I am excited and exhausted tonight as I reflect on the latest organizing challenge I have been handed. A woman who walked out on her husband because of an abusive relationship left most of her belongings at her home. The divorce settled, the house is hers, the hoarding ex-husband is gone, and it’s my job to sort out the mess. I’ve put in about 25 hours so far. I am guessing it will take about that much more to complete the job including cleaning and staging–that doesn’t include my family’s time to help.
At first my client told me to give or throw everything away that she did not point out to me. But as Robert (my former husband and present best friend and helper at times in my jobs) and I uncovered some things, including a thousand dollar (at least ) microscope; high dollar rubber rafts; lots of camping equipment; valuable papers and winter clothes–it became apparent that I wasn’t going to give everything away.
I am walking a find line in my decision making. My client doesn’t want to be at the house very much since it holds so many bad memories. So I am setting out those things in plain sight that I think she might like. I can’t believe I have actually sorted out almost everything so she can look at the items easily. Once she decides, I will pack it all up for her to put in storage.
Since she is going to sell the house, I am going to ask her if she wants me to stage it so it look nice. In spite of the fact that the house needs a number of repairs, having furniture and a few knick knacks to make it look homey would probably be beneficial. Then we won’t have to get rid of all the furniture right away, and the new owner might just want some of what is there. Hey, if anyone knows of someone who would like to buy a house with a gorgeous view out in the country with about eighty acres, let me know.
I have a great system where I am touching everything once and then putting the miscellaneous stuff that needs to be sorted into boxes to be sorted all at once. I set up a room as a staging area for sorting. If I tried to sort in one room, then I need to have a ton of boxes spread out. Now I have gathered everything from around the house that does not fit into the major categories (bulky office supplies, obviously give away, things for my client to look at). I am going to delegate this job to Robert since he can also look at things and see if they are valuable. We are selling some stuff for my client on Ebay as well.
Tomorrow, Mother’s Day, we will all get together and work on the project. Mahriyanna, my fourteen year old daughter, has already helped by providing childcare during the first consultation, and then coming back with Robert (her father) to help tape boxes and do odd jobs. Chris, my twenty year old son, will join us tomorrow. Normally we would not work on Mother’s Day, but I really want to get this job to a place where it will be attractive to be shown potential buyers. At the same time, what I love to do is work with my family. Even though we get paid, our work is still a labor of love and service. Hopefully we will help bring some light into a sad situation and environment as we bring our loving family energy to this place where such tragedies occurred.
I am eager to see my client’s face as she sees some of the treasures I have unearthed, and the great progress we have all made. She is such an encouraging and grateful client. Really, almost of my clients are. It is very rewarding for me to do this work.
We will also celebrate Mother’s Day on Monday by doing things together at our Wellspring Ecovillage in formation–and we will still be together.
I thought my job helping Josh and Martha move to Costa Rica was my most challenging job, but now I have found an even more difficult one. I keep telling people that I have never found a job I have been overwhelmed by, and that I like a challenge. I must admit at first this job was a bit much for me, since I had to do it mostly alone on the first day after having a two and a half hour orientation by the client. Yet once I got in the flow, (and said some prayers) it really went smoothly. Putting myself in my client’s shoes really helps.
I feel honored to be so trusted with this responsibility. I also feel grateful that I can have a job which helps a single mom continue with her path of healing from a very challenging situation. I feel happy to contribute to the well being of her children as well. I get to work with my family as well as on my own in a beautiful country setting doing work I am good at. Wow! I feel so grateful.
At the same time, I am looking forward to a time where I can do the organizing job I yearn for–helping to create a community at our Wellspring Eco-village in formation. I think everything I am doing is helping me hone my skills–and make money in order to accomplish this 35 year old goal of living in community.