As published in the Asheville Citizens Times:
As a mom who raised three boys, I have had a list of courses that ought to be taught in public school: How to Think, Cooperation Will Decrease Your Suffering, and Wake Up and Notice What is Going on Inside of Yourself. I have a new one for the list. Want to Get Organized?
One of our clients hired us recently to work with her children. Catie — age 12. David — age 10. Shanna — age 8. We arrived at the house with some trepidation, not knowing what to expect, having only met the children a couple of times. The girls were eager and the boy was skeptical. We started in the girl’s rooms. Mom worked on a project in the hallway nearby and David floated between the girls’ rooms like a UN observer. My business partner, Robert, followed Shanna into her room and sat down next to a small mountain of stuffed toys. I sat with Catie on her green shag rug and asked her about her objectives — she wanted things to look cleaner and less cluttered.
Shanna and Robert went through every stuffed animal as Shanna deliberated about each one — keep or donate to a needy child. It made it easier for her to let go knowing that someone else would love the animal.
Next they worked on her desk. The 8-year-old made all the decisions about where the pens, pencils, pads of paper and special items were to be placed.
Robert asked questions to encourage the process. After a while Shanna confided that she wanted the room to feel different. That is when Robert started moving the furniture. He would suggest a change and Shanna nodded her head yes or no. David got into the act and lifted the doll house into the hallway. Shanna was ready to give it to a cousin.
Next door, Catie and I were sorting through every bit of jewelry, each hair clip and all her handmade artwork. Surface after surface emerged as the donation box filled. The guys came in and moved Catie’s bed and bookcase creating more space for her to entertain her friends. The bean bag chair stayed. Her stuffed animals were arranged in a hammock over her bed and off the floor. Catie also created an altar space that she could look at while sitting on her bed.
After four hours the girls’ rooms were transformed. They were delighted and proud. Mom was grateful and relieved. David made an appointment for us to return and work on his room. We were impressed.
We realized these children relish order, beauty and consciousness. They were grateful for our professional and respectful approach to reorganizing and redesigning their rooms.
Are Catie, David, and Shanna unusual? Or are there a lot of kids who would like to learn how to create order and beauty in their space? There is only one way to find out. Ask them. Ask the kids and be ready to support them.
Julia Gunnels, of Asheville, is the owner of Simply Change, a professional organizing service. Robert Uherka is her business partner. For services, portfolio and other information, visit simplychangenow.net, call 230-2802 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.