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No Peace from Too Many Pieces


Every now and then I like to satisfy my readers’ appetites with a good before and after story. This one even includes pictures.

Last weekend I trekked up to Norwalk, CT for a garage makeover. Arriving at Don’s house I immediately headed into the two-car garage, the space Don had been avoiding since he moved in five years before. While his house is meticulous and beautifully decorated, the garage is another story. Overwhelmed by the piles, he had learned to turn a blind eye.

For many, this process is overwhelming. Where to begin? What to toss? What to keep? And then where to store the stuff you keep? Avoidance can go on for years. This is where a professional organizer comes in. Someone not emotionally attached to the stuff who can see the end result and get you

there. When people finally realize they have to take action, some attempt it themselves. Some call for help.

Which is why I was there on that chilly, but sunny day.


Knowing his garage was scheduled for a makeover, Don ordered a dumpster. First thing I did was open both garage doors. Breathing crisp air adds a little pep, much better than coffee. Then I asked Don what his goal was for the project.

“To park my car in the garage,” he said.

“Piece of cake,” I told him. He half-smiled, not quite believing it could be done.


I surveyed his garage, the stacks of stuff, the random shelf unit. It wasn’t that bad, at least from an organizer’s perspective. Then Mark, my helper for the day, and I began peeling off the top layer from the piles and placing the items – glass figurines, wooden chairs, books – on a clear patch of space for Don to inspect. “Keep. Toss. Keep. Toss. Toss. Toss.” Having waited years to do this, Don was ready.


While Don decided what to keep and what to toss, I charted my course. Like a jigsaw puzzle, I studied the “keep” pieces and pictured where they should ultimately be placed.

After two and a half hours, the puzzle was done, the dumpster was full and Don was thrilled. (Well, stunned and thrilled.) It’s not easy to let go of stuff that represents a part of your past, that you held onto thinking you might use/need/wear one day. But when all is said and done, when you walk into your garage and see your car and the stuff you love, organized into logical placement, oh the peace and sense of serenity it can bring.

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