Friday, July 10, 2009

I Hired A Personal Organizer And What The Freak?

I want to express how deeply grateful I am to be able to have a Personal Organizer come into my home and help me "move" back into my house. It's been an awful almost year of house upheaval and I had already lost a large portion of hope of ever being able to funcion normally again (possibly extreme but nonetheless true.) I just couldn't seem to get a grasp on the clutter, the constant housekeeping and my general duties as a momma.

So Melanie of Neat Streak came into my home last Thursday, after I dropped the kids off at the Inlaws (Grandma & Grandpa in the Red House.) We first tackled my dining room, then my kitchen and then my laundry room. She left my house 8 hours later with an Odyssey, sans the backseats, full of recycling, trash and thrift store donations. It was so motivating, a true jumpstart and feelings of hopefulness have filled me since she came. I will have her back to help me with my basement in a few months.

So what did she do?

We began in the dining room. She pulled out two garbage bags and a stack of boxes. The black trash bag was for trash, the white bag was for recycling and the boxes were for thrift store donations.We started by the doorway and worked our way around the room, this is referred to as the Mount Vernon Method. As we encountered the clutter, the mass destruction of doom, we addressed each and every item. The items that we kept went into it's individual pile on the dining room table. For instance, anything electrical (extension cords, power strips...) went into a pile. Anything that was considered memorabilia (photos, letters, awards...) went into a pile. The bags and boxes began to fill up quickly. When that room was completed we moved to the kitchen.

The kitchen had so much clutter in it and so many dishes were dirty that I had to hand wash dirty dishes while we ran a load in the dishwasher. As I washed dishes Melanie went through each of my cupboards pulling everything out and asking me lots of questions. Do I use it? How often? On and on... When the kitchen was completed my coffee cup collection went from 27 mugs to about 10. Does anyone really need 27 coffee mugs? (But there's so many cute ones out there? And what if all 27 of my cousins come to dinner and want coffee afterwards huh?? Yeah right?! 10 mugs is plenty.) Also, I have space leftover in my kitchen, it's not filled to the brim with stuff-very, very refreshing.

After the kitchen was organized we moved to the laundry room/office/storage area. We were running out of time by the time we got to this room so Melanie quickly dove in and just started doing her thing. She managed to get my storage pantries completely organized in a matter of minutes. She took this overwhelming clutter of stuff and literally flipped it into something manageable and accessible.

Hiring Melanie cost me $40 an hour and she was at my house for 8 hours. Expensive? Perhaps. But I seriously felt like it was worth it to the extent that I'm going to hire her again. She has so many great ideas that I hadn't thought about and theories that made sense. I'm actually a pretty organized person and I'm not at all a pack rat. But because of my situation with moving out of the house, essentially, and then having to move back in. And then the emotional aspects of losing the contract on the house, the pipes freezing and bursting (my bathroom is still in crumbles) and then losing the house we were in contract to buy, not to mention surviving every day life with 3 little kids-I am over my head, I needed help. Also, Melanie pretty much busted her tail doing seriously ALL the work. The only thing I really did was wash dishes and communicate to her what I wanted to dispose of. Her wisdom, experience and energy were invaluable to me on so many levels.

What the Freak?

As we were sorting through the clutter in the dining room, Melanie pulled a large roller paper away from the wall and noticed there was mouse poop on the floor behind it. I also found some poop ontop of a stack of stuff on a small table in the dining room. Melanie didn't seem to think it was mouse poop but I knew we had a mouse, I have been trying to catch him for a few weeks. If this grosses you out you probably don't want to read the rest of what I'm going to share. You see mice are somewhat normal for me. We have railroad tracks right behind our house and usually when it's cold we receive a mouse who haunts our downstairs until I catch him or murder him. I don't like it but there is not much I can do about it. I just try to get the food off the floor at night and put out traps and keep the area gated off from the babes. So anyways poop...the next night I'm telling my huz about the poop we found and how irritated I was that I couldn't see the poop because the house was so cluttered. The Huz informs me (wait for it) that he saw a rat in our kitchen floor the night before. Yes a rat. I immediately felt ill and angry. My babies, my house, a nasty ass rat that carries disease and whatever else-crawling around my house??? Fuck.

