21 June 2008

Many of my clients have a difficult time making decisions. That’s not too surprising, since most of my clients are dealing with clutter issues and clutter is all about delayed decisions.

Sometimes they agonize over what seems like a clear choice to me. I think it boils down to confidence in their ability to make the right choice, as well as an understanding that the consequences (most often) aren’t dire. If they had more confidence about decision making and better perspective on the importance of the decision, they’d be more decisive.

I got a first-hand taste of this on my expedition to IKEA, the European home-furnishings store which has a plethora of attractive, low-cost, assemble-yourself furniture. Unfortunately, we don’t have an IKEA in St. Louis. The closest one is in Chicago (where they have two!). So I got up early and drove nearly five hours to IKEA. I knew one piece of furniture I wanted (actually, two of the same cubby bookshelf, Expedit) but I still had a storage problem I hadn’t solved. I was hoping for inspiration while shopping.

If only I could have taken someone along. My confidence in my home-decor decisions can falter. As I walked through IKEA—and if you’ve ever been there, you know it’s a giant maze you’re forced to walk through so you see everything on display—I experienced sensory overload. There were so many options and I had to keep my eye open for the right storage solution for my second home office. I found it agonizing.

I finally reached the home-office area and thought I’d found what I needed. Phew. But my stress levels spiked as I realized there were at least dozen more choices I had to make just for this storage solution. It didn’t help that there was a screaming child in the same area. And loud music over the PA system. I could feel my heart pounding in my ears as I made choices about what components I wanted, what finish, what legs, what drawer pulls…it made me want to tear my hair out.

Here’s what I ended up with. It’s the Effektiv unit. I had room for only a single unit…mine basically looks like the unit on the left, except with two file drawers, rather than one file drawer and a pair of drawers:

Once I found Effektiv and made all those decisions—they carried the illusion of importance, because I couldn’t easily return the items if I chose poorly— I started to feel at peace.

At peace, but also exhausted and hungry. The big decisions were behind me and now I had to choose accessories. Luckily for me, my friend, Sally, was home and answering her phone on the first ring. She helped me decide what length legs I needed for my Expedit (I’m going to use it on its side, as a work surface) and affirmed some of my accessory decisions.

When I got to the very end of my shopping ordeal (by this time I felt like I was in the fourth circle of hell) I found IKEA was out of the very last item on my list, the frosted glass doors for the cabinet I was purchasing.

Suddenly I was faced with another set of decisions. Do I get the cabinet doors with the etched floral design or wood doors instead of glass? Or I do I get the shiny beige doors? Do I drive to the other Chicago IKEA to get the doors I prefer? Or do I order them and have them shipped? I don’t know what I would have done without Sally. Thanks to her wise counsel and willingness to call the online store (mysteriously, the IKEA staff couldn’t tell me what it would cost to ship the doors), I came to the sensible decision to head home and purchase the doors online and have them shipped.

I made many, many decisions yesterday, which is what my clients have to do whenever we have a decluttering session. (I sure hope our decluttering sessions are less stressful than a trip to IKEA!) I always give my clients props for all the effort behind those decisions. But after yesterday, my admire them even more.

Once I get my office set up, I’ll post about it. Can’t wait to show off the furniture!

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About Janine

Janine Adams

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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