“Thank you for your support in this course…I have always been interested in this field of work. I grew up with a grammy who was very poor growing up. She grew up in the depression and til the day she died would not eat baloney. My mother grew up in the forties and fifties and learned the same sort of behaviors from her mother. I learned a lot from both of them and started coaching in my early years. At the time I did not know I was coaching but I remember saying “grammy are you sure it is ok to eat soup from the 1960’s in the 1980’s” her response was always “yes because it was in a can and not opened it is safe to eat” (we will see in my later years when I develop something related to tin and old tomato soup). I also remember looking at my grammy’s life magazines at our cottage and asking her would she leave them to me. I remember only looking at about ten of them over and over again throughout the years but when she passed I was willed 150 of them.

My mother was similar to her mother (my grammy) a collector of all who threw little away. I left my house at 18 for college returned on October break less than two months later and my room was turned into a sewing room. I had no bedroom and the only thing I could sleep on was a couch full of cat hair (she lived on a farm) or with her on a water bed which made me sick. I went to live with my grammy for the summers. Throughout most of my teens and twenties I worked hard to talk my grammy into maybe throwing some things away. I am still waiting for knit ponchos to come back in style because she said they would and that is why she could not throw away the old sewing magazines.

When my grammy passed in 2000 it took some hired assistance a year to clean her home. I think they have my coin collection but that is a completely different issue. My mother passed away shortly after in 2004, and my sister and I had the daunting task of cleaning out her farm home, barn, and attic. I swore at that time I would not leave my home to someone else to clean out. On the last day of the 3 day yard sale it had rained and all the sewing stuff was left out. A lady came up the driveway to and asked if she could be the remaining items and we said no just take them. She loaded them into her vehicle and left. I immediately felt bad for her children or the person left cleaning out her house. The ironic part is that my mother agreed to let me help her organize her home weeks before she passed away. She told me that the reason she hadn’t done it is because she just didn’t know where to begin. Before she died she asked my sister and I to promise not to throw away any of her things. I realized how important things were to her and also realized that her things were not my things and therefore had no real significance except they were hers and I loved her. We had a 3 day yard sale, donated truck loads of stuff, and had four industrial size dumpsters at $400 a pop brought in to clean out her house.

Present day. Well here I am taking a class and the biggest lesson I have learned is that you just have to begin. Have a plan, take a breath, and BEGIN. I did not know there were so many options when it came to professional organizing. In fact, I thought that since I work in the criminal justice system I could work with individuals who either have lost or not learned how to organize their lives in a healthy manner. I thought about it for about 30 seconds and decided that I needed to get away from this field and take on other challenges.

I enjoy reading and learning and this class has taught me a lot. It is clear and basic information that does not make things to complicated but achieves extraordinary results. I love this field because it helps me everyday in my own life. It improves my current job responsibilities, helps me to assist others on a day to day basis, and gives me a lot of options when I retire in eight years. I am always rethinking about how I do day to day activities based on what I have learned. I am trying to live and incorporate the tools I have learned in your program to share with others. It is not the money that drives me (because I am independently wealthy- that is not true) it is the belief that when your life is organized your mind is organized and any obstacles that you face you can find a solution for. So what I learned from you and from this course is to just BEGIN and success will follow.”

Jill Ingraham

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