It’s a truism that the only constant in life is change. Many of us at Saint Louis Closet Co. are watching children go off to college, and helping elderly loved ones downsize and move into senior living centers. It’s not easy, but then again, no transition is easy.
As we design organizational systems for our clients, we hear stories of transition again and again. In this article, we’d like to give you advice on how to cope with transition, plus a few practical tips for altering your space so that it changes with you.
Even Positive Change Can Cause Stress
Big changes like marriage, a new job, having children, sending them to college – they all have an impact, even if they’re largely positive. It’s natural to feel anxious about a life-changing transition, as if your life were suddenly unmanageable. According to renowned psychiatrists, even change that makes you happy can trigger stress responses in the brain. When a situation, such as watching an elderly parent cope with the loss of a home, is fraught with emotional challenges, the stress can be even worse.
So, how can you stay balanced as your world changes around you?
(1) Get Organized and Make a Plan
It’s probably not surprising that this is our first word of advice. However, it’s advice that even therapists and counselors recommend when you’re working through a major life shift. Why? Setting goals and organizing your surroundings helps you ease that feeling of uncertainty that accompanies any huge life transition. While it’s tempting to say, “well, I’ll just deal with this or that as it happens,” it’s actually far better to write down your intentions, and plan a strategy for dealing with sudden upsets.
This goes for organizing your space too. Has your child started kindergarten, moved out temporarily for college, or moved out for good, leaving you with rooms that can be repurposed for lockers or extra storage? Do you need to downsize following a job loss? Are you helping an elderly relative move? Start considering how you’ll manage this and still make your home functional, well-organized, and welcoming. The more you can prepare and ease stress ahead of time, the easier the transition will be and the happier you’ll feel with the results.
(2) Take Breaks and Allow Yourself to Process
We don’t recommend that you tackle a big move or major reorganizing project in one day. As you sort belongings, and cope with the random emotions that can come out of nowhere, be sure to schedule in some time for yourself. Take a walk, call a friend, and rest when you need to. Self-care is important as you manage a major transition.
In addition, acknowledge the feelings of loss that can accompany any stressful event. It’s okay to cry a little as you sort through momentos and reflect on how suddenly life changes. Allowing yourself to “feel your feelings” helps you come out stronger on the other side.
(3) Use Your Imagination and Look on the Bright Side
If you can improve your mindset and consciously try to identify the positive aspects of a big change, you’ll be surprised at what you discover. A job loss can open the way to a better future – maybe a new career of working from home. A child who has moved away can give you more freedom to transform your home. A downsize can force you to consider the items that are truly important to you and purge the rest.
Plus, it’s always fun to create a new space that will make life more organized, isn’t it? Take a look at how this client repurposed a back porch into a home office!
Organization Made Simple Makes for a Mind at Peace
Let’s focus on that space that suddenly needs a makeover. Maybe your kid’s closet needs to be reorganized for a busy high schooler. Or maybe you need to transform a former home office into a space for Mom. There are several things you can do to revisualize a space.
- We recommend clearing out the space first and taking a clear inventory of what you have. Decluttering and downsizing will take time and consideration.
- Separate the must-keeps and the items you’ll be donating or discarding. Go through all the boxes and be ruthless about what you need and what you don’t.
- Next, plan out how you’ll store things in this new space. It may help to divide your items according to their function – separate workout gear from tech supplies, for example – and store them in a way that makes sense.
Is there extra space in a garage, mudroom, or laundry room you can make use of? If you’re reorganizing a small space, are there shelving options, hooks, boxes, or other organizational tools that will help? How can you make one space work in multiple ways?
Our Designers Know How to Organize for Change
At Saint Louis Closet Co., all of our organizational systems are 100% adjustable.
If you’ve found yourself in the midst of a major transition, we can help ease some of the stress. Our designers have worked with clients through major changes and remodels, and they’ll be happy to provide solutions for any sized space.