Written by Jeni Aron, Professional Organizer & Founder of Clutter Cow Girl, the professional organizing service.
Change. Is. Hard. We all know it. Change is a scary but inevitable part of life. But understanding that concept is one thing, while actually going through it personally is a whole other thing.
As a professional organizer, I’ve been helping people push themselves past their fears for over fifteen years. I can cheer lead and coach my clients past the finish line and high-five them until my palm aches. But I’m also a Virgo. I’m an anchored-to-the-rock barnacle, and I hate change. In theory, it’s awesome. But in practice, it’s a bitch to negotiate. This past fall, my live-in relationship ended and then a month later, I found out that the apartment building I’d been living in for the past 8 years was being sold. I knew I wasn’t going to grow granny-old in that one-bedroom rental, but I didn’t think I’d be kicked out with the threat of a $700/per month rent increase so soon after a significant break-up. Alas, when change comes a-knockin’ on your door, you have to deal with it.
Change really does a number on us. When we’re in control of the change, when we’ve had the time to plan and prepare, change is like a beautiful goddamn butterfly. But when it feels like someone or something (or everyone or everything) is cursing us with curve balls, it can be overwhelming and downright terrible. It can make us feel very much out of control.
But I’m here to show you how to get in front of change! How you can grab it by the collar and take charge of it before it steamrolls you. Being prepared for that inevitable change is the best way to feel empowered and accepting of whatever life throws at you. Trust me, there are effective ways for you to create peace and order even when you might feel wildly out of sorts.
Here’s what to do when change comes knocking (or even pounding) on your front door:
Step 1: Assemble your support team
- Solid family members who know and support you (not that toxic cousin who’s always critiquing your life choices).
- Professionals: Therapists, professional organizers, life coaches, trainers, babysitters--Hell, anyone who will take your money and give you good solid help in return.
- Friends: Those trusted, stalwart sisters and brothers who have been to the depths of darkness with you and you with them. They are your army. Hold onto them and don’t be afraid to lean on them in moments of need.
Step 2: Make a list of action steps
Ask yourself: What concrete actions can I take right now in lieu of the highly unproductive act of worrying?
- If you’re moving: Get your budget straight in your head and on paper, then call a realtor to start seeing potential new homes. That initial step of physically edging closer to a solution will help calm your brain and make you feel like you’re the one driving the bus.
- If you’re divorcing: Reach out to friends to find a lawyer (or better yet, use the It’s Over Easy website) to figure out next steps.
- Once you’re ready to date again after a while in hibernation: Peruse some online dating sites and apps to see which ones fit your personality and lifestyle best. Enlist one of your team members to help craft a great profile. Have fun with it!
Step 3: Start your new chapter on the right foot
Go ahead and do whatever it is that will make you feel recharged, positive, and centered.
- Indulge in self-care comforts that you normally wouldn’t: Treat yourself to the spa pedicure you always resist. Find a Groupon deal and enjoy a much-needed massage. The world is your oyster.
- Move your body: Enroll in that dance class you’ve been eyeing. Finally say “yes” and join your friend at Pilates. Sign up for a 5K run.
- Remember an activity that brings you joy and reconnect with it: Photography? Journaling? Crafting? Painting? Cooking? You don’t have to spend tons of money to make dinner for a friend, or photograph your kids, or pick up a notebook to jot down a silly story!
What I’ve learned during my own seasons of change, is that when I flip my mindset from victim of circumstance to writer of my next adventure, the whole story becomes a lot more manageable. One chapter at a time, step by step. We can do it.
Jeni Aron is a NYC-based professional organizer helping clients reclaim their space since 2003. You can find her at www.cluttercowgirl.com and on Instagram @cluttercowgirl.