Nothing focuses the mind like a move, especially to an apartment with all the bells and whistles you love but less storage space and fewer cabinets.
“But where will this go if I keep it?”
That thought was in the front of my mind at the beginning of the year as I packed up — or threw out — 10-plus years of items from my old apartment. The exhausting process made me think of a conversation with a professional organizer I interviewed years ago. He believed that homeowners should consult a professional organizer BEFORE renovating their closet space, not after. His theory was that homeowners simply have too much stuff, too many material things, that they never use and don’t need. So, why create a beautiful space just to house clothing or other items so inconsequential to daily living?
As I was sorting through my things, I had to admit that perhaps he had a point. I came across items I hadn’t used in years. Honestly, things I hadn’t seen in years but were still in my possession simply because I had a cabinet to store them in.
But letting go is kind of hard, and that was so evident as I was packing boxes. I had created two piles — keep this and throw this out — but I noticed that I was running out of moving boxes faster than anticipated. It was because my keep pile was so much larger than my trash pile. So, I had to stop, regroup, and ask myself, ‘Why is this item so important?’ The answer often was that it was sentimental or not important at all.
I had several of those Marie Kondo's “does this spark joy” moments while moving. I know there has been some controversy about Ms. Kondo recently because she said that after having kids, she doesn’t have time to tidy up and organize as she previously did. Twitter was in an uproar at this confession.
My thought: We live our lives in phases. Her previous advice/approach might not work for her in her current phase, but that doesn’t make it any less valuable or applicable to other people. I found it very helpful with my move. The whole experience honestly gave me a greater appreciation of the need for professional organizing and keeping track of my things. And I hope that whether you are a closet design firm, interior designer, or cabinet company you are encouraging your clients to consider working with professional organizers — maybe even before you begin the design process. It just might make your job easier, plus allow you to create storage systems that are even more functional and sustainable when it comes to staying organized.
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