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.
People always ask if my home is perfect, and I say it functions perfectly. I’ll let you read between the lines there. Striving for perfection can be an obstacle in itself. Most people are surprised to learn that perfectionism is a common reason for disorganization.
Common problems with perfectionism and organization:
• Perfectionists might say to themselves, “If I don’t have time to do it right, I’ll wait until I do have time.”
• Waiting for a “good” time doesn’t work. The time will never present itself. You need to schedule it.
• Parkinson’s Law says that work expands to fill the time allowed for it.
• The law of diminishing indicates that the more we hone, tweak, and perfect the less efficient and effective we become. We also neglect other important projects.
• The project waits, grows, and becomes a big, hairy monster.
It’s not important to do everything perfectly. In fact, if you think of organization as a spectrum, perfection is one end and extreme disorder is on the other. A healthy balance is really the best middle ground. Always having every dish put away, every toy in the toy box, and every surface clear is unrealistic. The important things to remember are:
• Every item should have a home.
• Everyone needs to know where those homes are located.
• Storing things closest to where they are used simplifies retrieval and return.
• Set limits on how much is enough. “More” can undermine organization and make maintenance more work.
• Storing like items together in containers helps to stay on top of inventory.
• Planning a time to clean-up is part of every project, not something we do another time.
Perfectionism paralyzes action. Done is better than perfect!
The next time you feel paralyzed by perfection, remember the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The next best thing you can do is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
A former perfectionist
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.
As a professional organizer for 8yrs, my belief is that the process of organizing someone’s belongings is just a small part of a much larger picture. The clutter, confusion, and unhappiness are just the warning signs for much needed attention.
People often describe feelings of deadness, heaviness, and despair. We are their vehicle to getting them to their rainbow of possibilities and dreams. On a much deeper level they are craving this change and this is where the much needed attention is. These unrecognized hopes, dreams and passions lie underneath, like a simmering pot that has boiled over causing a mess, yet still churning the contents into something delightful.
Organizing the physical space is the bridge to opening up the emotional, mental, and energetic processes that are occurring at the same time. New habits, actions and ideas do emerge. I believe as organizers, we are assisting people on their journey. The outcome is transformation in all areas of life that are important to you. So I say, ‘Invest in Your Wellbeing!’ The changes will occur not only in your environment but in many unexpected areas as well!