The Turning Point

If you’re wondering how it might feel to drastically reduce the number of things you own but are scared to dive in, this piece by Sean Hotchkiss takes you through the process in its entirety, with such poignancy and realism that you feel the weight of his stuff and then his eventual unburdening as if it were happening to you.  I urge you, whether you’re a chick or a dude, to read the article now: I Surrendered My Wardrobe.

Image courtesy of (Oliver Rheindorf/Platinum)

Image courtesy of (Oliver Rheindorf/Platinum)

Hotchkiss gets at so many of the core truths of organizing, concepts I see with clients time and again.  Over-acquisition doesn’t just happen out of the blue, it always comes from a place of emotional turmoil.  Once you’re on that merry-go-round of consumption, it’s really hard to get off.  And if you do succeed in changing your ways, it’s a lot harder to get rid of things than it was to buy them in the first place.

But I’ve talked about those things before.  Today, I want to call particular attention to the moment that Hotchkiss realized he had to make a change.  It was just a brief and seemingly meaningless interaction, but it led him to fundamentally alter the way he approached style, consumption, and ownership of things.

I’ve learned a lot over the past three and a bit years of my fledgling organizing career, and one thing that stands out to me is that I do my best work for people who are truly ready to make a change in their lives. 

Building an organized home is far more than rearranging all the things you already own.  If it were that easy, my job wouldn’t exist!  Instead, it requires a fundamental shift in how you approach your life.  You have to quit old habits and form new ones; get rid of many possessions and acquire a few new ones; think critically about your own attitudes and tastes; and allow a relative stranger to guide you through the entire, vulnerable process.  When done right, it’s a major and positively life-changing undertaking.

Because the organizing process requires such a tectonic shift, it won’t work for someone who hasn’t yet hit their turning point.  That point is different for everyone and can’t be predicted, but when it happens to you, you’ll know.  You’ll be exasperated, you’ll feel a bit like you’re crawling out of your skin, and you’ll pick up the phone and call me.

And the greatest reward you’ll earn from completing the organizing process isn’t the beauty of a row of pretty chalk labeled boxes.  It’s the time you’ll get back to spend with the people you love, the feeling of peace that will take over when you come home after a long day, and the quiet confidence you’ll enjoy, knowing that you’re equipped to deal with whatever mud life throws at you.