There are a lot of organizing TV shows and ideas out there, and one of the ideas I see pop up repeatedly is that of the marathon organizing session. It seems to look like this: The client, at the behest of a professional organizer or on their own, decide that TODAY is the DAY they are going to organize everything in a room. The client then proceeds to spend hour after hour sorting through all of their items in a process that takes all day. Six to eight hours later, VOILA! They have an organized room.
This is not how we work at reSPACEd, because we know that in reality, marathon sessions of 4+ hours burn our clients out, make them more prone to bad decision-making, inspire them to quit halfway through, and convince them to hate organizing.
At reSPACEd, we cap our sessions at 4 hours tops. This is because organizing for more than 4 hours can be really tiring physically, cognitively and emotionally.
Marathon organizing is tiring physically because of all the bending, twisting, lifting and schlepping that is involved. I like to joke that professional organizers don’t belong to gyms because organizing is like a cross fit workout we get paid to do!
Marathon organizing is also tiring cognitively because of all the decisions that the client needs to make. Our organizers will coach our clients through the decision-making process, but we want all of the final decisions about which items stay or go to be our clients,’ so they take full ownership over the end results. We have found that the quality of decision-making really decreases after four hours, so it’s one of the reasons we cap sessions at four hours.
Finally, marathon organizing can be really tiring emotionally, because sometimes the things we come across dredge up old, sad memories for us. That box of old cards from your mother or the letters from your first boyfriend can be really powerful emotionally. And sometimes organizing makes us come to tough realizations about our shopping habits and our behaviors. These can be a difficult emotional blow too. So organizing in small chunks of time keeps clients from feeling too emotionally wrung out at the end of the session.
If you decide to organize your space on your own, you will get farther and achieve better results if you set aside a few afternoons or weekends in a row to organize, rather than trying to finish your whole space in one day. Short sessions of 2-4 hours each will be easier on you AND be more effective. So just say “no!” to marathon organizing sessions! Happy Organizing!
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