“So and so gave this to me and it would be wrong to get rid of it. I feel so guilty.”
“There are too many decisions to make, the pile is too big, and so I just can’t get started.”
“Throwing things out feels scary. What if I make the wrong choice?”
“There are so many other things I’d rather be doing right now!”
To me it seems that the first step (and it’s a pretty big one) is to ask for help. Acknowledging that getting organized on your own is too hard is really important. Clients really need someone to be present with them, to not judge them, and to be as objective as possible throughout the process. Once a client feels safe, they are more freed up to really take a look at their space and belongings and ask hard questions.
The steps I take my clients through are simple:
- The Walk Through: This is an important time for us to connect. I want to see your space as it is and to hear your concerns about it. I will address any questions you have and help you start to think through your vision for your space.
- Decluttering: Unfortunately, we can’t skip to the glorified HGTV moment! Taking stock of your belongings space by space in any given room is vital. What is this item? Why do I own it? Do I use it? Do I love it? Why am I giving this thing real estate in my space? This is typically the longest stretch of the process because people own a lot and tend to have ALL THE FEELINGS.
I love this part of the process. I love to help clients answer these kinds of questions. I love learning about them as they make decisions about their belongings. I love to see them come to various realizations about themselves and their things. Part of why hiring an organizer for this phase of the work is so important, is that—inevitably—other people close to the client often have opinions about what the client should or should not do with their things. I get to be the person who gives you permission to keep something or toss it. And that’s fun!
In some ways, decluttering with an organizer is like putting on big kid pants and deciding to make your own choices about your belongings. As we progress together through the space, and the client begins to see progress—the floor, the counter top, the furniture. They start to feel a real sense of accomplishment. I love being able to encourage them in that.
- Designating Homes/Containerizing: After we’ve pared down and let go of some things, it really starts to get fun. Where do these items now live? Where are their homes? Do they sit on a shelf, get placed in a box, bin, basket, or other type of container? This is a time to really ask questions about practicality and beauty. Both matter so much!
I also like to look at how a space is set up and potentially move furniture or rearrange decorative items on occasion. People always think they need more or new stuff. However, they often have what they need; it just needs a face lift or a new spot in the room!
- Long Term Maintenance/Equalizing: After a project is complete, it’s important to me that the client and I discuss some ways of maintaining the space. In some ways, this can be vulnerable because it requires taking a look at areas where the client may struggle or feel weak. I think it’s important to normalize backsliding. It’s probably going to happen!
We can’t be superstars at everything, but if we like the way we feel when we walk into a room we’ve just worked so hard to get organized, what small things can we do to preserve it? This will look different for each client. It may mean setting a daily or weekly reminder on your phone to do something, or getting an accountability partner to help challenge you to buy less stuff, or cycling out your magazines and books on a regular basis, or simply tidying up for a few minutes at the end of the day.
For me, Meredith’s above listed goals were definitely achieved. My husband and I have thoroughly enjoyed having a more simplified, organized space. It’s made our room more comfortable and more welcoming—both adjectives you want to be able to use in describing such an intimate space in a marriage.
If you’re looking to create a more organized home, need help with simplifying, or are simply in need of help on where to start getting a room in order, contact Meredith TODAY! Finally having “a place for every thing and every thing in its place” is a wonderful gift to give yourself AND your family.