Way back in the springtime, we went to Kehillah’s annual benefit and charity auction, where we bid on a couple of items.
One was Shabbat dinner for eight with the head of school. The other was four hours of professional organization from Lisa Mark, owner of The Time Butler.
Dinner came and went, with no lasting impact on our lives (though it was tasty and the conversation was quite enjoyable).
We put off calling Lisa for a few months, but we eventually got around to making the appointment for a two-hour visit. I stalled by giving her a tour of the house, which took up most of the time, but she did “encourage” us to clear off the kitchen table — we filled up a couple of bags of paper during that exercise.
She returned a couple of weeks later, and we used up the other donated hours. On that visit, we cleared out the media shelves in the family room, uncovered the coffee table, and rediscovered the desk. We also filled up several bags of stuff (books, VHS tapes, magazines, toys, and who knows what else) which were suitable for charitable donations — and Lisa took it all away.
She’s been back twice since then, helping us deal with the shelves and desk in the kitchen, all of which are organized, clear, and usable for the first time in a long time. And again, we donated a bunch of stuff to charity (as well as filling a recycle bin!).
In between visits, I got rid of some excess hardware by putting it on craigslist (most of it sold within an hour); I’ve also started transferring old VHS tapes to DVD (though why I needed a DVD version of King Dinosaur is a matter of some debate with the rest of the members of the household).
There’s no magic to it — we’re doing all the work (well, she wields the labelmaker…) and making all the decisions. But she acts as a forcing function — when she hands us a pile to go through, it seems silly to just put it back where it was (though “later” is always a valid decision — and I’ve deferred some things by moving them to a room we haven’t reached yet).
I’m happy we won her services, and happier that I finally got around to calling and making the appointment!