Fact: children mean changes in the home.
Fact: children mean changes in the home.
She had been greeted by a closet the size of a bedroom with shelves and racks overflowing with shoes and clothes.
Meet Christine Matarese, a certified hedgehog rescuer, whose passion began in the 90s after recognizing that these “spiky balls of love” were the pet for her, and later realizing that these little creatures actually needed to be rescued.
"Jeez Dad, what are we supposed to do with all this crap when you die?"
Those charming words of endearment were uttered by Elliot's forty- something daughter, Trish, as she gazed around his basement. The pictures you see here were taken in Elliot's basement with his proud permission to set an example for all those granddads still in love with their man caves. This is a fraction of the joy in Elliot's basement.
"I am inquiring on behalf of my parents without their knowledge. They are both retired and in their early 70's. The family home that I once knew as clean, organized, and well kept has become a complete mess and a horrible embarrassment.
"My mom will not get rid of anything because she feels that she may need it one day. She keeps saying she's going through things but this has turned into a slow process of her moving things from one area or box to another. The house has become overrun with boxes and general clutter.
"My father has basically given up which has led to some marital discord. I have tried, as have my siblings, to talk to her or offer assistance but we get pushed back with excuses. They want to declutter and move to a smaller home but the task is well beyond their ability at this point.
"I am at a point where I don't know what else to do to help them and I think its time for professional help but don't know how to get them to accept it. Hoping you may have some answers or guidance? Thank you in advance...Phyllis"
Ellen had taken seriously my recommendation for a clean out company. Three bedrooms in her mother's house were strewn with garbage and trash as was the front porch which had become the designated dumping ground. Ellen didn't even want to discuss the basement.
I asked her to think about how many days and weeks, of tedious sorting, how many garbage bags; how many dumpsters, how many trips either up stairs or down stairs this cleaning out could take should she try this herself. I asked her to think about the possibility of becoming so weary that accidents...tripping, falling, failing to see a red light or stop sign... would become real and devastating. We were meeting a deadline. I gave her my resources and she called for help.
"I will never do to my sons what my father did to me."
Sounds like a salacious headline in one of those believe-this-if-you-will tabloids, conjuring up images of abuse; maybe dungeon-like living quarters or unspeakable horrors.
This is actually a statement from a friend who had to clean out his father's house after his dad decided to downsize and move.
Professional organizers love Christmas. It’s one of the reasons we have jobs. Closets and drawers are stuffed and glutted with gifts received years ago with the best of the season’s spirit. Bins and boxes labeled “Christmas” filled with every decoration, ornament, garland, music box, singing, jiggling character, and Christmas collectible are stacked and shoved into every available space in attics and basements. More bins with items purchased throughout the year to give, but that were forgotten instead, languish in corners. The Christmas Season begins earlier every year - Halloween and Thanksgiving apparently are there to help us be polite as we head toward commercial gusto and frenzy and the relentless scream of retailers to shop and buy. How about thinking outside the box...and the bin...and creating some alternatives?
"If the box on this year’s Christmas present uses "some Assembly required", you might want to be fully armed and dressed for battle"
When I was growing up and my mother would announce that she would have to call someone to fix or assemble something, my father would respond with the typical male growl,
“ That’s ridiculous; I can do it.”
From October to December, retail brings on the sights, sounds, and smells of the season. The fragrant candles will be up front, the lights will be blinking and the music will all be there to help you open your wallet. Inspired by the seasonal influx of catalogues and the many people who have given up their basements, garages, spare rooms, and attics to store far too many holiday decorations, I bring you this bit of silly
For the past 23 years, I have been housing theatre people, mostly opera folks when opera is in season here. There is always a spare room for out- of-town singers, directors, or costumers who need a place to stay.
For the last several months I’ve written about keeping Christmas and the rest of the year simple and light, finding alternatives to the holiday stress and frenzy, and giving yourself permission to say “enough” to keep debt at bay. It’s all a matter of making sensible but sometimes difficult choices.
Anyone who has ever planned a party knows that decisions and choices are basic beginning ingredients: what to serve, whom to invite. I’m revving up for a holiday gathering at my house; a brunch, followed by a trip to a small, local theatre.
There's the start of a college education in the back of my car. There's been a small down payment on a house and a gently used vehicle back there too. I've carted away a cleaning service, a couple of moving men, and a contractor who could have done some serious home repairs.
Magazines touting the latest in organizing solutions with glossy images of clean and perfect spaces do not deal with individuals or their lives. Staged with new furniture and quaint products, these articles are advice with the underlying hint that buying something pretty will put one’s life in order. There’s the panacea of visual fantasies: ten beige outfits in a closet; six bathroom towels rolled with ribbons. Glib.
Every personal organizer who has ever answered the plea for help in paper management has seen the following organizing “systems”: the floor, the kitchen counter, the desk top, the entry table, the dining room table, the coffee table, the family room, the laundry room, the laundry baskets, the wicker baskets, the tote bags, the paper bags, the plastic bags, the shoe boxes, the cardboard boxes, the plastic bins, and my personal favorite, the dog kennel. When we’ve been shown actual filing cabinets, they are either empty or filled with buldging, toppling files labeled “miscellaneous” and “stuff”, which is right up there with naming all your children, “Hey You”. Anyone can answer that call including the neighbors next door whom you weren’t really seeking.
We all have that spot. It’s a desk top, closet, bedroom, office, garage, a basement; a space so cluttered, so unorganized, so filled with stuff and nonsense that it is no longer functional. And one day, for some reason, we look at it all with new eyes. A new reality sets in; we gasp in dismay and wail out loud, “How did it get like this?”
Marilyn Paul, a professional woman with a doctorate, confessed to being the poster child of disorder in her personal life. Home and office were jumbled and confused; her lifestyle frenzied and disorganized. In her book, It’s Hard to Make a Difference When you Can’t Find Your Keys, she relates how she was able to finally get organized personally and professionally when she began to organize emotionally.
In my last article, we covered ...
- Purpose for becoming and staying organized.
- Envisioning the life and environment one would like to have. The journey continues with some serious questioning.
- Reality, Taking Stock Most people eventually learn that there is a relationship between habits and comfort.