Find a room in your house and imagine it as you read this article. It should be a room you use all the time. It can be your personal bedroom or bathroom or a community kitchen or even a garage or shed for those who work in them often. I want you to really think about what works in the room. I want you to think about all that you do in that room and how much you move around it.
Now that you have what works in mind I want you to consider the opposite. Consider what does not work in the room? Consider your answers to the following questions.
Let’s start with the mechanical problems. These are all fixable problems that include putting a door back on its track, fixing a stuck drawer or a loose handle. A shelf hung crooked. These are problems that end up causing us to not use these things anymore. In my home we have a pesky kitchen drawer that loves to go off track or get stuck closed. For a few months I let it go and it bothered my but it hadn’t created any real problems until we had a large pot full of water, milk, and butter on the stove flow out and all over the stove. I went for the pesky drawer that was home to the hand towels and what not. I couldn’t get it open and that was when I realized that drawer really needed to be remounted. Took the hour to remount the tracks and the problem was fixed.
Many problems that we come across are very simple fixes but in our minds we never seem to have the time to fix it. The first time I read this I tried to think about the math in this. I would spend up to 2-3 minutes messing with the drawer before a winner was determined (usually not me). I dealt with it for about 3 months. And we are huge kitchen users of this drawer. On overage I would need to get into this drawer twice a day. That is 6 minutes a day. 90 days. 540 minutes is what I spent messing with this drawer! It took less than 60 minutes to fix the problem. Lesson to learn here is the best practice in these situations is to just grin and bear the fix. It will save you so much time and frustration.
When we look at the emotional in M.E.S.S. we are referring to the ITEMS that bring emotional attachments to the table. We all have them and it is important to keep these. As a mom, I adore all things that my kids make for me, including the mud pies when the boys were little. Many of these things are amazing and wonderful in the moment and should be cherished in the moment fully! Display all current works of art and each month take them down. I scanned my kids art work the best I could just to keep as much of it as I could but at the end of the day I would not have a place to sleep if I kept all 5 kids drawings.
Trophies are a big sentiment people have a hard time letting go of. A simple solution, take a picture of each one and save the name plates. Create a plaque with the plates and create a small photo book with the pictures that you can treasure forever. Right there you just eliminated a ton of space and still get to keep the memories
Not all emotional attachments are good though. Dawn wrote about a client of hers who was discussing what was wrong with the room and she kept mentioning the bedroom furniture set. It sounds like the client was nitpicking the furniture. Dawn finally asked her what the history of the set was. It turns out that the set belonged to her husband and his first wife. The solution was simple from there. They moved the bedroom set into the guest room and bought a new set.
Everyone goes through major life changes. When we do we face them one step at a time. Creating some harmony in our spaces during these events can really change how we deal with these events. A new baby will require lots of changes to the space to accommodate the constant changes the child will go through. The second floor in my childhood home started out with one bedroom, and a loft. Over time as our family grew, I was born and then my sister, we got older and so on. The upstairs had to adapt with us. It eventually turned into two bedrooms and a full bathroom. Not every space will require such dramatic changes but the idea is the same. When the problem is temporary the solution will also be temporary.
Go back to your room now. Think about what it is that you do in your room. What systems do you have in place to keep yourself, organized, productive, and efficient or to promote relaxation, sleep, or even love? In my bathroom (which you can see pictures on the residential page) is set up based on my routine in the morning. It has changed a lot in the past year. 1 year ago, I was a fresh graduate who didn’t have to work while attending school. I had readopted the pajama style. I had my hair up in a clip 99% of time and my makeup wearing days were on vacation. Most of everything I needed could fit on a tiny decorative shelf. Once I got a job I had to pull out the hair stuff and dust the makeup off. It took some time to really figure out how I liked things but I did.
As my positions changed and my wardrobe needs became more professional in nature I cut off my hair for a fun new sexy look and got all new fresh makeup to go with my new “professional look”. My needs changed so my system needed to be re-evaluated. How do your systems work for you? Did you just shrug and say “For the most part”? What about your system is holding it back from being “amazing”? Think about your system next time you go through the process. New to the idea of a system and not sure what I mean? Let me give you a common problem I have seen and read about.
