I opened my front door and there stood Marie Kondo, decluttering Guru and author of two best sellers, The Life Changing a Magic of Tidying and Spark Joy. I was honoured that she had come my house as she was about to carry out some sort of quasi inspection/assessment of me and my home. She was going to see if I was the sort of person that could work with her so she would be checking out my levels of organisation, tidiness and volumes of clutter. Excitedly I invited her in. I was ready, I had been getting my life and home in order for the last 18 months and was secretly optimistic that she would like what she saw.
To my horror as she stepped into the sitting room, piles and piles of clutter greeted our eyes, KonMarie looked on silently, we moved to another room, but it was full of furniture that didn't even belong to me. I remembered agreeing to look after a sofa for a friend who had been away travelling, but how had the room got into such a state and where had all the other clutter come from? This was not going well and I started to feel a bit panicy. She picked up a few items, looked at them and placed them down again. With a sinking feeling in my tummy, I hurried her upstairs to where I knew it was going to be tidy, spacious and only filled with the items I loved, surely now she would see what a brilliant organiser I was? But no, the room was stacked high with beds! It was so stuffed that it was impossible to get into the he room let alone get into a bed! What was going on? Feeling a little bit sick and with a red face I turned to Kondo to try and apologise for wasting her time. She looked a bit different somehow, not like the images and videos I had seen of her online, and I couldn't work out how my house and her face could have changed so much from reality. But then people and things always do look different in dreams don't they?
I woke up feeling terrific relief, but what had caused the dream? Was it guilt? For the last year or so, I'd been systematically streamlining our possessions, however when my mother offered me a saucepan that she was throwing away, I had accepted it because we didn't have one of that size and thought it would come in handy. I later realised that we didn't in fact need it and turned down the offer, was the dream somehow reminding me to sick to my decluttering guns. It seemed a little harsh of my subconscious to punish me quite so severely for a minor slip - especially as I had later said no to the pan.
You'd think that it might be a normal sort of dream for a professional declutterer, after all, earlier in the week I'd been working with a family who were swamped with outgrown children's clothes and couldn't use any of the storage areas in the children's rooms effectively. We worked systematically and bagged up a car boot full for the charity shop, tidying as we went and organising the remaining clothes in the wardrobe and chest of drawers. The transformation within a few hours was incredible. The house had started to breath again and was workable for its owners. Could the dream possibly just be about work? Somehow I thought not? It was far more personal. It was about my feelings and how my work stood up to to scrutiny, and who more influential in the professional decluttering and organising world that Marie Kondo herself to come and judge me by my own standards? And then I got it...
The dream had happened the night after I had launched my new website AND been listed as a paid up member of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO). Now I was very very visible to the entire world! There was nowhere to hide, this was it. It wouldn't just be the Marie Kondo's of the organising world who could see me, but anyone with an internet connection and an interest in tidying up. I hadn't stopped to think about that when I pressed the 'publish' button and my brand Fresh Spaces went 'out there', but my subconscious stopped me. After all running your own business when you, the person, is also the actual service on offer, is a big thing. It's more than a brand it's personal and whilst that means that people are buying you. It can also give you that feeling of vulnerability at times.
Although I didn't stand up to the scrutiny of KonMarie, it was a good dream. It allowed me to acknowledge the big steps I'd taken and it reminded me that sometimes a client can also feel that level of vulnerability when we first start working together. It reminded me how some people are anxious about whether they will be judged or embarrassed about the state of their home. And how it's my job to gently guide them, work at their pace, listen and above all be non judgmental, after all we all have our sensitivities, even professional organisers.