Meh, who needs help getting organised? Erm... it takes all sorts!

rant shame Jun 02, 2022
Rebekah Holmes, Auckland professional organiser, standing in front of a brick wall and smiling as she looks towards the ground.

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed by Kylie Klein-Nixon for an article she was writing for Stuff - she wanted to chat about the online trend of watching other people organise their spaces. Of course I was happy to share my thoughts - you can check out the article here

What was really cool is that during the article, Kylie asked if I had any clients that might be willing to have a chat with her to provide another perspective for the article. After checking with two lovely clients, I put Kylie in touch with Natalie and Michelle. And a second article was spawned!! So cool - you can check out that article here

I have two messages about decluttering and organising that I hope are both clear and enduring:

  1. Don't be embarrassed if you need to ask for help decluttering and organising your home (or business). 
  2. Decluttering / organising is not a once-and-done affair. Ongoing effort is required. 

I think both of those messages came through in the articles - happy days. 

Here is where it becomes not so cool - I read the comments. I know, I know... rookie mistake. But I was so excited to see that people had read and responded to the article - I am after all a small business owner and it is EXCITING to see your business "in the news". Were readers vibing with the ideas I'd shared? Were they picking up what I was putting down? 

No, no they were not. Ironically, the majority had completely missed, as the journalist beautifully wrote, my "One woman war on shame". One person wrote how they had no trouble putting their things away; another wrote of how everything is folded and stacked in her linen closet without a basket in site. Another person wrote "I'm in the wrong business, I actually have to work to earn $2k". Ouch. 

My first instinct was to get defensive on my own behalf. The implication that I don't work to earn my money stings. Any of my clients will tell you that I bust my hump to earn my fee. I'm up and down stairs like a billy goat, I'm doing the literal heavy-lifting of bulky, oversized items, and let's not forget the mental heavy-lifting of devising solutions that work for each very specific household, or the skill it takes to navigate my clients' energy and emotions empathetically AND still get results by the end of a session without my clients feeling bullied. Oh! And also overheads like petrol, business admin costs, planning, preparation and responsible re-homing or disposal of anything discarded during the appointment.

But more than getting annoyed for myself, I'm annoyed for my clients - those who were brave enough to share their stories, those who quietly book an appointment but don't tell anyone, and those potential clients who are sitting at home, surrounded and overwhelmed by stuff, but too scared to get help because of the potential judgement from others. 

I'm going to draw a line here to the state of mental health in this country, and the empty assurances that we should "reach out for help, no one will judge you." No wonder we have people who put on a brave face and attempt to muddle through their own, personal crises - because every damn day we face the harsh and unkind judgement of others. It's in the comment sections of every website and social media platform; it's in the sideways looks from our family when we let our guard down for just a moment and share something we are going through; it's in the suggestions from strangers to "google it, there I just saved you some money" on an article about decluttering and organising your home. 

So - this blog post is NOT for those people who sit in their ivory towers, with free time,  endless energy and a pristine house to match their joyless disposition. This blog post is NOT for those who cannot fathom why you would get a professional in to help with something that you cannot - and will not - do on your own. And this blog post is NOT for the kind of people who anonymously judge others online behind the safety of an ill-conceived pseudonym.

This blog post IS for: 

  • Business owners who are busting their butt to build a lifestyle for their family and don't have the time or inclination to set up the systems that will take the load of running a household off their overflowing plate. I have clients just like you. 
  • The stay-at-home mum who spends her whole day tidying up after the kids but never seems to be able to put her feet up, and thinks "there must be something different I could try." I have clients just like you. 
  • The multi-millionaire who has inherited stuff from her parents and crammed it into an already-full garage, but doesn't know how to process and deal with it when she is overcome with grief. I have clients just like you. 
  • The creative soul who has been storing "resources" for years, waiting to use them in art projects - who all of a sudden realises that it is too much and she doesn't know where to start. I have clients just like you. 
  • The rich-lister who wants everything in it's place, but doesn't want to be the one to set it up perfectly and keep it like that.  I have clients just like you. 
  • Retirees who have found themselves in their twilight years with big houses, plenty of stuff, and a burning desire to downsize and simplify.  I have clients just like you. 

 I could go on about the kind of clients I have. The point is, they come from all walks of life and there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. I'll say it louder for the people in the back: there is nothing wrong with seeking help for the things you can't or don't want to sort out yourself. Don't let the judgement of others hold you back from the lifestyle you want and deserve. Screw those guys. 

If this blog post resonated with you, I'd love for you to share it on your social media. Don't forget to tag @theshipshapeshoppe so I can thank you for your support. 

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