee-deep in homeschooling, volunteering or navigating life. This year, I decided to make it a priority and made a lot of progress.
Just before the pandemic, two rooms essentially became storage rooms. After a series of family discussions, we turned them into an office and an exercise room. We excitedly emptied the rooms, donated, rehomed, and discarded unwanted items. We painted, moved furniture, and voila. As excited as we were to have the new rooms, between finishing Ida repairs and summer activities, we ran out of steam and didn’t complete any other projects. Slowly, we decluttered with monthly, sometimes bimonthly, pick-ups from Vietnam Veterans of America.
During the June book club discussion, a friend mentioned an organizer she used in the past. I reached out, and my life hasn’t been the same since. The first visit focused on bathrooms and the kitchen. The next was my bedroom, the catch-all for EVERYTHING in my house. She spent four hours there and accomplished what we had not done all year! With that short visit, she lifted a burden; I felt a sense of peace that had eluded me for years. After tackling my bedroom, she moved to a multi-purpose space -a bedroom closet, archives room, and luggage storage! Similarly, she separated pictures, scrapbook material, old articles, and luggage in a way that made it easy for me to donate, discard, or deal with items. The garage is next on the agenda, and I cannot wait to reclaim more space in my house.
There are many layers to asking for help, seeking the right person, and accepting assistance. To begin this process, my husband and I discussed finances and what we were and weren't unwilling to sacrifice to bring someone in to help. We agreed on an amount that equated to a weekly commitment for three months. During that time, I created a clear plan for the weeks to maximize her time here. I relied on the recommendation of a trusted friend to find someone I was willing to bring into my home. Finally, I had to allow her to do the work. It would have been easy only to let her clean the areas I organized, but I had to be vulnerable and let her into the rooms that needed the most attention. It indeed has been life-changing!
Similarly, I have also sought help with business endeavors, from creating committees for tasks I would have done alone to hiring a designer for a website refresh, hiring interns, and bringing on a social media manager! I had to figure out a budget, timeframe, scope and sequence, and deliverables for each job. As a generalist, a sort of jack-of-all-trades*, I have gained a lot of skills over the years—some out of necessity, others out of a desire to learn.
The upside is that I have created websites, negotiated contracts, secured speaking engagements and group rates, organized fundraisers, and planned galas to enhance the lives of those in my inner circle. The issue with that is that I can do a lot.
Time, experience, loss of sleep, stress, and anxiety have taught me that just because I can do it doesn’t mean that I should or that it’s the best use of my time. Allowing those with a specialized skillset to manage tasks frees me up to create, dream, and produce. What have you struggled to accomplish? Is there an outstanding need you can pay, trade, or barter to fulfill?
Over the past month, I read more books, created more content, planned new activities, played with my children more, napped, closed a few open loops, completed additional household projects, been more present, and have been happier and more fulfilled due to asking for and accepting help.
What can help do for you?
*According to Wikipedia, “The original version of "a jack of all trades," is often a compliment for a person who is good at fixing and has a very good broad knowledge. They may be a master of integration, as such an individual who knows enough from many learned trades and skills to bring the disciplines together in a practical manner. This person is a generalist rather than a specialist.” As a generalist