So this last 2 weeks I've been on a mission of gating off the kitchen and setting up rat traps and mouse traps and vacuuming and on, and on and on. I feel ill every day knowing we have a rat our house. I called an exterminator the other day and they came out today. Turns out the the composter that's located next to the house has been feeding the bastards. They've created tunnels all around the back perimeter of our house, including under the composter through the compost. I had that composter pulled up and shoveled into a wheel barrow within 7 minutes of him sharing this knowledge with me. Fuck. A rat nest under my house. And I've been feeding the bastards with my black gold? The bastards have been eating my black gold and chewing up my house? I feel violated. But for the price of $250 and then $72 (+tax) once a year the exterminators will come out put a bunch of mouse and rate bait boxes all in my house (out of reach of babes) and outside of my house. And then once a year they'll refill them too. Ugg.

I have this urge to catch my house on fire.


DO NOT put your composter near your house.

DO NOT let your house get so full of crap that you can't see mouse and/or rat turds.

DO hire a Personal Organize if you need to.

And DO NOT judge me for having a filthy ass rat in my house.


erin fry said...

i <3 you.

The Three 22nds said...


A rat is much worse than my carpenter ants... (of which I will talk about on my blog sometime this week)

and my husband didn't tell me either that he knew that they were there until I mentioned that I suspected...


Amanda C. said...

Awww, honey. No one's going to judge you. You've had a very stressful year! But, I think the organizer was a great idea, something I think I should invest in at some point. It's so hard to see past the clutter sometimes, especially when we have families to care for and other things that take up our time. I hope that everything you've done has taken care of the situation.

Jenni said...

I dont' judge you!

your story of organization is inspiring. i think hubs and i are going to do a staycation next month to get things organized.

Shady Lady said... compost is about 6 feet from my back deck.

There was a time I wanted to be a personal organizer. Now, somehow, I feel like I could use one. Maybe one day it'll be in the budget. Glad she was so helpful to you!!

Rachel said...

Okay. Husband saw a rat and didn't think to mention it until the next day? When YOU brought it up??? A little mouse or two, I could handle, but rats? No way! I think the exterminator and the yearly upkeep is WELL worth the price!

And I can't even begin to tell you how insane with jealousy I am over your personal organizer! I'd love to completely purge every room in my house. I have the organization skills, it's just finding the TIME... Way to go! But no before and after pics???

Momma Bear said...

no pictures sadly. i thought of that after the fact. I guess i wasn't organized enough to get it together, ironically hah!
yes a rat ahhh!!

You guys rock too btw, thanks for the encouragement and no judgement.

jenny mae. said...

i love you beth!!

mandi said...

judgment? are you kidding? i'm impressed that you sought out help! really, i am! i would just keep sitting around in all my piles wondering when i would have time to get it all straight.

and the compost situation- that's the crazy/great thing about gardening right? you learn as you go!

hang in there momma : )

Kristin said...

I would so LOVE to hire a personal organizer. How awesome- I'm glad you could do that. :)

Sorry about the rat situation. I'm sure no one is judging you. We've got an entire family of mice in our garage. And ants in the house. And snakes in the backyard (because, um, we don't often mow and it's like a jungle out there!). And at least you're composting! That's wonderful!!

Carla said...

How can someone see a rat and mention it? Eek. I would freak. We have a mouse in one of our walls. He's there every winter. Don't know where he goes when it gets warm, but I never hear him during the summer. We also had a Momma raccoon who has come back and had her babies in our old chimney for the past 3 years. Sadly, we had to knock that chimney down when we redid the roof. Don't know where Momma raccoon will go next year.

Good to know about the compost. While it annoys me to no end to have to walk back to the rear corner of our yard to my composter, now I'm thinking it's not such a bad thing.

And congrats to you for getting organized. That's just one more thing on my long list of things I might get to.

Anonymous said...

*hugs* Yay for being able to get help with the organization. It sounds like you are on your way.

I'm so sorry about the rat and all that. No judgment here. I don't think I'd be able to keep up with it all either. I just got willies though about the composter feeding them. Ours is very close to the house as well...although I haven't used it in a while. I REALLY want to get some worms. Seems easier. :)