April 18, 2024
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Organized and Clutter Free: My Husband Is Left Handed

Did I get your attention with that title? Why would I even write about this topic? Allow me to explain. Last month I challenged my readers to “The Coat Closet Challenge.” I asked you to consider if you have enough room in your coat closet to hang guests’ coats when they visit for the holidays. When I went through our coat closet in preparation for the challenge, I learned something very interesting. I hang my coats facing one way (opening of coat facing the left) and my husband hangs his coat the opposite way (opening of coat facing the right). Notice I did not refer to either option as “right” or “wrong.”

As a Professional Organizer, I would prefer to keep things as visually appealing as possible. However, in the interest of keeping peace in the house, I respect my husband’s inclination to hang his coats up facing the way that he is comfortable with, not the way I am comfortable with. It’s all about compromise and picking our battles. Is it really worth it to nag him to hang his coat up so it matches the same direction as mine so it looks pretty? Would I want to do the same if he asked me to hang my coat his way? Probably not. So I accept that everything cannot be perfect and that my coat closet will not look like an ad for California Closet or IKEA. And that is okay.

But this made me think about other behaviors and actions that are different between a left-handed person and a right-handed person. Allow me to provide you with some examples. I was working with a dear client on an office organizing/de-cluttering project. As soon as I opened a file folder to review the age of the documents to see if they could be put in the shredder, I noticed that by my standards the files were stored upside down. I asked the client, “Are you left handed?” When responding in the positive, the client wanted to know why I asked. At that moment I realized that all the years I was turning over the files after my husband handled them and put them back upside down by my standards, he was just doing it in his left-handed comfort zone. I shared this with my client and we got a laugh out of it. It’s interesting the details that we pick up when we are working in someone’s home or office, and I love learning from my clients.

Another example of left handed vs. right handed—how you put cards in an envelope. Over the years I noticed that when I received cards from my husband and my sister (who is also left handed), that the cards were in the envelope upside down (by my right-handed standard). I find it interesting that it took me all this time to realize that there is no wrong or right way to do these tasks. So what if the coats don’t all face the same way? So what if the files are stored in a direction that is out of my comfort zone? Who really cares if the holiday and birthday cards are put in the envelope upside down by a right-handed person’s standards? What matters is that we have the means to have clothes hanging in a closet in a home that we share with loved ones. That we invite family and friends into our homes to share food, companionship, stimulating conversation and some belly laughs. The details that could really get under my skin don’t mean a hill of beans in the big picture. What matters is that my left-handed husband is a kind person, my best friend, and I trust him. I can live with upside-down files if that makes him happy and I am content to let go of my need for perfection. It’s simply not a battle that is worth fighting. I’d rather spend my precious time with him doing activities that we enjoy, rather than picking at the small issues that are not really important.

Happy Organizing!

Eileen Bergman has lived in West Orange since 1987 and is a Professional Organizer. She may be reached by e-mail at [email protected] for feedback and suggestions for future articles.

By Eileen Bergman

 

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