Lily’s Organizing Journey
Lily, not her real name, is an 80 something retired administrative professional. She is widowed and lives alone in a 2-bedroom apartment in a senior apartment complex. In addition, she has a large offsite storage unit. She has friends she socializes with outside her home and is very active in her church.
She called me when her home had reached a point of complete disorder. Lily is chronically disorganized. This, combined with having to pack up her entire apartment to get new carpet and paint, had made her home not only disorganized, but also unsafe. Most of the boxes from the redecorating were not unpacked after 3 years.
Lily has trouble letting go of paper and clips articles from newspapers and magazines. Because her filing system was inconvenient, and currently inaccessible, she had piles of paper everywhere, including the floor. Lily had recently had a knee replacement making this situation a fall waiting to happen. Since her surgery Lily is more comfortable sleeping in her recliner in the living room than in her bed. Consequently, the bedroom became a storage room. The 2nd bedroom, which was intended to be an office, was inaccessible. The room was stacked so full it was impossible to see the furniture.
After several months the living room, kitchen and bathroom were clear enough that the remaining clutter could be temporarily moved to the other rooms. In December, Lily had visitors come and spend an afternoon in her newly organized and decorated living room.
Lily’s old filing system was too complicated, so things didn’t get filed. We decided to set up the FreedomFiler® system and began working on the boxes of papers. Converting Lily to a new system after 45 years as a secretary proved to be a long process. However, once she caught on to the system, she loves it and she can keep up with the filing. Lily had been routinely filing an extension on her income taxes because she couldn’t find the paperwork she needed. Of course, that only postponed the panicked search for information. After using the FreedomFiler® system Lilly filed her taxes on time for the first time in years!
With continued coaching Lily has learned how to make decisions about what to keep and what to let go. Before she would always resort to her default position of keeping everything. Regular appointments have continued, and the living room, kitchen and bathroom have remained clutter free. Work on the bedroom and office is continuing. Lily’s greatest organizing triumph was to be “panic free” when her cousin came to visit on very short notice. She was able to have him over without a lot of cleaning up and was proud to show off her apartment.