In the organizing industry, there are two ways that professional organizers typically work with clients:
- The professional organizer comes to the client’s house and does the sorting and organizing on her own without the client’s input. The client might not even be home, but trusts the organizer to make all the decisions.
- The professional organizer comes to the client’s house and does the sorting and organizing alongside the client in a collaborative manner. The client and organizer decide together what will be saved and what the organizing systems will look like.
I have organized both ways, and I strongly believe that Method 2, organizing collaboratively, works best for long-term results. Here’s why:
1 It’s almost impossible for me to know what to keep and what to get rid of if the client is not there to tell me. I can’t tell what is special and worth keeping just by looking at it. That ratty blanket with the holes and stains on it? I would get rid of it. But I wouldn’t know that it’s your childhood blankie and extremely precious, unless you are there to tell me. I need the client present so I can make the correct decisions about what stays and what goes.
2. I also want clients present so they can experience the benefits of the discovery process themselves. One of the most powerful aspects of the whole organizing process is when the client finds and groups all of his or her like items together. Only then can they truly see how much they have been buying and saving. Only then can they ask themselves, “why did I do that?” and make the connection between overbuying/oversaving and their clutter problem. This connection is how real change begins.
3. I want clients present because I want their input into which organizing systems work for them, where they want to store things, and what style of containers they prefer. Sure, I can make guesses about all of these things. I can put into place systems that have worked for other people. But one of the benefits of working with reSPACEd organizers is that you get CUSTOM systems tailored to YOUR habits and preferences, not somebody else’s. And I won’t know what your habits and preferences are unless I’ve spent a few hours working alongside you and seeing how you think, move and feel about your space.
4. Finally, I choose to work collaboratively alongside clients, because this is the most effective way of inspiring them to change any bad habits that contribute to their clutter problem. For example, when a client has spent 12 hours over 4 sessions beside me to clean out their home office, the client is much, much more likely to work to keep it organized in the future. And when I work alongside the client for that many hours, I can figure out what habits and behaviors are causing the disorganization, and together we can create a behavioral plan to modify those actions. I won’t have insight into any of that if I’m working alone.
So for all of these reasons, reSPACEd professional organizers choose to work collaboratively alongside our clients. There are no surprises, no big reveals using this method. Instead, clients get effective results that will hold up over the long-term.
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