Know any closet perfectionists?

I would like to share with you a marvelous story. I had the pleasure of working with a friend’s husband for quite a while as his personal virtual coach. 

After a casual conversation about what I do for people, John (not his real name) confided in me that he was a perfectionist and more to the point, he dubbed himself… A Closet Perfectionist!  A long time goal of cleaning his office closet, was his nemesis. The Closet became a dumping ground for everything; for all that he “couldn’t part with.”  

After looking at the pictures of his closet, I suggested that we could solve his issues with a series of over-the-phone virtual coaching sessions. 

John shared with me the thought process that faces people like him and how it paralyzed him… for years. As he said, “Unless all of your ducks are in a row, and everything is perfectly figured out in advance, one has a hard time moving forward.  It’s sort of like being frozen in time.”

Right away John wanted to learn techniques to overcome his mindset. I shared with John various ideas that I thought would suit his personality type. We spoke about being “organized enough” and the steps that he could take to accomplish what he needed. When I said, 80% is good enough, it ruffled his feathers quite a bit, but he soon told me that as he embraced that way of thinking it was actually very liberating. 

John owns his own business. He told me, “Every single office that I have ever rented or worked in, has had a large walk-in closet which I filled to the point where I couldn’t walk in!  I transferred contents from one office to the next. Never wanting to take the time to go through it all or decide what I wanted to keep or get rid of, I just kept it all!”

I’m happy to say that John set a date, kept it and as you will hear, achieved his long time goal. On March 10, 2019, John finally cleaned his closet! Congratulations John. There is much that you should celebrate. Bravo! I heard from John recently. I asked him what finally enabled him to undertake something that has been a challenge all these years. He said, “In retrospect, it took courage. I had to put my emotions and all my past feelings about all my belongings aside and visualize how I wanted my closet to look when it was all clean and organized.  I set a date and made sure nothing would get in my way.

I also followed your Organized Enough suggestions.  I scribbled out the five signs; “Recycle”, “Keep”, “Trash”, “Donate”, and “Belongs in Another Room.” I emptied the entire closet, put items in front of each sign, boxed it all up and got rid of most of it.  I was so surprised how easy it was when I finally put my mind to it.  

For the following week, I didn’t know it until my wife came in and said, “John, do you realize that your closet door, which is always closed, is wide open with the light on!” Subconsciously, I guess I wanted to revel in my accomplishment.”  

John also said, “There are still a few boxes of photos, files and other miscellaneous papers that need sorting, but now at least I can see those boxes and can go through them on the next rainy day. Plus, I can walk in any time I like!  Kathy, thank you so much!  I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Stay tuned. John and I have set a date to clean his basement next!