Caroline came to work with me and my partner on two occasions last year. We were in a ‘funny space’ in our relationship and knew we needed to sort out the 3 storage spaces in our house but were overwhelmed with where to start and how to manage what was going to be a challenging task. As well as knowing we didn’t know where to start, we were also unsure of our joint and individual expectations. We both have different feelings about our stuff and possessions in our family home, which we share with our 2 children. And then there was dealing with our children’s stuff too…. they have their own valid issues about their stuff from when they were younger but no capacity or desire to deal with organising any of it!!
Caroline was great from the start; very clear and boundaried, with lots of warmth and friendliness thrown in. She sat us down and quickly, between the 3 of us, we drew up a plan of what we could realistically achieve in the time we had, set goals for us individually, and as a couple and off we went. We also set break times and times to check in with each other. Caroline worked with us by our side, on a practical level, and was really empowering at helping us make some tricky practical decisions! She was dynamic with her ideas, but never dogmatic.
By the end of the first day we had re-organised 2 different spaces and had also gone to the local tip and charity shop. We arranged another date for her next visit, which was going to be our loft space. It was useful to have a few weeks in between to plan. It also gave us time to talk to the kids about re-organising/culling some of their stuff from their earlier years which was jumbled in with tents, old carpets, and other endless clutter and things from both of our own pasts.
Our second session with Caroline was challenging but equally successful. It was great having met her and therefore knowing it would be easy to set up tasks. In fact, we started just before she got there but it was so good having her with us to stay focused and realistic in our aims. There were some really difficult decisions to make but at no point did we feel pressured or embarrassed by how challenging and, at times, emotional it felt. We ended up with another trip to the dump/ recycling and a list of what we had where in our enormous but beautifully organised loft.
Caroline checked in with us constantly throughout the day, and at the end. She was really, really sensitive to what, to us, were painful decisions to “let things go”. It was like having a therapy session without having to sit down and talk but ending up with a tidy, organised space at the end of it.
We have the foundations of a good working system now. It has radically changed our house and our ways of dealing with the accumulation of “stuff” that continues…