A Professional Organizer can help reduce stress – in more ways than you know!
30 Jan 2016
A Professional Organizer can help reduce stress – in more ways than you know!
By Kate Altieri: Professional Organizer, Organizing Boston
The Holmes and Rahe Life-Stress Inventory is a list of 43 events in life that can cause people the most stress. And as we all know, stress can lead to health and other problems if not managed well. You may not think of hiring a Professional Organizer in Boston as a health decision, but it can be! As Professional Organizers, we often help people through the life situations listed on the Stress Scale and as a result, help them reduce stress and live healthier lives.
I have found throughout my professional organizing career, I have found myself in many situations that I never thought I would be involved in as an organizer. But it stands to reason; life happens to my clients, and they find themselves in need of help in areas not always typical to organizing.
Here, I’ve put together a list of events included on the Holmes and Rahe list and how you can involve a Professional Organizer to help you through these events.
Major Holidays: Stress Value: 12
Wrapping gifts, addressing cards, decorating and organizing the guest spaces are all common things I do during the holidays. After the holidays, I help with cleaning up and putting away the decorations and new gifts received. Some of my clients take this opportunity to eliminate old toys and craft items once their children have received new things for holiday gifts.
Once guests and relatives have gone after a holiday visit, there are piles of linens to be laundered and put away neatly. Holiday serving and cook ware needs to be cleaned and stored for next year. Yes, organizers can do this too!
Vacation: Stress Value: 13
Believe it or not, vacations are on the Holmes and Rahe list. Well, maybe not the actual vacation, depending on what your vacation entails, but the planning, preparing and packing can be stressful. If you are leaving the country, you may need to consider passports, vaccinations, etc. for every member of the family. Air travel is complicated with regulations and limits. Pet care and mail collection need to be considered. If you are not a seasoned traveler, an organizer can help you plan, prepare and pack for your trip out of town.
I have a long time client who loves to travel and has no issues with planning the trip, she just hates returning home with luggage and bags to unpack. After each of her trips, I go to her home to unpack everything, put all of the travel items back in their place, sort clothing and hang it back up or fold it into drawers, place souvenirs away and put the suitcases back in their space in the basement until the next trip. This makes the whole experience pleasant, since she doesn’t have to worry about coming home to the immediate work of undoing the vacation!
Change in Eating Habits: Stress Value: 15
While dieting is a big one here, it’s not the only change in eating habits where organization can help. We have worked with families where a child has Celiac disease. Suddenly, they need to make their kitchen space gluten-free. We have organized the kitchen cabinets so that gluten free items were separate from items containing wheat substances, but using cute, new containers labeled for use to make the child feel included in the process.
I have also helped newlyweds or cohabitating couples consolidate all their kitchen gadgets and appliances. I have even helped with organizing kosher kitchens according to established guidelines. During any kitchen reorganization, organizers will look for expired items and offer suggestions for ease of use and optimal flow of the space.
Moving: Stress Value: 20
One of the most common things we do as organizers is help people move. What you may not know is that we can handle your entire move process!
Organizing Boston has provided full-service move coordination on many occasions. This can include getting quotes from, and booking movers, help with eliminating items before the move and measuring and assessing the new home for necessary items like closets, storage and furniture arrangement. We have set up the new utilities for clients, overseen moving crews in and out of the home, unpacked and organized everything from start to finish; including making beds and stocking pantries.
Some clients book their vacation, give us they keys and come home to their new home, completely set up home ready to live in! We handle pets, too! We have coordinated temporary housing for pets during the move and put pets on planes when their owners reach their new destination.
If moving involves putting items into temporary storage, an organizer can help coordinate this process including the logistics which can complicate the move. Organizers typically have resources that can help make just about anything happen in surprisingly short timeframes.
Starting School: Stress Value: 20
If your children are young and starting pre-school, they will be bringing home projects and artwork that you will likely want to keep or display. All that stuff can get overwhelming, especially if you are trying to decide what to keep and how to store it. Organizers can help you set up systems for artwork, homework and school schedules.