How exactly do you do the laundry? Your soaps may all be categorized and neatly placed in a slide out drawer in a fancy wardrobe that looks like Paris when it is closed but it won’t make up for the back stretching and pressure on your knees when you bend down to grab the soap several times a day when you do laundry. If you’re young, healthy and fit, well this might not be any problem for you…yet. For those of us who are older already and deal with pain in our backs and knees, bending down like that might make doing the laundry cumbersome. Food for thought!
Once you identify what is wrong with the room, determine why it is wrong and the solution becomes a whole lot clearer. This works for me whenever there isn’t an obvious answer. One step at a time and you will find harmony! Happy Holidays!
The pictures above depict the very real results that could happen in your own home or office. I am an expert at receiving a before picture, discussing what you want it to look and function like, creating a plan of action to achieve those results, and then executing the project to its finish.
I love the image in the bottom row, middle column. It accurately depicts what a solution from Harmonizing Solutions can do for someone. The person on the left is buried in their disorganization. They have a hard time finding things, remembering to complete tasks and even completing them on time if at all. As a temp, I have filled in for office managers in all different kinds of fields and every office had a great deal of time wasting going on. I didn't realize it at the time, or I would have done this a long time ago, but I would go in to these offices (some corporate and some only a few employees) quickly learn the entire position in a very short period of time and I would always find out of date systems that really no longer worked for the company. I always knew it wasn't a part of my job description but I rarely has a position where I was left with no time so I would "clean". At least that's where it seemed to start.
Once the main area I work at was clutter free and dust free I would find little projects to keep myself busy. I grew up doing odd jobs around my mothers accounting firm. A perfect business to grow up in if you enjoy filing (lots and lots and lots), creating client records from the very first time the name is written on the file folder and then filling it up over the years with client records. This was my sole responsibility from the age of 13 till I was 16. I handled all files. I may have seemed young but I had a way of doing things and they appreciated my talents back then although they would tease me from time to time for being so good at it. Who's laughing now!?
My projects tended to include cleaning up the existing files, making new files, closing old files, updating files, ect. From there I would often get bored and look for other things to dabble with. Most employers clearly had no problem with some free work that they themselves have no time for. Prior to getting my degree those projects were limited in nature. After acquiring my Associates degree of applied sciences in business management and accounting, I was able to dabble in so much more. I was able to work with in bookkeeping software and then I was able to explore how to utilize the software the best way for the company and the business they run. I had an assignment for a bank not to long ago in the small business lending loss recovery team.
They brought me on to try a theory out. The theory was that if there was one or two people dedicated to a process called offsetting then more money would be recovered. I never was told what the goal amount of increase was but after 3 months I had learned the process they had in place (which was very inefficient and did not produce results), re-create the process, test the process and increase the amount collected the third month buy $280,000. A 14% increase from the month before. I followed up with a contact there and they have implemented my process (with my permission) and they have continued to increase that number.
I ran across a blog post for another PO and that's when it hit. I knew very little about it and I had to convince myself that being a professional organizer was actually a things before I could accept what I knew I wanted to do. While working at my last assignment a lady who had watched me conquer several problematic areas due to a lack of systems in place. She would sit at her desk and giggle while she watched me do my thing. One day she mentioned very casually "Hey! Have you ever thought about working for one of those organizing companies?" and the light bulb went off. I finally knew EXACTLY what I was meant to be doing.
While researching, it came to light that knowing how to organize and create unique solutions wasn't enough. It turns out that an organized space is only as good as the person maintaining the system. I knew then that the only other thing I have ever been really excellent at was going to come into play. Creating safe environments for people to be open and honest. By doing this people come to me with all kinds of problems. I especially attract a large number of people who are having trouble creating harmony in themselves. After getting to know them it is usually pretty obvious their biggest stress comes from the lack of time in a day. After they get to know me better they always wind up asking me how I manage all that I do.
Some simple tips and tricks usually makes a world of difference. This leads me back to the picture I referenced above. The guy on the right side looks happy and relaxed. Harmony has been reached! This is the feeling I want to share with all of you! Check out my website at www.harmonizingsolutions.com and if your in the area and want a free estimate click the button and fill the form out! Thanks for getting to know me and my company!