This is an interesting question I get asked on a pretty regular basis. Many people don’t think they can maintain so they don’t even try. Here’s my Professional Organizer’s take on a recent work session:
I was finally placing labels on the new bins and putting on the finishing touches. The pantry looked perfect. We had powered through three hours of completely reorganizing the space and it looked like an organizer’s dream.
Then, my client stepped back to look at it and there it was. THAT question again:
“Will it stay that way though?”
I could see the doubt and hesitation in her eyes. No there was nothing that did not make sense from the pantry. Yet, this question has surprisingly surfaced quite often with many of my clients and especially doubtful family members.
Think about it. It probably has occurred to you too. You see something pretty, an organized shelf, a neat room, an awesome playroom and you think to yourself:
“That could never be my house”, or “that wouldn’t last the weekend with my kids”.
The thing is while you might be right in some instances of staged photos and unrealistic house settings, in many other cases you are NOT.
Unless this is a case of a more extreme disorganization or underlying psychological personal issues, there is no need to be hesitant to get organized just because you think you can’t maintain it.
Questions and doubts :
“Oh yes it looks gorgeous because you know what you’re doing but I don’t know”
“I might have to bring you back here every week to keep this up!”
“Do you think I can maintain this?”
I am here to tell you that yes, you can and this is why:
- You made the best investment and worked with a trained Professional Organizer, who has hours and hours of education classes and experience and knows the best way to set up a proper organizing system. No, it is not just about throwing your stuff away. Do you remember those 2000 questions I asked at our consultation and then during the work session? It was not all chit-chat. I was learning about you and how your family functions. This system is tailored to your unique lifestyle and reflects that.
- There are labels now where there were none before. I am glad you listened to me and agreed to label things. Unless you live by yourself, labeling will ensure that other family members know where to look for things and where they should go back after they have been used. (honestly, even if you live by yourself the power of labels is just so special, I’d always tell you to anyway.)
- The randomness is gone and instead, we have structure. You can’t put the pasta on the shelf that is now clearly for breakfast items. Most likely you won’t. Why should you? As humans, we are wired to want “easy”. And randomness is NOT easy. It actually is way more work for our brains to figure out where that last bag of dark brown sugar is (hoping that we still have any stuffed in a corner somewhere) than to look straight into the Baking section bin.
- Organizing cuts down on your decision making. You don’t realize how tired you are, how many things are on your mind and to do lists. Setting up a new system in your pantry, kitchen or closet etc may feel different and foreign the first few days but it makes your life so much easier in the long run. You will not have to dedicate ANY thinking power to where shoes, papers or kids stuff should go. You just know. With that energy drain out of the equation, you can focus more on other areas of your life that need your energy and attention.
- I honestly have yet to meet someone that says “ I regret getting organized”. Most of the amazing folks I have had the honor to work with have confirmed that their initial hesitation about maintaining it simply has not come true. No, a pantry will not self-maintain. You will still have to give it a touch up from time to time, readjust and reevaluate placement of foods etc. The family’s needs will change after all, and the system should be adjusted to reflect that. My promise to you is the same answer that I gave my client as she was pondering her family living with the new pantry:
“It may not stay picture perfect, but it will NEVER go back to what it was”.
Drop me a line in the comments and let me know what you think.