The stress is not limited to just young children. Packing for college can be overwhelming for the both the teenager leaving home and for the parents seeing them go. The emotions involved can make the process challenging. By creating lists and prioritizing, an organizer can help make sure that the college student has what they need and takes into account what types of clothing, bedding and comfort items they will want. I have packed cars with nervous parents and have even gone to pack up dorm rooms when kids are coming home for summer break.
Career Change: Stress Value: 36
Career changes can include anything from a new job, to a change in position. This can include working from home, combining a hobby as a business or starting a small business. I recently got a call from a client who is a teacher and an artist. She wanted help organizing her studio so that she could work and teach in the space. This involved setting up student work tables and art supplies, while keeping her personal artwork separate and creating a space for displaying her work during open studio tours.
Organizers can also help in office settings with one-on-one work with employees struggling with desk and office organization or those who have received more responsibilities and need to accommodate their work environment to make a successful transition. Often the company will bring us in to work with employees to ensure productivity and encourage success.
Pregnancy: Stress Value: 40
Moms to-be want to “nest” and prepare for the arrival of the new family member. But it’s not always easy. I had a client who contacted me when she was pregnant with twins and ordered to strict bed rest only three months into her pregnancy. She wanted to transform the home office into a nursery, but couldn’t do it herself. I helped her through the process buy filling a box with items from the office and taking it to her bedside so that she could decide what to do with it.
Following the clean out of the office space, furniture needed to be assembled and baby clothing and gear purchased and set up for the twins. My client’s 4 year old also needed to be considered in the organization for the new additions to the family. Being the only child, he had toys spread out all over the house. I needed to set up an area for pre-school aged play separate from where the infants and eventually toddlers would be.
I also recently met a client who was superstitious about having anything new in the house before the baby was born. So, the minute the baby was born, her best friend and I took a trip to Babies R’ Us to load carts with everything needed to bring the new infant home. We quickly washed clothing and bedding and set up a nursery in less than a day!
Retirement: Stress Value: 45
Retirement for some people can be a welcomed time to pursue hobbies, travel and spend time with family. I have a client who went from retirement in an executive position to running a non-profit organization from his home basement (much to the dismay of his wife)! He brought home his entire library of professional resources and documents and “set up” downstairs. We needed to include two new filing cabinets for the non-profit and set up a separate desk area for the household files and bills.
In another situation, one of my clients asked for my help at his office location to sort through files and personal items built up over years in the same office and make decisions on what to do with everything. He was anxious to end this work part of his life, but it was difficult for him to just walk away from all of it without designating items to a new “home”.
Marriage: Stress Value: 50
When getting married, many people hire a wedding coordinator or count on an event planner. When one of my clients married at a later age, she wanted to keep her finances and personal space separate once the couple joined households. Once the wedding took place, the home they chose to live in needed to be set up with separate office spaces and hobby spaces to accommodate two adults who had previous, full lives before meeting one another.
This was every bit as important to my client as the flowers and dress for her wedding. Living arrangements were to be very different for the couple and ensuring the maintenance of personal spaces would help in the harmony of the marriage. Therefore we needed to decide who would be paying for what, how the new joint files and records would be kept and where each of them would be able to set up their personal spaces without encroaching on the other.
Death of a Close Family Member: Stress Value: 63
This is one of the most difficult situations and we are often called to come in and help someone through the process. We have helped clients with everything from addressing thank you cards for condolences, to sorting through their loved one’s personal items and identifying items to gift to family and friends, or to donate. Some people will want to move through this process sooner than others, but it is helpful to have involvement from an objective party, especially when there is more than one family member involved in the estate.
Divorce: Stress Value: 73
Divorce is an unfortunate circumstance where clients find that they have to relocate to temporary living situations, gather paperwork for attorneys and file lengthy financial disclosures. An organizer can help arrange for, and set up rental units or other housing options, secure storage options for personal items that will leave the shared home and organize financial documents in preparation for court dates.
These are just some of life’s stressors that a Professional Organizer can help with. If you find yourself feeling stressed, give us a call. We can help!