Lovers and Clutter

Lovers and Clutter

 

I’ve always enjoyed working with couples and mediating their home organizing needs and goals. Psychologically, the issues they face with their stuff is linked to other parts of their relationship but I’m not a therapist, I only offer therapeutic solutions. I’m also very good at holding my chin with my hand while nodding and agreeing like a therapist as I figure out a suitable game plan.

 

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In advance of Valentine’s Day, SpareFoot conducted a survey and found some very interesting data regarding love and clutter. They used heterosexual couples as their base but all couples can benefit from the findings. Here’s what they learned: 

  • In relationships, men’s items are often the first to go – The study found that 56% of men in a relationship frequently stop their significant other from throwing out an item they want to keep.

  • In addition, 90% of Americans in a relationship admit if they knew there wouldn’t be consequences, they’d get rid of some of their significant other’s possessions.

  • A quarter of Americans and 44% of Millennials in a relationship currently have an item from an ex that they don’t want their significant other to know about.

    WOW! That’s a lot of secrets and clutter. Could make for a good dramatic movie. I think Cate Blanchett should play the woman in this survey and Ralph Fiennes can play the man. Gripping and dark (but Cate can also do comedy). OK, back to you, now what to do about the issues?

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SpareFoot suggests the following to relieve the stress of cohabitation:

  • Eliminate Clutter Before You Move: The most important thing prior to the move is to really do a thorough purge so you’re not bringing anything into the household that you don’t really want or love.
  • Take photos and measurements of the new place to help when choosing which furniture will fit. Go room by room and discuss what items you each own and what will work best in the new space.
  • Try out the piece of furniture, for example, in the new home before making a hasty decision. Keep an open mind and compromise. Sometimes the item looks better accompanied by different items.
  • You’ve purged and compromised, but you still have stuff that you want to hold on to — consider renting a storage unit or using full-service storage, but agree on a deadline to find a home for your stuff so that you’re not paying for off-site storage long term.

Please be careful about that last tip. Storage units are expensive and very easy to forget about once they’re locked and out of sight. If you’ve seen the Showtime hit Dexter, you know some creepy stuff goes on in storage units. Tread lightly with the use of them.

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The survey shows that almost half (48 percent) of couples who live together say they argue over clutter. If you’re struggling because of clutter in your home and you’re not seeing eye to eye, it’s time for a conversation. Talking points:
  • Discuss how you want to use each space and what items will “live” there.
  • Decide what space will be shared, and what space will be “owned” by one partner or the other — so that everyone gets their own space.
  • Agree on reasonable time limits for clutter and keep it contained.

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Finally…Remember what’s important:

  • Stuff is just stuff. You’re building a life with the person you love — not with your keepsakes from the past.

Exactly! Once you’ve got this figured out, you’ll have more time to dance and play in your home. Get going!

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And if all of the above advice fails to get you and your boo in a good place, feel free to call in the professionals. You know where to find me! jeni@cluttercowgirl.com

 

With love, light and less clutter…Happy Valentine’s Day!

Jeni

Taking Care of Business

Taking Care of Business

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of working with a friend who took her nutrition business from pretty good to completely awesome this past year. She and her husband are a team, work long hours, live in a small apartment with their adorable son and needed an organizing boost to keep trucking with their fantastic business trajectory.

My client decided that she could no longer make deals worth thousands of dollars when her desk was in total disarray. When I walked in, I observed that her actual life was not disorganized. There were places for things and she knew where to find certain paperwork but there was too much of it, no clear order and zero visually calming place to rest her eyes while she was focusing on making big bucks.

 

Here’s what the desk looked like before we started working:

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The top of the desk housed papers, business cards, little inspirational trinkets, two pairs of gloves, four cups of pens and other office supplies, greeting cards and a box of electronics. It’s a small desk, as you can see. That’s way too much stuff to be at your fingertips for a daily jump at productivity.

 

The drawers looked like this:

IMG_1626IMG_1625The top drawer held cords and disorganized supplies.

The bottom drawer held manuals, guides, important tax papers, insurance info and kid paperwork. It was piled on top of itself with no order. It was contained, sure, but had no discipline.

**In about 90 minutes we discarded a lot of trinkets, pens, old paperwork, supplies that were not needed and inspirational items that were not exactly inspiring.**

My client does 90% of her billing online.

The only papers we kept filed were:

  • tax archives
  • life insurance
  • certificates of accomplishment with her business
  • family documents (passports, vaccinations and birth records)
  • current taxes/receipts
  • presentation materials
  • her son’s medical and school info

That’s it! It all fits into one drawer in neatly labeled hanging files. There is nothing too complex about this system and it allows her to keep the desk surface free for her laptop and notebook. There is still room to grow in the drawer should she need to expand but since almost all of her files are kept on her laptop, expansion will be limited. Here’s what it looks like now:

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The top drawer has less stuff and she can easily grab what she needs because we used two small boxes to separate and contain her supplies. We literally cut up a couple of empty granola bar boxes and stuck them in the drawer. There are thousands of products available out there but sometimes you can find exactly what you need in your own home for free!

Here’s the after shot of her desk now that we’ve said good-bye to all the unnecessary stuff that was dragging her down:

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Ah, so refreshing! She can see her beautiful view from the window. She can appreciate her adorable son’s photo. She can neatly tuck her laptop into the cubby at the end of the day. She now has exactly one cup for pens and one cup for other little knickknacks. Clarity and order prevail and more business success awaits her.

 

Is clutter getting in the way of your business? Is there always something clogging up the works preventing you from accomplishing your goals? There is a clearer way!

With love, light and less clutter…

Jeni