Clear the Clutter with Carrie’s Essential Services
Make a New Year’s resolution to enjoy the serenity of decluttering and organizing your home or business.
Many of us make a New Year’s resolution to get organized and get rid of unwanted stuff. But in the midst of our busy lives, we don’t know how, where, or when to begin, and the project stalls. Instead of actually organizing and decluttering, we stress about it not doing it. Meanwhile, the clutter keeps coming… It’s a crazy-making cycle, but how do you get unstuck? For one Main Line parent, the answer was Carrie’s Essential Services.
Ready for Help
Eileen L. is a full-time teacher and parent of two growing boys who had reached a point last year where she felt completely disorganized at home. After work each day, she immediately shifted into mom-mode, managing the kids and figuring out schedules. “Who has tutoring, who has soccer? Eat something, get out the door,” she explains. Stuff ended up in piles around the house and she never found time to put things in their proper place. “I was at a point where I felt totally overwhelmed,” she says.
At age 40, Eileen decided it was high time to get a system for managing her household. She hadn’t ever considered hiring a professional organizer until her cousin referred her to Carrie Kauffman, owner of Carrie’s Essential Services. But once she spoke to Carrie on the phone, she said, “I knew I was ready for help and wanted to work with her.” So she booked her first session.
When Carrie arrived on that first summer day, Eileen thought maybe they would just work on the living room, so she could have one room in the house that was clean for company. But six hours later, Eileen was astonished and thrilled at what she accomplished with Carrie’s help. They started in the basement, clearing space for storage and finished in the spare room/kids’ playroom on the third floor. In that one session, her house underwent a transformation.
“I was surprised, because she was so fast, asking questions like ‘What is this? Why do you have a broken baby seat?’” says Eileen. “It was so easy to get rid of so much of the stuff down there. We made piles: donate, trash, decide later, and keep. The ‘keep’ stuff went right back on the shelf. Then we went to the third floor and started right away to make progress clearing the clutter.”
Even her husband was amazed. He had been apprehensive at first about hiring a professional organizer, but she says, “when he came home that first day and saw the third floor and basement he was like, ‘Oh. My. God.’ It looked so good.”
After that first session, Eileen wanted to keep the momentum going because it was so rewarding. She booked Carrie whenever she had time over the course of about two weeks and they got the whole house under control. “I felt like I could breathe again,” she says. “It’s been life changing!”
Carrie Kauffman, owner of Carrie’s Essential Services says that one of the most common responses she hears from clients is “I wish I would have done this sooner.”
But many of her clients admit that they were afraid of being judged. She says embarrassment and fear of judgment are frequently why people hesitate to seek help decluttering their home or business, or to help their parents downsize.
Carrie is quick to reassure her clients that “clutter doesn’t discriminate.” After 10 years of working as a professional organizer with hundreds of people, she knows that clutter happens in homes and businesses of all sizes, and to people in all stages of life.
“Clutter isn’t something to get embarrassed about,” she says. “It happens to everybody. But you can change it. I want people to understand that I’m not here to pass judgment — I’m just here to help!”
In fact, Carrie is passionate about the work she does with clients. She chose this career as a professional organizer because she has talent for it. What’s more, she can envision the potential of a given space, even if it’s filled with piles of stuff.
“I just love the work!” she says. ”I look at a project and I get giddy, because I can see through the clutter and see what the space is going to look like.”
Clearing Space and Letting Go
In her work, Carrie has learned that there is a lot of emotional baggage and guilt attached to objects that we keep. People’s homes or workspaces often become disordered because of a breakdown somewhere in their life. Part of her process is asking her clients the right questions about things and getting to the bottom of it.
“There is a lot of guilt about the things we keep, like maybe your mother told you to keep it or you feel like you have to keep everything your children ever made. It’s emotional,” says Carrie. “And it’s a lot of stress to carry around. I give my clients permission to let things go; to tell them it’s okay to let go of the object — and the guilt.”
In working with Eileen, Carrie helped her sort out the broken stuff and things at the end of their useful life, and gave her permission to throw it out. But whenever possible they donated the items that she no longer needed or wanted. Eileen estimates that she donated 12 bags to Green Drop, plus she was able to give a large stash of unneeded teaching supplies to a local teacher.
Eileen says she looked forward to her sessions with Carrie. “You’re talking and doing stuff, like you’re hanging out with your best friend.” When they completed the project, Eileen says she felt “at peace, like a huge weight was lifted.”
Says Carrie, “Sometimes we simply need the right person by our side, asking the right questions.”
Carrie’s Essential Services specializes in general organizing for home and business, as well as real estate services, including decluttering homes before they hit the market, moving, packing and unpacking.
This sponsored story for the Main Line Parent Community was written by Beth Gilbert-Crowell.
Photography supplied by Carries’s Essential Services.