Private vs Public Space

Hey, I finally sprang (sprung?) for a paid account, so now I can have many userpics (note new one here), and I can maybe even embed my LJ in my website, if I can figure out how to do that, or some nice geek wants to help me.

So here’s what I’ve been thinking about recently, in terms of what you might call “meta”-organizing:

A question that often comes up is where to start organizing, when someone wants to do an entire apartment or house. I think that prioritization is a very important part of the whole organizing process. In order to make the right decisions in that area, I think it’s important to know exactly why you’re prioritizing what you are. This lets you change the order to fit your needs, if necessary, and helps give you more initiative to move ahead with whatever choice you make.

Usually, my clients choose to start with the most public area first, since it’s the first area that visitors see, and then gradually move further back toward the private areas of the home. And often, in client homes that are already partly organized, I see this sort of prioritization already playing out, with a very stark contrast between reasonably neat (or even extremely neat) living room/dining room/kitchen areas, and extreme disorder/clutter in the bedrooms and private bathrooms.

So, what assumptions or values went into that decision? Feeling like their homes aren’t “fit for company” is a very big stressor for many of my clients, so that is definitely important. It may be negatively affecting their interpersonal connections; some people haven’t even had relatives over in years. And obviously we are all affected by what others think of us, to some extent, so that’s understandable.

But I have been wondering if this sort of prioritization might indicate that the client is motivated more by a desire to look good to others rather than taking care of him or herself. This isn’t to say “No! Bad client!”, but to suggest using this opportunity to nudge an old way of thinking in a new direction.

So I have been wondering lately what might happen if we started instead with the most private area of the home, and radiated outward to the public areas.

I think we all have a spot in our homes that we feel is our own personal nerve center; mine is my office. Someone else’s might be their bedroom or bathroom. I am guessing it’s rarely the more public areas. When my office is messy, I feel all discombobulated; when it’s organized, I feel equipped to handle anything. I don’t react this way to the rest of the house. So I think that maybe if we started with the nerve center, everything else would fall into place. Organizing this space would have the most profound effect on our state of mind, and the energy would help shape the rest of the home. Prioritizing this way also gives our psyche a message that we are putting ourselves first, and that we’re worth putting first.

I welcome your comments!

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