Every once in a while, I practice what I’ve termed an “Empathy Exercise™” or EE™. It’s when I do my best to experience, on a deeper level, what a client may be dealing with or feeling. Some EE’s™ are easier than others, some I dread with a passion. But, I actually enjoyed this one…sort of.
For this EE™, I decided that for a few weeks, I’d “let” my dresser go. That meant no folding, no coordinating, no purging!! All I was allowed to do was wash, dry and STUFF clothes into the dresser until the doors and drawers could barely close and it was almost bursting open.
So, armed with those rules, the Empathy Exercise™ began. In what seems like minutes (it was actually much longer), disorganization reined and I started to dread laundry day, walking by that dresser and clothes in general (and I LOVE clothes), so I knew it was going to be a “toughy”. When I entered the room, the dresser mocked me (okay, that’s a touch dramatic, but it paints a more vivid picture). Staring out at me from the “Beast” was a combination of pajamas, scarves, sheets, socks, tees, towels, and more, just “lying” there, all stuffed and disheveled. I found that it took me longer to get ready each day because I couldn’t find what I needed and I spent a great deal of time stuffing, picking up and stuffing again. I was exhausted!! Seriously, I could feel my heart pound a little harder and faster, my breathing got a little more rapid and my mind BEGGED for this to end. Okay, I’m being dramatic again, but it was not a fun time looking at the clutter that “lived” in my dresser. So, finally, once another item couldn’t be stuffed into that finite space, I ended the Empathy Exercise™. Armed with my trusty FlipFolds (one Adult, one Junior), a favorite gospel song set to repeat, a table, a few homemade drawer organizers and a few hours, I plugged away. I used the FlipFold to make easy work and neat, uniform sized folding of the tops, bottoms, towels and I soon hit a rhythm-align, right-flip, left-flip, up-flip-done!! I attacked socks and such with such furor-I was a woman on an organizational mission!! In one afternoon, I’d regained control of the clothes and the dresser and drawers were fully functioning once again. With that, my vital signs returned to a “normal” state, I stood back and marveled at my success. There may have even been a “happy dance” to celebrate my success. Yes, I’d tamed the “Beast” and was organization was once again victorious. Life made sense again (a tad bit dramatic for a third time, but it’s the last one, I promise…maybe.)
What did I learn? First, I LIKE, no, I LOVE being organized; it helps me reduce the stress in my life and maintain a sense of control (among other things). Next, an organized and functional space truly did save me time, money, reduce my stress and improved my productivity. I could get in, get out and get it done with less effort. Isn’t that something we all want?? I also learned that when I had to relinquish that reduction in stress and let go of that sense of control, it was not always a happy time to be around me (SMILE). I may not have been my usual loving, content and pleasant self, or at least not at the level I strive to maintain. Don’t worry, I’ve since made amends, and the appropriate compensation and gifts have been given to those affected by my little exercise.
Humorous Disclaimer: No family members, clothes or furniture were harmed during this Empathy Exercise™. The contents of the drawers will not be shown, well not right now…I have to keep some mystery between us, don’t I??
Copyright 2012 Dr. Darnita L. Payden
Products provided free by:
“No Clutter” tee provided by Paris Love
Click on pictures for captions.