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  • Writer's pictureUshma Agrawal

The Luxury of Professional Organizing

As I continue my journey to grow Aura-Ganize, I have come to realize a few things. First, while most people say they would love an organizer to come in and help them at home, most are not ready to take that step. It takes mental capacity and gumption to really think through where one might need help the most in terms of organizing, and actually find someone to help. Sometimes there are so many spaces that need work, that one doesn't know where to start, so they don't.

Second, there is a lot of shame / embarrassment / vulnerability involved when actually having someone in your home, helping you organize. I hear so many apologies for the mess or disorganization. Mostly it's women who are apologizing and sometimes I want to give them a hug (which I can't because of Covid) and tell them to please stop apologizing. You see, I don't know a single person who isn't overwhelmed with the "stuff" in their home - including me. Sometimes I wonder how I went from a very small home in London with practically no storage, to this bigger home with more than enough storage, that is still often bursting at the seams! Can I control it? Yes, to an extent, though. It's not all my stuff. Some of it is and some of it isn't and when you start to have conversations about decluttering of someone else's "stuff", there is often a primal urge on their part to keep it.

While many families I know have regular cleaning services and we can all acknowledge that our homes get dirty and need to be regularly cleaned by someone who is efficient and effective, admitting to being disorganized is often shrouded in guilt and secrecy. A lot of times it's not even that the person is disorganized, per se. It's just that they have accumulated so much "stuff" that admitting to it and parting with some of it is harder than just keeping it.

We all have different associations with the word "luxury". If you look up the noun in the dictionary, it is described as "a state of great comfort and extravagant living." Personally, when I think of the word "luxury", I think of a spa and feeling mentally and physically rested after a massage. For others it may be as simple as sleeping through the night for new parents; buying a new handbag or car; going on a holiday; or just having a whole day to yourself with no obligations or expectations. Whatever the word means to you, if you close your eyes and think of it, it should evoke a feeling inside you. A feeling of contentment and worthiness. That's the feeling I wish to bring into someone's life with organizing. To have them feel worthy and content by helping them tackle something that gives them angst. According to Psychologists, experiences have a longer-lasting impact on our happiness than material things. This is a fabulous realization, especially if you feel you have accumulated too many "things" in your home. It's also a good lens to have when thinking about buying more things vs. investing in an experience.

That brings me to the title of this post: "The Luxury of Professional Organizing." You see, I have found that not only is hiring a professional organizer considered a luxury service in the sense that it's something people with more disposable income can afford to do. It is also a luxury in the sense that people realize they need help and are willing to make an investment to get said help - they have the luxury of acknowledging their needs and implementing a solution. For me, I consider that a breakthrough. Just saying "I need help" can put a person in a very vulnerable place. When that person is the chief home-carer I believe it can them feel like they somehow failed and let things get away from them. I want to tell all those people they have not failed. Organizing is a skill. Not everyone is good at it, has a passion for it, or cares to do it. The same can be said for gardening or cooking. I don't particularly enjoy either of them. For me cooking is a means to an end: just get it done so people are sustained. I'm not going for Masterchef status because I really don't enjoy it. It's ok for me to say that and a lot of people will agree with me that they feel the same. However, when it comes to organizing one's home, I hear a lot of people saying they need organizing help in jest or with a giggle, and they are often also the same people who profusely apologize when you take a look at the space they need to organize. I don't apologize every time I cook something that isn't worth a Michelin star, but I think that a lot of women feel like they need to apologize for the state of their home. Please don't apologize! Apologizing is something women do way too much of. We apologize for all kinds of things that we have no control over. It's almost a defacto or conditioned response for a lot of women. (On a side note, this article is a good read on how you can stop the habit of apologizing so much.) There are no judgements on my part when you show me your home/office/garage. The reasons I love organizing are the feelings I get when the project is complete: fulfillment at having resolved an issue; gratification at accomplishing a task that the client finds frustrating; hope for new and fresh beginnings now that clutter has been cleared and organization reigns instead of chaos; relief on behalf of the client that this project is complete and they can check it off their list; happiness that the client may look at the space with a sense of satisfaction and smile on their lips because it functions as they need it to. So, no need to apologize. Somewhat selfishly, I feel rather good after organizing!

So, next time you think about treating yourself to something luxurious, consider the areas in your life that give you angst and if you can, recruit a professional to help you. You are worthy of it! Whether it's getting your family car detailed because there are crushed up goldfish and who-knows-what in the back seats and you have neither the time, nor patience to deal with it; seeing a therapist - because you have been dealing with issues that seem to be growing with no relief in sight; or, getting a manicure - because you wash so many dishes your hands are left feeling dry, tired, and uncared for. Whatever luxury means to you, take a moment to consider if an experience will mean more to you than a material object. Remember, you are worthy of luxury and whatever it represents to you. For me, it's walking into a space and knowing things are where they should be in order for them to function effectively and efficiently....oh and a good massage!

Organizing in this day and age is a luxury because having a full plate with work, family, and social commitments, means less time to think about functioning systems in the home. Having said that, a home without functioning systems and/or too much clutter results in a lot of inefficiencies that can add time, mental, physical, and monetary stress to an already busy life. Taking care of that would alleviate a lot of day-to-day micro-stresses one deals with. How many times have you purchased duplicates of things that you thought you didn't have in the home or couldn't find when needed? Think of the time, money, space, and environmental waste that is created when you do that. You spend your time looking for it, then either go to the store, or order it online. When when it arrives, you unpack it and use it...only to find a duplicate shortly thereafter. Imagine if you knew exactly where everything is when you need it? That's what organizing can do for you...give you the luxury of "clarity of mind" when it comes to knowing where everything is in your home and having it function for your busy life. Not everyone is in a position to have the luxury of an organized home, but if you are in a position to, I highly recommend it. With it, comes peace, space (literally and figuratively), and energy to focus on more important things.

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