Looking out into my garden today, despite the gloomy fog it’s apparent that spring is definitely here. The grass is once again growing, as are the weeds! My grass is coloured full of dandelions and I spy a few nettles and brambles too. A few years ago looking out into my garden like I did this morning would’ve made me feel like an absolute failure. I work long hours, and always have, so the idea of having a beautiful garden was always a dream but never a reality. I’d love to be someone that spends hours in the garden, I’d love a vegetable patch! Sadly unless I go out at 1am and start mowing and so upsetting the neighbours, me putting the hard graft into my garden just isn’t going to happen. I have other priorities that don’t end up with me in agony with a bad back and dirty fingernails. I’m a great ideas person – I know how I’d love my garden to be, and slowly I can see it getting there…. But I’m not the one physically making that happen.
My garden was never a dump it site for stuff (luckily for my neighbours I had big outhouses to chuck stuff into), but it certainly was the worst kept garden on the street and had a few old things in there that really should’ve been taken to the tip. Most of my neighbours are retired and have time to garden on lovely days and weekends so driving up my street I always felt a deep background nagging of letting the street down. It felt that I was always hiding the inside of my home from the world, but that the outside couldn’t be hidden and was embarrassing me too.
All that changed a few years ago when I talked to a friend about their always immaculate garden. He explained that he paid a gardener to come once a fortnight to work on it so that he could enjoy it. I’d always grown up thinking people that hired gardeners must be rich, have huge mansions and massive gardens! To think that this modest garden and income to match could hire someone to do it once a fortnight to do this threw me a bit. I found out how much it cost and realised that not only was this affordable, but would lift a massive weight off my shoulders. So today I look out at the mess of a garden and I’m excited! I’m looking forward to later on today when my gardener Dave comes to make a start on getting the garden looking ready for summer after a gap of neglect in winter. I know because it has been looked after up until around November time that it won’t take much to get it back into shape. He’s been looking after the garden for while now and I can honestly say that I love the space I have. My plans aren’t complete (I still want a veggie patch) but thanks to Dave it’s no longer an embarrassment and when we get a (rare) day of sunshine it’s lovely to be able to sit out and relax in the garden rather than look at the knee high jungle through a window and feel bad.
That got me thinking about how my mindset has changed over the past few years, and that got me thinking about other Untanglers that might not realise the wealth of help that is available to buy in. I had a client a few weeks ago that was drowning under laundry. There were clean clothes on the stairs, all over the floor, all over the dining room table and in big piles in the living room – so much so it was hard to find space to sit down on the sofa and relax. This client was always on edge. Her anxiety was through the roof as she felt like she was failing at being a mum. Trying to keep up with laundry of three children (one of which is a teenager that likes to wear things for 20 minutes before popping them into the laundry basket) was taking its toll. After discussing the laundry issue with the client and decluttering a LOT of clothes we realised that the sticking point wasn’t getting the clothes washed or dried, but it was the ironing of it that was causing the pile up. Now personally I hate ironing. I rarely iron anything unless I’m going to a meeting! I find that strategically placing things on radiators or smoothing things and folding as they come out of the dryer is enough. Everyone is different though. This client felt she still needed everything ironed, so I asked her if she had ever considered outsourcing the ironing to someone else to do? Had she every considered hiring in a professional? A lot like me a few years ago, she was horrified. “I couldn’t afford that! People like me don’t do stuff like that!”
BUT THEY DO!!
And a lot of the time it is genuinely affordable! We googled and found someone that could pick up and drop off her ironing once a week, and the client agreed that to keep her home and family looking nice and to keep her sanity that it was worth buying the help in.
Sometimes it’s not about being wonderwoman, sometimes it’s about recognising that you only have 24 hours in a day and prioritising how you spend them.
There’s all sorts of help that you can buy in these days. It used to be that to get shopping we used to have to go to the supermarket ourselves. Now we can order online and someone else picks our groceries and delivers them to us. We can hire cleaners, personal trainers, people that will do our ironing, gardeners, PA’s, VA’s, accountants, life coaches, and of course professional declutterers and organisers! The list is endless. The other positive about hiring in a professional is that generally they are much more efficient than you could ever be yourself. Dave can mow my garden and have it looking ship shape in a few hours… If I tried it would take me a full day (and then some!). Just like when you hire a professional declutterer like me, we get much more done than if you attempt it yourself – we are focused on the task in hand and work much more efficiently - that's why we are the professionals.
Do not think just because you live in a normal house and aren’t rich that you can’t access these services. You CAN outsource whatever you need.
To decide if it is worth it you just need to look at the pay off. For me it is worth paying £60 a month for a gardener so that the outside of my home is as neat and organised as the inside. It’s worth working a bit extra to be able to sit out in the garden in summer and actually enjoy my space rather than wishing for a blanket of heavy snow so that my garden looks like everyone else’s on the street. For my client it was worth reworking her budget to be able to afford to let some of the laundry go to be ironed so that she could feel in back in control of her laundry and get her space back.
Now I’m not saying you have to skint yourself out to be able to do this. It might be that you can swap services with a friend? Do you have a friend that loves ironing or cleaning? Would they do a few hours a week for you in return for something you are good at or enjoy doing? Maybe you could babysit for them one night in return for them giving you a few hours cleaning, or if you’re crafty make something for them or show them a new skill in return?
There’s no reason to be ashamed to ask for help, or think that it’s not something people like you do. You are not a failing by getting to the point where you realise you can’t do it all yourself. Outsourcing is a clever strategy used by the top people in business to live a calmer life their way, and anyone can do it. Just look at the trade off – what are your sticking points? How would your life be better or more productive if the sticking point was removed? Do you have a cluttered home and feel that you’d be a better parent, or less stressed, or have more family time if the house was decluttered and tidy? That your house would be cleaner if the surfaces weren’t covered in stuff? Then why not consider doing something about it? Ask for help. You can book one session and see how things can change for the better.
So if there’s one thing you can do to improve your life TODAY its look at your sticking points and look and see if there is help available for that.
Make that change!
Lots of love,