Family and friends watching loved ones drown in their clutter and despair can frustrate and un-nerve the person, ending up with emotions & angered words flying about! I’ve seen some very heated interactions when family & friends step in to “help” or “save” their loved ones. They mean well, although most times I have observed that they feel they can take the decision making away from the individual and that their opinions rule!
As human beings in this world we live in, we feel we own our things and place a lot of value on them, which means we have the right to do as we please with these things, and nobody else has the right to these decisions.
As professional organizers, we practice non-judgment, patience, mirroring what the client says, pointing out other point of views to consider, and being a support through this difficult new process. We listen, empathize, give moral support, and partner with them in accomplishing their goals.
I am writing this so people can learn to heal themselves with this process. The process as I stated in one of my other blogs, has many hidden components. These components are comprised of layers of emotions and thoughts not always recognized consciously. The healing can start with the person taking a stand for themselves with a family member. What does that mean? This may be the first time they have stood up and expressed what they believe or set boundaries. This will alter and impact future interactions with them in a positive manner. Once someone has a breakthrough like this, life alters. Asking for professional help to assist does provide healing in a loving, nurturing and non-judgmental way. It can be a cry for help, and an acknowledgment of self-love for the first time! So, if you don’t hire a professional, you will probably experience some version of this.
Take a moment to be grateful to the people who care, and notice your distress. These special people in your life mean well, and are only expressing their love, and support for you. The key is to understand their commitment to you, and your well-being. BUT, remember to stay true to yourself and express your needs in a loving manner!
professional organizer (noun)
1. A Professional Organizer enhances the lives of clients by designing systems and processes using organizing principles and through transferring organizing skills. (source: National Association of Professional Organizers)
professional coach (noun)
1. A trained professional who partners with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. (source: International Coaching Federation)
Professional Organizers’ work is extraordinarily valuable to many different individuals in many different situations. Learning new ways to manage space and time can have a dramatic impact on improving the quality of peoples’ lives.
Professional Organizers’ work encompasses many different situations. Sometimes Organizers:
But sometimes the actual act of organizing isn’t enough. For some people it is important to delve into the “whys”. With an Organizer Coach those clients can spend time:
The synergy of organizing and coaching can bring dramatic results. Coupling the WHY with the HOW helps to ensure motivation and commitment that leads to the completion of an organizing project.
If you think the combination of organizing and coaching is something that you’d benefit from, I urge you to consider a Professional Organizer who is skilled and trained in both of these areas.
Many members of the Greater Philadelphia chapter of NAPO are trained and/or certified as a Coach. As with organizing, differing emphasis are found throughout the coaching profession, but all coaches trained to International Coach Federation standards will have competencies in ensuring the client’s work is congruent with their needs, values, and situations.
Looking for a calmer more relaxed start to the day? Consider starting your day by selecting your clothing and accessories from an Organized Closet. Here are 10 Closet Organizing Tips to get you started.
1. Use identical style hangers; wooden, clear plastic or tubular to give your closet consistency.
2. Return metal hangers back to the dry cleaners as they leave indentations in your clothing and are not as sturdy as other style hangers.
3. Purge, Purge, Purge. If it doesn’t fit, is out of style, you never liked it, have no use for it, know you will never wear it – Donate It! This includes clothes, shoes, purses, and accessories.
4. Do not hang your sweaters. Neatly fold and store either in drawers or on closet shelving or neatly in containers.
5. Have baskets or bins available for laundry and dry cleaning to keep laundry off the floor.
6. Use shoe shelving to keep shoes organized in pairs and off the floor.
7. Store small accessory items in drawers or small containers on shelves.
8. Hang belts, scarves and ties for easy viewing and access.
9. Do not store unrelated items in closets, such as; kids games with your clothes, husband’s clothing in baby’s room, kitchenware in coat closet. Keep coats in the coat closets. Baby clothes in the baby’s rooms. Games with games, etc.
10. Always take the extra minute to put things where they belong, such as hanging up a coat or putting shoes in a closet.
Remember: Organizing is an on-going process, just like laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc.
New items are always coming into your home and other items are losing their function or style. You must continuously take stock of your inventory to keep it organized.
With an organized system in place, maintaining an organized space is much easier and more time efficient!
Finding the motivation to de-clutter one’s home and maintain “order in the house” can be challenging for clutter-bugs and busy people. Some are motivated when they are tired of being embarrassed; others are moved to action by nagging spouses or the arrival of company. Working away from what you don’t want can be inspiring but the effects are not always long lasting.
