Heidi Overhaul

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IMG_0225_filteredIt’s no secret that organization is NOT my strength. I usually don’t even really try! I operate on such a last minute, and move with the moment mentality… Eric jokes with me about it and calls me “stash and trash”…because usually rather than cleaning up and putting away… I just clear off surfaces for more messes. It’s an issue. However I noticed it starting to bother me in a way that it really hadn’t in the past. I could feel the weight of the “mess” really affecting me. It was weird – even when I walked past a closet or dresser that was a big mess inside…I could feel it. It made me feel out of control and overwhelmed. I even felt a little ashamed.

HS_bathroomcloset'I I started with a couple of small projects. If you follow me on instagram (I hope you do!) you might have seen my Saturday bathroom closet make over. I dumped everything out, and purchased a few bins from ikea. I like the white ones in the kitchen section. I combined like items and did a bunch of throwing away. It was my first little victory.

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The next area that was causing me conflict was my office at work. I mean, is this embarrassing or what?? My days in the office are usually spent in and out of meetings, working on photography or filming videos. Very little of my time is actually spent in my office. I had a big black desk and chair, and that was pretty much it. Sales presentations, product samples, catalogs and printouts could be found in stacks on my desk – but the precious space was hardly used at all. Meanwhile, we found it tricky to find conference space to meet as a team as often as we needed it. I wanted my office to be practical, functional and useful!

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I enlisted Emily and we hit up Ikea about 9pm. Together we worked late into the night building new chairs and a table, hanging pictures we had used at the CHA show and purging and re-stocking my office with necessary items. I now LOVE being in the space. I can THINK and work! It’s a beautiful thing!

HS_officeafter1The next project needed a pro! I needed someone that would really HELP me!

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My pantry. I have an awesome pantry. It’s one of the things I loved most about my house… but what a mess it had become. We literally just put stuff in where there was a spot. And I have to say- both Eric and Colton have tried to arrange it, group like items.. but in a short amount of time, we were back to our old habits. Something serious needed to happen. An OVERHAUL. I did the hardest thing… I called for help.

HS_pantryLet me tell you that it’s embarrassing to invite another woman into your house and purposely open your closets and drawers and let her see what you so painstakingly hide! We talked about requirements, problems and necessities and my sweet friend Michelle (@theglitzypear) went to work. She pulled everything out. Grouped like items. Took measurements and went shopping for bins. I told her that I would like it to look nice inside. I would like it to be pretty! (but don’t worry, i kept my grody rags! LOL)

It took her almost 2 full days. When she was done there was a large pile of stuff to throw away, and a pile of stuff that doesn’t belong in the kitchen pantry. My whole family could feel how much better it was. Everything was LABELED. I have learned how CRITICAL the label part is. It’s commitment and defining. It’s helps you KEEP it that way!

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The next significant hurdle was my creative studio. I claim a small space that is somewhat of a loft area in our home over the family room for my “scrapbook room”. It was like an overgrown garden. I had piles of boxes and bins inside my closet and all around the island. I couldn’t walk through the room without moving things strategically and re-stacking to accommodate new additions and projects. I started not wanting to go inside. I started crafting down in the kitchen. I knew that it was a massive undertaking, as it needed to be purged and I needed to be practical about what could live in there and what needed to go.

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The Glitzy Pear (sometimes I just call her Glitzy) told me that before she could come, I would need to go through and remove what I didn’t want. Well, she was really nice about it. She told me that she would help me- but I had to do it myself. I am a craft hoarder. I had a death grip on stuff I hadn’t touched in 10+ years. (but I might need it!) This process was painful. I had to be quick and ruthless. I had to clean out. And then I had to HAUL it all out. Piles for donation. Stuff to sell. Garbage bags.  When Michelle came I kinda had to step aside and let her work her magic. First thing she did: remove everything from the closet. The guest bedroom became a holding tank for everything awaiting redirection.

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She started grouping like items. She took measurements and off she went shopping again. This project took a lot longer. And as any of you would know… it looks a lot worse before it gets better. More cleaning out. More asking myself if I need it, or want it or will use it.

IMG_0249_filteredThe end result is magical. It’s refreshing and clarifying. This process was definately a financial investment. Most of the bins are from The Container Store. I am amazed at how Glitzy knew what would work perfectly! IMG_0258_filtered

I also feel like the LABELING is key! So important to keep you on track! You have to have a place for everything!

HS_studio3as The closet started to take shape, The Glitzy Pear moved onto drawers in the “island”. Several years ago, I bought 2 dressers from Ikea to put back to back… and then I had a total of 16 drawers! Lots of space that wasn’t being used effectively at all!

HS_studio2in The end… a drawer totally with inks and stamps all together!  Strategically placed tools; grouped and gathered!

HS_studio9Washi tapes all together…

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A spot for all my paints, texture paste, stencils, screen ink and paint brushes!HS_studio5

The truth is, I think there is more to all of this than just my disorganization!  another layer… Grief is a lot of work. You have no way to prepare or plan for it. You just have to take it one day at a time. You have to listen to your heart, and respond with self respect, and self love. For me- all the sudden I looked around and it felt like my whole world was massive devastation. I don’t know exactly why that has been my effort at healing. Trying to clean up the mess? I do wish it was that easy. My counselor explained to me that as the “fog” of survival mode in grief starts to lift, and I look at my life, it will be through a new lens. I am different now. And if I need to spend time putting the things around me in order, so I can try to function – then that is my heart leading the way.

In October of last year, only a few months after Cory’s death. We went on a girls trip to New York, my mom, sisters and Quincy. One of our days was spent at Ground Zero. We went to the museum and saw one of the films that documented the clean up and rebuild of the area, monument and the new tower. As the movie started, I was in awe of the MESS. You remember it – the rubble. Literally the city, peoples hearts were in pieces. But they started moving out the wreckage. The process was slow and difficult; horrible.  Talented professionals combined their efforts and they did, in fact, clean it up. The city, the world started to heal. Order was restored. Memories were captured, protected. I was impacted so greatly by one message – that I wish I could remember… something like “I wished that I could fast forward time until it wouldn’t hurt so much”. That’s how I feel.

You have to look grief straight in the eye. In it, you will see your worst fears and your greatest failures. Therein lies your shame and guilt and every “what if” you could ever imagine. You can’t tackle all that at once. But you have to start somewhere. And like every massive mess… it starts with clearing it out first. Deciding what you want to keep; what you need and love. Evaluating what you have and putting it back together. Allow yourself to get help. Know that it will look much worse before it gets better. Realize that it won’t fix everything, but it will allow the healing to begin.

My most heartfelt and sincere thanks to those who have helped me, and facilitated these efforts and projects that are helping me along my difficult path.

 

 

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About the Author : Heidi Swapp

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