Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Slow And Steady Wins The Organizing Battle

As I knocked on the door of "Ellen's" apartment, I could hear she was vacuuming her apartment.

"You're not suppose to be working before I show up," I said to Ellen.
"Well, I just wanted some part of my home to be presentable."

Ellen has lived in her apartment for a few years and things have gotten out of control. She recognizes it and wants to get her place back in shape so she feels good about it again.

We decided to tackle her kitchen. Ellen is older and we are working in 2 hour blocks of time so she doesn't get completely wiped out. This does take a bit more time to complete the project, though when working with older adults you must consider their abilities.

In Ellen's kitchen, she had a lot going on. Items covering the countertops and cabinets stuffed with pantry foods, plates and cookware. We began with the countertop to the left of the stove and worked our way around to the right. Using big black bags to toss all the stuff that Ellen no longer needed. When we got to the frig, we began to work our way back through the upper cabinets.

Many things were tossed (5-6 bags) because they did not work, they were old or just plain "crusty" as Ellen stated. With the countertops cleared off, there was working space to pull everything out of the upper cabinets, wipe down the shelves and return the items Ellen uses to the cabinets. Everything else was removed from her apartment.

Ellen's pantry items were also thinned out and reorganized. Creating areas in her cabinets for fruits, veggies, soups, pasta, spices and baking. Now she can go into her cupboards and knows what she has and where it is. Everything is grouped together.

Her neighbor stopped by as I was hauling trash bags out for the dumpster. Ellen's neighbor was stunned at what we accomplished in only 2 hours. I was pleasantly surprised we got as much done, too. Most importantly Ellen is psyched and ready for her next 2 hour appointment. She feels energized and relieved that control of her home is returning to her.

The 2 hour time blocks work perfect for Ellen. The momentum was there to keep going, but she knows herself best. Her project may take a bit longer to be fully completed with these shorter appointments, though that's OK.

The goal here is to get Ellen's home organized.
We don't have to sprint to the finish to get it right.

What do you take a bit more time to do?

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