New Year: Old Habits: Gail

When Gail was last on the show, she was a self-proclaimed hoarder who never threw anything away. Her New Year's resolution was to get better at clutter control.

Reflecting on her last appearance, Gail says, "Dr. Phil pointed out that there's an underlying cause — whether it be self-confidence, a stressful situation in your life — something is causing you to do the cluttering ... Dr. Phil pointed out that the clutter itself was actually causing me more stress than I needed in my life."

Dr. Phil advised Gail to examine the payoff she was getting from her junky household. "Because you can't control emotions, people and life, you're controlling inanimate objects because it gives you a sense of security," he said.

 

Gail promised Dr. Phil that she would commit to cleaning up her home, and he offered to send a cleaning crew to help her get organized. 


 

Julie Morgenstern, author of Organizing from the Inside Out, is a professional organizer who comes to the rescue. She knocks at Gail's door. "Dr. Phil sent me and my team to help you get organized," she says. "Our first thing is to really design a function for each room. You always want to start your organizing project in the room where you spend the most time."

 

Julie uses her SPACE Formula for organizing: Sort, Purge, Assign a Home, 'Containerize,' and Equalize. Walking out to the garage with Gail, she says, "Dr. Phil called his buddies at Gladiator Garage Works, and they're going to install an amazing modular system and a special floor. This is going to be the Rolls Royce of garages!"

Julie's crew helps sort unwanted items into piles, then Gail is faced with the tough decision of deciding what to throw out. The company 1-800-Got-Junk comes in to cart away the trash.

 

 

 

 

Finally, Gail's garage is ready for the dramatic unveiling.


Gail cries as she sees the amazing transformation of her work space. Her garage is now outfitted with movable drawers and ready-made shelves. Since she and her husband, Tom, are both airline pilots, there is an outline of an airplane on the storage wall.

"At the time, and now, you have an emotional response to that. Why?" Dr. Phil asks Gail.

"It was an incredible feeling. It's like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders. They did such an awesome job to clean that out and organize it," she says. 

"You were starting to feel out of control," Dr. Phil observes.

"Totally out of control," she agrees.

"Everything was cluttered. Everything was a chore. You couldn't find anything. You couldn't do anything. You couldn't get anywhere," Dr. Phil points out. "Why do you think it's so uplifting to be free of all that?"

 

Gail says her problem was just getting the stamina to attack her clutter. "I think if you have a plan of action to maintain something, once it gets there, then it's so much easier to do. For me to do that on my own, I don't have that talent or that unique space in my brain that's organized."

Addressing Julie Morgenstern in the audience, Dr. Phil says, "You see this a lot. You see people feel like they're free when they get rid of all this clutter, right?"

"I think organizing is a gateway to true freedom. When you're organized, you can do anything. Nothing holds you back," she replies. 

"Now you have a peaceful space," Dr. Phil tells Gail. "And you have time, and you're not burdened at all. What are you going to do with the time?" 

"That's a good question. It's not easy for me to relax," Gail admits. "I'm a perfectionist. I have 100 things going on at one time ... that's kind of my concern — how I'm going to find that time to relax. How do I teach myself to relax?"

Dr. Phil tells Gail that she doesn't have to control everything all the time. "It's OK to be bored. It's OK to say, 'I just don't have anything to do. I think I'll just walk up to the corner and back,'" he says.

"That's a foreign concept to me," Gail laughs.

"What would happen if you just sat out in the backyard and watched the leaves blow? What if you just read a book? What if you decided to leave and go somewhere and volunteer some time?" Dr. Phil questions. 

"That'll be great," Gail says.

Gail needs to behave her way to success. Now that Julie and her team gave Gail a running start with managing clutter, Gail has to maintain this new lifestyle. "What you've got to do now is make the choice, 'I'm going to flow into this, and I'm going to find a way to use some time,'" he says. "Make yourself a promise that you're going to start at the end of the week, and you're going to really look at your space, really look at your life, and see what you need to organize at the end of the week. Don't go two weeks, three weeks, four weeks ... it will slip away. This is a lifestyle, and you've got to manage it."

Dr. Phil thanks Julie Morgenstern and her crew for helping to make it all possible. Office Max provided Gail with new office furniture and supplies to help turn her office into a functioning work space. Gladiator Garageworks by Whirlpool Corporation supplied the materials to completely redesign Gail's new garage and installed it for her. The company 1-800-Got-Junk hauled away all her unwanted items. Franklin Covey donated a daily planner guide and a briefcase to help Gail stay organized.