Blog a Job! 2009 Watch a Professional Organizer in Action! Part 3

During this 4-hour work session, we literally began working our way through the room. We started at one end of the room and began sorting and purging everything into one of the following categories:

  • Trashkeep-relocate pic
  • Consign/Give Away
  • Relocate (move to other areas of the home)
  • File – Long term (will be moved out of the office)
  • File – Current
  • Office
  • Craft
  • Gift Wrap
  • Memories

As we were sorting, we came up with the following zones within the room:

  • Bookshelf
  • Craft/Sewing Area
  • Desk/Office/Files
  • Closet: Off-Season Clothing, Gift Wrap/Craft Storage, and File and Office Supplies

charlottes room picI mentioned earlier that it will look worse before it gets better. This is almost always the case. It takes space, energy and time to pull out everything and sort. But it is a necessity, before you purge. How can you begin to make decisions about what to keep, if you don’t truly know what you have? The answer is, you can’t! Becky and I were working in a relatively small office space. Therefore, it was necessary to spread out a bit. You will see photographs of us working in her daughter’s room which is located across the hall from the office. We also used the hallway for storage of our supplies along with bags, boxes and bins, which were being permanently moved out of the space.

At the end of the day, we had an even better direction of how Becky would like the room to function. We also had several huge bags of trash, several “relocate” bins and a gigantic pile to take to the consignment shop. It truly does pay to get organized!

I am often asked if I will throw out or get rid of other family member’s belongings. I always assure clients that it is my policy to only work with my their belongings. If there is ever a question about other people’s belongings, they are set aside in a pile or bin so that the owner(s) can sort through and make decisions.

I also don’t try to talk clients into getting rid of belongings. I do help them see the trade off (and there is always a trade off!). The reality is; more stuff = less space and less breathing room, while less stuff = more space and more breathing room. Generally by the time a client contacts me, they are tired of living in the midst of so much stuff, and are ready for change. The truth is, you cannot organize clutter. I love Flylady’s definition of clutter:

“Clutter is anything that does not bring you joy, you do not love, or you don’t need. Things that you use, love, and enjoy are necessary and important to have. Things that you have in your home that you don’t need or don’t like will have the opposite effect on you: they will make you feel negative and dragged down.” FLYlady

So, my job is to help clients eliminate clutter. But this is a process that we work through together. It begins by first helping clients identify what things they use, they love, and they enjoy. Then we figure out what to do with the rest. We don’t just “get rid of” the rest. We thoughtfully make decisions. Are there family or friends who might enjoy an item? Is this something that they might be able to sell or consign and make a few extra dollars? Are there people in need who could truly benefit from the donation of these items? When put in this context, most people are much more likely to begin the process of eliminating clutter.

As I work with clients, I suggest specific “homework”, jobs that they can accomplish on their own.  This can reduce the number of hours that we work together. Clients can, of course, choose to have me work alongside them throughout the entire process. The choice is theirs.

After this work session, Becky was left with the following homework:

  • Go to the consignment shop
  • Empty “relocate” bins and move to the appropriate areas of the home
  • Remove 2 extra file cabinets from the room
  • Purge and reorganize 3 “memory” bins
  • Purchase additional clear plastic bins for memories

During our next session, we will dive into the paperwork. We will begin to set up a family filing system. This is going to be a tedious and time-consuming task, but will both simplify Becky’s days and significantly de-clutter her office.

Check out Blog a Job! Part 1, Blog a Job Part 2Blog a Job! Part 4 and Blog a Job! Part 5.

Check out our progress in the coming days!

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