I’ve been a professional organizer since 2007. I am blessed. I own a business that enables me to do what I love. So, when the pandemic hit, I wasn’t sure what the future held for Sane Jane. I’m still not entirely sure what Sane Jane will look like even a year from now. Maybe by this time next year we will all have been vaccinated and the dreaded Coronavirus will begin fading into memory. Or, maybe not. No one knows for sure.
One thing I do know, though, is that I can’t continue to sit on the sidelines waiting patiently for things to go back to normal. I did that for four or five months. I found ways to distract myself. I cooked. I baked. I took long walks. With unspeakable sadness, I said goodbye to my beautiful dog Cody. It took me a month or two to regain myself after that. And then one day I just knew it was time for me to figure out how to get back to work.
I was in a bind, though. I run a house with a wonderful husband and two incredible college age kids. I also take care of my in-laws. So even if I felt safe enough masking (and gloving) up and going into other people’s homes, it simply wasn’t the right thing to do. What if I transmitted the virus to my husband’s parents? That was simply unthinkable – a risk I was unwilling to take. And my Sane Jane team members weren’t willing to take it either.
I knew what I needed to do: Virtual organizing. That’s where instead of working with clients in person, we work together via Facetime or Skype. Virtual organizing has been around for a while but now it’s really becoming a major thing – for all the reasons you would expect. Yet something about it bothered me. Or didn’t appeal to me. Maybe it was because I have always enjoyed connecting with clients in person. It’s not uncommon for my organizing clients to become my friends. Or maybe (yikes) I’m just stuck in my ways. Whatever it was, I thought about virtual organizing for weeks before I finally took the leap and booked my first virtual organizing appointment. And I’m happy to say that I absolutely loved it.
Maybe it was that I’d been idle for a few months. Maybe it was the excitement of trying something new. Maybe it was just knowing that even at my age, I can change, adapt and evolve. Maybe I just loved my first virtual organizing client. Any of those things would have made me happy. Together, they culminated in an experience that was nothing less than transformative.
We are living through a painful, difficult time. We’ve lost people, businesses and jobs. Many have lost health care and are at risk of losing their homes. In a way, we have also lost each other. The simple pleasure of grabbing someone you love and giving them a hug. Closeness is so vital to our well-being. Yet I don’t hear much discussion about this aspect of the pandemic.
What was transformative about my first virtual organizing project is that it really helped me see how much I missed connecting with other people. And it also showed me that even though face- to-face interaction is still the best, it is possible to form a genuine connection through a screen. This felt like a breakthrough for me. I’ve done hundreds of Zoom calls. But until my first virtual organizing project I don’t think I ever formed a new connection virtually.
Over the course of a few days, I helped my client reorganize her home office . And just as if we were working face to face, we got to know each other. We connected. And that felt really good. It scratched an itch that at some level I knew was there but somehow didn’t fully recognize.
Wherever you go, you see and hear the expression “we’re all in this together.” While very true, I think we need to go a step further and ask “So what?” For me, the so what is that we need to keep reaching out. Keep striking up conversations. Keep forming friendships. We need to keep connecting. Even though it may feel safer to remain inside (both literally and figuratively), I believe that if we do, an important part of us will die, maybe forever. In order to maintain our sanity, we need to adapt, not withdraw.
The Coronavirus sucks. We are all in it together. So, let’s do something together. Let’s pick a space in your home or office that brings you no joy. Let’s make a plan to turn it into a space that adds value to your life. A space that is intuitive, functional and inviting. And then, together, let’s organize the shit out of it.
I welcome you to call or text me at 919.880.0814 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Lynda Rothman, aka Sane Jane