Are You Organized for the Unexpected?posted by Andrea | 02/18/2013
Working as a professional organizer for many years, I’m sure you can imagine some of the “sights” I’ve seen!
While I never disclose personal information or names of any of my clients, I most definitely have many, many stories to share of extreme hoarders, shopping addicts, and even a few downright lazy slobs.
Of course, I had many fabulous clients that hired me once or twice a year just to help with bigger projects or to get another perspective on their spaces. These were the fun clients — however, they were NOT the majority.
I was always suprirsed by how the majority of my clients lived in complete chaos, under piles and piles of clutter, with no rhyme or reason to anything. And I have a feeling (based on how popular organizing books and TV shows are) that there a millions of homes across the country that would also shock my socks off and make my jaw drop after walking through the front door.
There are many other homes that might look nice and neat from the front door, but open any drawer, any closet, any cabinet, and you’ll find mass amounts of stuff just shoved inside.
I’m not saying this to judge or belittle these people, I’m saying this because it’s the truth — and I’ve seen it!
If you live in a cluttered, disorganized home, you might be thinking “who cares, it’s none of your business what MY house looks like”.
But I’d beg to differ.
As you’ll read below, there are many situations where someone might need to step in and run your home, pay your bills, care for your children, or manage your life… and if your home is out of control and completely unorganized, there’s a good chance the people who are trying to help won’t be able to.
Are You Organized for the Unexpected?
Email from a loyal reader who says it better than I could:
A few years ago, the father of a dear friend died unexpectedly. In attempts to bless this family, several of us decided to clean my friend’s home while she was out of town for the visitation, funeral, etc. We opened the front door and it was like a tornado, and not just a tornado that had happened in the 24 hours since her dad died and they left town, but really just a way of life.
I literally picked up 27 loads of laundry off the floor between the upstairs and downstairs, there was no way of knowing what was clean and what was dirty, so I washed, dried and folded all of it. Someone else cleaned the bathrooms, two others did the kids’ rooms, some did the kitchen, etc. We were there for 3 hours with 10 people and it was just starting to look “picked up”, but not spotless or deep cleaned (I took all the laundry home and brought it back later.)
More recently, my daughter and I went over to babysit for a family that has a newborn in critical condition and 4 other children at home. We took them a meal, but we had to move things on the counter and in the refrigerator just to fit anything in. The house was a disaster — and again, not a disaster that just happened, but a permanent disaster. They had a filing cabinet with every drawer labeled “STUFF” and the mailman had to bring the mail to the door because their box was stuffed full and no one could find the key to open their box. There was a Social Security card in the mail for their brand new baby, which they were waiting for to sign up for Medicaid!
Why am I saying all this?
Because you never know when your life is going to change and someone else will have to take over paying bills, getting your mail, watching your kids, doing your laundry, making your meals, or living in your house.
These two experiences have made me more aware of how being a disorganized slob doesn’t just affect you, but so many others as well — especially when no one can figure out your system or find ANYTHING in your house.
I just think that sometimes we live self-absorbed lives and think, “Who cares, it is my mess.” But in reality, as I have personally seen several times, it DOES affect others and is something to consider in the way we keep our homes.
Can any of you relate?
I know I can!
Last month, I shared how we keep all our important paperwork organized “just in case” something would ever happen to Dave and I. I feel so much better knowing that it would be relatively easy for someone else to come in and run our home and finances if the situation ever arose. I also feel confident that since we work hard to keep our home relatively organized at all times, anyone would be able to find almost anything they needed to keep things running “as normal”.
If you can’t say the same thing about your home, it might be time to get to work.
It’s not going to happen over night, and you most definitely don’t need to keep things perfectly organized all the time. Just neat and organized enough that someone else could find the things they need to run your home, life, finances, kitchen, etc. in the event of an unexpected illness, death, or anything else that prevents you from handling these tasks on your own.
Plus, wouldn’t it just be nice to live, eat, work, play, and sleep in a more organized home?