Get a Second Opinion

Storage and organization works best when you aren’t emotionally attached the items you’re working with.

For three days my husband and I stared at backsplash samples trying to pick which one we liked best because none of them were truly jumping out at us. Two minutes after a friend walks in and says “they are all horrible. Don’t use any of them,” we agreed and tossed the samples in the car to return them. Why couldn’t we just take a stand and declare that? Well, I think because we were too emotionally attached. I preferred the two I picked out and the hubby preferred the two he picked out. Stubborn pride I suppose kept us from choosing because we didn’t want to admit we were wrong. The same thing happened when I walked into that same friend’s house when she was trying to pick paint colors. She had stared at six colors of paint for three days and couldn’t pick one.  I walked in, pointed out my favorites, and she went with those. Again, she was too close and too partial to the colors to make an objective choice. This same idea of not being objective can easily be applied to organization and storage practices. Whenever you are taking on a new project, it is a good idea to bounce your ideas off of another person or enlist their help throughout the whole process.

Remember that TLC show Trading Spaces? That show is pretty much a perfect example of the point I’m trying to drive home. These home owners switched houses because they were too close to the situation to make any drastic changes that were ultimately beneficial (well, depending on the designer…remember the cardboard room? Yikes!).  You should invite a friend over to help you with your project. Let’s take something simple like organizing your closet. You see three orange sweaters with varying times where it is appropriate to wear them AND you see the sentimental attachment of each piece. Your friend might see the knit balls, the holes, the fact that it is too small, or the obvious repetition and urge you to pitch two of them. Take a second and absorb the blow, accept that he/she is right and pitch two of them. It is much easier to see something objectively when you have an honest friend present you with FACTS about items instead of just emotions.

Also, a friend can help you see potential in something that you have never seen before. I’m passionate about repurposing and try to encourage my friends to do the same. For example, my friend had this great, vintage bookcase hidden in a closet using it to hold her non-seasonal shoes (appropriate repurposing) but I told her she should kick it up a notch! With a little elbow grease, that vintage book case would be perfect for displaying her collection of drinking vessels she’s collected from all over the world. It would also look great in their master bathroom with a few baskets on it to store extra towels, soaps, and things. To her, it was an eye sore passed on from a random aunt, but to me it was a diamond in the rough.

Lastly, a friend can help you get a job done faster because they won’t let you sit and reminisce about everything you find like you might do on your own. My lovely sister-in-law is a master of organization and living in a clean space. She can cut through clutter like it is nobody’s business. She visited my old dorm was thumbing through my desk drawers judging all the junk I had hoarded away. As I was complaining about not having enough space, she was pitching things into the trash that I desperately trying to save and reassuring me that all this junk was not needed. I tried to defend my needing the notes from my pass/fail Art History class that were 90% doodles as she tossed them away telling me I’d never miss them. This process of her throwing things away and me trying to tell stories that justified me keeping them went on for about 30 minutes. In the end, I had a stunningly organized desk. I didn’t even get to see most of what she threw away because she made me hide in the other room while she cleaned it. She was right. I never did miss anything that she got rid of that day.

So go out and find somebody you trust to help you out. The person probably shouldn’t live with you because they might be too emotionally attached as well. Let go of your instincts to control the situation and really consider all of their opinions. You don’t need to be willing as me to let people help you, but at least give it a shot!

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