July Woman Of The Month – Meet Paige

Woman of the Month – Paige Anderson

Hello! I am Paige Anderson. When writing this I was thinking about how to introduce myself. It’s easy to rely on titles like “wife/daughter/mother,” “professional organizer,” “RN,” “nurse practitioner.” Before I became a mother, I was me. After I became a mother, I was still me. When I started my career as a nurse practitioner and then left that career, I was still me. When I started a business as a professional organizer, I was still me. It’s been a lesson in humility that I can no longer define myself by my titles because guess what? They change. We make plans and God laughs.

I was working as a nurse practitioner when I gave birth to my daughter three years ago. At the time, I believed that having a professional career and being a mother was the path for me. And although I knew it would be hard, I thought it was perfectly achievable because it seemed like so many women were doing it, and doing it well. Like a friend said recently, she “never questioned” that she could be a professional and a mom. But after almost two years of juggling the stressors of both roles I came to a point where I felt I had to choose between my wellbeing or continuing the status quo. I just couldn’t do both anymore – each one had too much importance, too much meaning-making, too much of everything. Feeling the need to choose between a busy professional career and motherhood is something I’m realizing now that many women struggle with, and I am not alone. And for those women who don’t struggle with both – then I am so genuinely happy for you. We need all types of strong women!

Around the same time I was considering leaving my practice, I offered to help a friend with organizing her home. This friend has a brilliant mind and was constantly busy with new creative pursuits, but because of this, her home was in a constant state of flux and disarray. I offered to help her organize her kitchen (the biggest problem area) and to develop systems that would make it easy to maintain order in her kitchen so she could focus on her work and stop feeling discouraged by the difficulty she felt keeping things in order. When I began helping her sort and organize her kitchen, I never wanted to stop. Time flew by, and it was then that I realized that I’d tapped into something inside myself I didn’t know was there.

I left my nurse practitioner practice with a vague idea to become a professional organizer. So I began the slow climb towards starting my own business. “Entrepreneur” or “business owner” was not a title I ever pictured for myself. But neither was “nurse practitioner” 10 years earlier. In this process of reinventing myself over and over again – from single to married, from non-parent to parent, from RN to nurse practitioner to entrepreneur – I have realized that changing the things that surround me has been a part of every step in this process.

Decluttering, or “editing” items is the process of letting go of things that you don’t need, like, or use. Often these items have a way of adding negative energy to one’s life that are subtle but powerful. I’ve had the experience of feeling resentful that I “had” to keep a gift I didn’t like and didn’t have space for. I have felt anxious about getting rid of something that I might need someday in some alternate universe. I have felt guilty about that bottle of salad dressing that’s expired but never opened. I have felt discouraged because those size 8 jeans still don’t fit. I have felt less than because other women use that styling tool every day but I haven’t made it into a routine. The process of making the decision and following through with moving these items out of my home is challenging, but once they are gone, all those negative feelings are gone with them and that relief is liberating. Sometimes people need help to see those feelings and to figure out how to move through them to get organized. And sometimes people also need help picking out their 8 best shades of lipstick or their 20 best reusable grocery bags.

Inevitably when I help people with an organization project, they find something they have been looking for. They also realize they have more of something than they thought or that they have multiples of the same thing – usually because they have purchased an item again when they couldn’t find it. When everything has been sorted through and then arranged in a way that it can all be easily seen or accessed, my clients will actually save money because they will no longer buy more than they need or things they already have.

I recently gave away all of my clothes that I wore to my previous job. It was like letting go of that part of my life in a definitive way, and it felt momentous to turn that corner and close that door. I also just put two bunches or organic parsley that went bad before I used them into our compost bin. Since I am also a firm advocate for minimizing food waste, it felt good to throw away the guilt with them.

To me it is an honor to help clients through the process of bringing their homes up to speed with their best selves, no matter what their title may be.

Follow me on my newly launched Instagram @purplegloveorganizing, check out my website purplegloveorganizing.com or email me at paige@purplegloveorganizing.com. Purple Glove Organizing is currently serving the Portland Metro area and surrounding suburbs.