What it's really like to be married to a professional organizer

It’s been a little hectic around here lately.  Since our return from our yearly family vacation in Mexico my brain has not wanted to switch back into writing mode.  To give myself a little jumpstart (and tbh to outsource an item on my very full plate!) I asked my husband to do a guest post on what an absolute joy it must be to live with me!

So read on as Ben makes his writing debut on my blog and gives a little insight into how a marriage between organization and disorganization works (and I swear I only edited it for grammar and spelling!)

Allison and I met during my second year at University of Toronto. I was 19 and at the absolute height of man-cave, could-not-care-less-about-my-appearance (or-my-surroundings) pre-adulthood. Her new roommate was a friend of mine, so she came over to meet me and my other (equally-grimy) roommates. I had not shaved in a week and we literally had Maxim pictures taped to the wall as decoration. The kitchen was piled high with dirty dishes and I used an unzipped sleeping bag as a comforter. What I’m trying to say is that I was an obvious catch. 

Jokes aside if you have followed my wife’s writing at all you would know this does not sound like the beginning of a life-long love story. Yet something drew us to each other and ever since we’ve had a push and pull between her organized ways and my well-meaning but less than stellar abilities in that area. Twelve years and three kids later I continue to do my best to think like she does, but it can be a struggle. 

This is why I think the job of a Professional Organizer is so important. She has been able to implement processes in our house that I can actually follow and that have improved both the organization of our household and our ability to interact as a couple. 

That said, in this post I wanted to talk a little bit about how the DISorganized mind can benefit from this mindset and how her suggestions help clarify things for me even when I don’t get it 100 percent right. 

One of the reasons Allison started her business stemmed from a common argument we were having a few years ago. I don't remember the specific issue but it is not really relevant. I suspect it was because I had taken something (like the salad spinner) out and didn’t put it back in the right place. For my disorganized mind, I just didn’t remember where I had taken it from and found some spot where it seemed to fit. Her organized mind couldn’t understand how I had forgotten where something went that I had just used a few minutes earlier (fair!). In the course of the dispute I said something to the effect of “You have to understand not everyone’s mind works this way.” This is true. I don’t walk into a room and see the things that are out of place. If it is actively MESSY I will notice this but if a pan is not with the other pans it won’t bother me. The thing is, I’ve learned that my life is easier when everything IS in place (wink,wink). 

This is where my wife’s strategies have been incredibly effective. To use just one example of many; for years our tupperware drawer was a disaster. Mostly because I’m the one who usually cleans up after supper and I wouldn’t take care to “put like with like”. Allison took some time to set up the lids in a dish rack and put round, square and rectangular containers together. This made sense to me and was easy to follow. Now when I clean up from supper I don’t waste ten minutes trying to find the right lid for the container I need.

Slowly but surely I was able to see things that could be organized better. Even if I don’t know the best strategy I can make a suggestion and set her loose (one of the side-benefits of being married to a Professional Organizer is free organization. I pay her back by folding laundry and taking the kids to daycare).

I would by no means be able to move into the industry myself. My mind still doesn't (and probably will never) fully work this way. But the benefits are real even for those who didn’t think it is important or thought they would never be able to maintain it. Allison has labelled so many bins and shelves in our house and I find it a relief, because I would genuinely stress if I didn’t know where something went. Now I know if I screw it up, it is clearly on me.

I bring other things to the table in our relationship and as with all things my conversion to organization is a work-in-progress. However the strategies she has written about and implemented in our household have had a real tangible benefit in our relationship and life in general.

Do you have an organizing question that you want a Professional Organizer to help you with? Email Allison at allisontheorganizer@gmail.com. We may feature your question in an upcoming post! As a Professional Organizer and owner of Everything In Place, Allison Weigensberg has a passion for a minimalistic approach to organization and decluttering. She loves to share the tips and tricks she has implemented in her own life, with her clients and Suburban readers.