The past two years have been a learning experience on many levels for me and my husband. It all started before I even heard about COVID, in August 2019, when I finally got tired of damaged countertops in our kitchen. It was my first “organizing moment aha” when I realized it was time to remodel the kitchen.
I do not cook; therefore, cooking is my husband’s domain. We both work in the home organization business, so together we sorted through all the drawers and cabinets to determine what we were going to keep, recycle, donate or throw away. I found out that we had what I thought were a ton of unnecessary gadgets and supplies, many of which had never been used or had passed their expiration dates. (Hard for me to admit it, but yes it’s true.) “Aha! “
Many decisions were made including colors, cabinet door materials, counters and backsplash. We’ve made some minor design changes to allow us to continue to age in place. In the end, we have reduced our supplies, dishes, glassware and utensils to exactly what we use. The selection of random coffee mugs offered to us was given because the cup sizes were not suitable for me. While each mug has a fond memory of the person or company who gave us the gift, we didn’t want our new cupboards full of items to be kept for reasons of guilt. It was all about utility. Seems familiar? “Aha! “
Further into 2020, we decided to put in place a plan to renovate our master bathroom. It’s a small space with limited storage, but it works for us. We opted for a pedestal sink rather than a cabinet under the sink, even though we knew we were giving up valuable storage space. All items stored under the old sink have been removed, sorted and decided. We installed a large vanity mirror that better suits our baby boomer needs for bright lighting and has more storage shelves inside than your typical medicine cabinet. The new decorative glass shelf above the toilet became the perfect place to display a few of my hair products, narrowing the selection from four to one.
I had a bit of remorse for the money spent on products that brought little or no value to my life, but I quickly recovered once I saw the remodeled bathroom ( which we now call the “spa”) take shape. Just as we say to our clients when we walk into their homes, “we walk in without judgment,” I have maintained that credo to myself. I was now my own client.
In case you thought I was tired of reducing the size of the contents of our house, we have decided to make 2021 the year of the garage renovation. In preparation for the demolition, on a cool summer morning my husband and I moved everything out of the garage and sorted them into piles. Keep: the two cars (of course), the garage vacuum, organizational supplies such as moving wrapping paper, boxes, contractor bags, and car wash supplies (hose, bucket, nozzle). Gone are the rickety ladders, lawn chemicals, half the number of old towels and rags for washing the car, parts of appliances we no longer own and old milk crates I bought from my homes. parents. The decisions in the garage were much easier because they were less emotional. “Aha! “
For 2022, we are planning new roofs and cladding, a simple project from an emotional point of view. Neither of us will shed a tear about removing the old siding or ripping off the roof. However, in 2023 we plan to gut and renovate our basement. This area is filled with the most difficult task of all, collecting family photos / archives and keepsakes. My father was an amateur photographer, a WWII veteran, and a small business owner. The initial organization of this space began several years ago after my parents died, so the photos have been selected and the slides are organized in date order. Hey, this is a start!
When asked “where to start with a home organization project”, my answer remains the same: “Start small, start now”. Over the past seven years, we’ve changed the lives of our customers, one drawer or one cabinet at a time. Over the past two years, my husband and I have changed our lives piece by piece. May the “aha” moments never end; this is called progress.
Good organisation !
Eileen Bergman is a professional organizer and proud to be a member of the National Association of Organizational and Productivity Professionals (NAPO). Bergman is listed in the Hoarding Disorders Training and Resource Group Resource Directory. She lives in West Orange and can be contacted at [email protected]
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2021 issue of Jersey’s Best. Subscribe here for in-depth access to everything that makes the Garden State great.