Working toward what you want produces greater inspiration and longer-lasting results. How, exactly, do you work toward what you want? Simply through visualizing what you want and noting how you feel. Let’s try it out:
Get comfortable, relax and close your eyes. Focus on your breathing for a moment. Picture yourself walking into your home – not your house as it is now, but rather your IDEAL HOME. What does the first room look like? Is it clutter-free and redecorated? Look in the closets, cabinets and drawers – what do they look like? Notice how you feel when you’re in your ideal room. Do you feel calm, peaceful and confident? Take a mental snapshot of the room for future reference. Continue to tour your home, one room at a time. How does it look? How do you feel? Take mental snapshots as you go.
Now notice how you IDEALLY OPERATE in your de-cluttered home. Do you clean up without effort, gliding through your home every morning and evening, putting items back to their assigned homes? Perhaps someone else handles these chores in your ideal world. Do you juggle your responsibilities with ease? Are you aware of what needs to get done? Do you prioritize with clarity, delegate with ease and float from one task to another while “in the zone”? How do you feel as you easily manage your time and tasks? Preserve this image in your mind’s eye.
Come back to earth! If you’re like most people, you found the visualization to be calming and inspiring. You know what you’d like your home to look like and you know how you’d like to be in it. You now have a photo gallery of visualized rooms and a mental video tape of a way of behaving.
Use these visualization tools to inspire action and keep going. If you’re sorting your clutter and start to feel overwhelmed, stop, go within and look at your mental photos to remember how calm and empowered you felt in a home that nurtures you instead of one that drains you. Face your clutter again and ask yourself if it fits in with your vision of your IDEAL home. If it doesn’t, let it go and enjoy the resulting lightness of being.
You may have an entire room designated as your home office, but what if you don’t? No problem! You can create an environment that is well organized wherever you prefer to do your work, and with products that are easy enough to stash away when you’re done!
Do you like to work spread out on your bed, or on the sofa in the living room? Or do you prefer to sit at the kitchen table? Here are some inexpensive products that may help you:
Box 1 – for all your workstation essentials like pens, pencils, sticky notes, scissors, a notepad, stapler and calculator.
Box 2 – for billing essentials like stamps, address labels, envelopes and your checkbook.
Box 3 – for stashing receipts.*
Box 4 – for incoming bills.
*Photo boxes often come with dividers – use them to separate receipts from different credit cards, ATM and deposit slips.
**This all depends on your preference. If you are an online bill payer, then you can send your e-mail confirmations of your paid bills to a folder designated for each company.
Whatever you do, find a system that works for you and you could find yourself enjoying paying your bills each month…but probably not!
To prove a theory for this article I asked my husband, “What was the greatest gift you have ever received?” His reply, “You, my dear.” He actually said that, but he’s British so it’s normal. I pushed further to prove that giving the gift of an experience, a shared memory, far outlasts any tangible possession. So, I asked, “What is your favorite childhood memory?” His response, “Going to the seaside with my family.” Exactly!
As an organizer I often work with families who struggle to organize and maintain all of their possessions. The number of their belongings conflicts with their desire for space. When I ask why, there is often a common thread in their responses. They tell me that family and friends are generous with gifts for them and for their children. The abundance is both a blessing and a curse.
We can sort all of the toys by categories, find bins to accommodate them, place them at accessible heights, and add labels (or pictures for pre-readers). However, as a Professional Organizer, it’s my job to help clients organize their belongings AND transfer skills to help them maintain order. So, I feel obligated to explain that the more you have the more you need to maintain. More stuff = more work.
My kind hearted clients are faced with two problems, 1) where to put all of the toys and gifts and 2) how to politely discourage more. In Annette Reyman’s (another NAPO-GPC Professional Organizer) July 11 blog, she told us that in the event of an emergency home evacuation, pictures rank second only to living things (people and pets) for items we want rescued. I agree but believe that it’s not the photos themselves we want to preserve. It’s the memories. So, how do we discourage abundant gift giving?
Ask your generous friends to plan a special day together. My brother, cousins, and I often reminisce about happy childhood memories. Our parents and grandparents were of modest means, but they kept us busy enough not to notice. Our outings included dozens of us meeting up at the beach, backyard parties, surprise visits, ice skating lessons, the Easter show at Radio City (their multi-million dollar renovations were likely a result of my younger brother’s stomach virus), and seeing the Nutcracker at Christmas just to name a few.
Never keep anything out of guilt. Every item in your home should be useful or something you love. Space is finite and excess can be more of a burden than a blessing. Be ruthless about what you let into your home. You’ll have to make room for it, dust it, polish it, store it, dry clean it, mend it, fold it, and then when you’re sick of it, you have to get rid of it.
Life is busy. Our schedules are hectic. Often the best gift we can give the people we love is our time.
If you’re really stumped about what to buy the person in your life who has everything, consider a session with a professional organizer. I’ve heard it said that it is our memories that mold us. Let a professional organizer help you create a home that’s a true reflection of you and your happiest moments. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.