Today, Peter Walsh and his team introduce us to Laurie and Tim Kelly and their kids. Laurie has been clearly struggling with clutter for a few years….and Tim choose early on he loved his wife more than he hated the clutter. But after today…with a little of Peter’s magic organization fairy dust….I think that Laurie and Tim may be some healing on the way…and some things to sort out.
Just like so many people trying to gain control over their stuff, Laurie confides, “I try and try but I don’t see any major gains….all you do it look around and see this overwhelming to-do list and you don’t see any progress…and you feel like you can never do this.” This is a sentiment that is echoed everywhere….men and women alike. The desire is there….but the reality of success always seems like something different. It’s overwhelming.
So, insert Peter Walsh. During his clutter evaluation he moves from the family room…home office…kid’s play room…looking at clothing with tags that have been there for 6 years…a burred computer that has not used for over a year… and he see a theme emerging – the “I will get to that later….we might need that later” theme.
Now…he moves onto the master bedroom and tells Laurie and Tim, “You are living somewhere in the future and this is what it has created.” The house is cluttered…and it is tearing them apart and really, it’s ruining the family and the life that they could have together. SIGH. Wow…clutter can do all of that….and it is doing all of that…to this family and to many others who have the same problem.
So the process begins:
- Sorting into the Vision vs. the Out-the-Door pile
Day 1 starts with the master bedroom. Laurie echoes a sentiment that is honest…and emotional…and probably not far off from many people struggling with too much stuff. There is a tremendous feeling of guilt and shame…”I am ashamed,” she says. But during the process, there is no time for feeling ashamed….there is too much to do! Let’s just do it….we all know that you will feel so much better once you are on the other side of the process.
Like many I know…Laurie has a vision of scrap booking. “Oh, I need to keep that. I’m going to make a scrapbook.” Peter reminds her that this is keeping her “off in the future.” So, it’s time to set some limits. Keep one box of scrapbooking items and that’s it. When the box is full, that’s it. This in itself might get you to actually DO the scrapbook…then the box would be empty and you can start refilling it again. Perfect.
As we move on, we realize with Peter’s help that over time, Laurie has embraced stuff and her husband has embraced silence. It’s like marriage counseling though organization happening with Peter in the front yard. Laurie and Tim have stopped talking to each other… Peter sits Laurie down….and makes Tim step up and take on the responsibility of sorting through the items. Peter says, “You (Laurie) have to let him be human and you are not perfect. YOU ARE WORTHY OF BEING HELPED.” She has the need to control…and really….in a relationship – any kind – you have to sometimes sit back and let others help you. For some of us, especially those of us that are extreme care givers….this can be tough. But, there is more than getting rid of clutter that is happening here…
Day 2 starts with decluttering the family room. With the kids having a stake in this room, Peter starts it off with that side of the family. He has the kids – and they are small and pre-K ages – go through their toys and sort out the ones that they love. Progress is made much faster in the land of little people. For kids, by establishing zones of where things go and limits of how much can be kept will help in the management of stuff. This is a great lesson to start early with kids.
“Without a vision for the space, you can’t get anywhere. Mood…feeling…attitude you want people to have when they walk into the room,” Peter reminds the couple and us, the viewers. “That is the goal that you work towards,” and I suspect the goal that keeps you going. Remember….you are only keeping the items that will help you create that vision. That is definitely post-it note worthy.
For day 2, Peter leaves them on their own so that they can become committed to the process. This is always when it falls down for people…. “Don’t shut down. Don’t retreat.
Don’t’ be defensive,” are the things we have to remember during this time. This is the hard part…doing it alone…but this is the place where the learning and understanding seems to start sinking in. So, along comes a lesson for this week’s couple; a set of clown pictures from Tim’s grandmother. She painted them. Tim wants to keep them. “They are important to me,” he openly tells Laurie. Laurie is clearly not seeing the paintings in her vision. “We can put them in our son’s room.” This also, was not part of her vision. Here is a viewer tip: REFRAME THEM and make them fit into our vision. When you are faced with a picture or an item that has great sentimental attachment….it does not mean that you cannot display or present it in a different way….to bring it from the 1930’s up to today…or to honor the sentimental value but keep the vision that you have for your life and your home.
Finally…as the clutter goes away there is a freeing emotion that the family feels of getting rid of the items and they find that the love and commitment for each other….the memories were literally buried under all of the clutter. Now, the memory of their honeymoon hangs on the wall…right in front of them…to remind them of what is important…and why.
Lesson’s from Peter Walsh and the show
- “If you want to be perfect – good luck. It’s never going to happen.”
- It not about the quantity of your stuff that you are dealing with, it’s about the quality of your life.
- “A clean, organized and orderly home can lead to a stronger, better and higher quality relationship.”
- Peter suggests the night before a birthday or the night before a holiday – have the kids go thru their toys and get rid of 2 toys to be donated – you start teaching your kids limits and also, to be giving.