I have a secret that not all professional organizers (or lawyers) might admit to. I am human and I am not perfect. Having a home with two very small boys, it is impossible for me to live a lifestyle completely free of clutter, toys, spilled juice, removed clothing, etc. You have nothing to be embarrassed about and I will make every effort to make this process as seamless as possible. I am experienced in working with every environment — from already clean spaces that just need a little special touch to people who have an emotional attachment to their things and are afraid to let go. Just think, at the end of the process, you will have one less space to be embarrassed about the next time you have guests over.
Questions Answered by Sarah:
I love dogs, I had one until recently (RIP Rory Girl). I adore cats. I love children; I have two of them. Guinea pigs are sooo cute. I draw the line at husbands. Just kidding!
In all seriousness, a lot of what goes into organizing a space is knowing what to do to maintain the clean and clear new environment. I strive to create a new system that can be maintained by the necessary parties to that space. So, a bathroom used by your kids will ideally have a new set up that can be followed by your kiddos. And if we are organizing their play space, ideally, we will have like items in smaller containers so it limits the mess made by pulling out a bin to play with.
I get it. You hire a housekeeper and end up doing more work before they come. I still fall for this trap, but sometimes I want to just crawl in bed when I know I need to attend to that sink full of dishes (remember, professional organizers are not perfect.) No, you are not expected to clean up the space! In fact, I like to see the beast in its’ natural habitat. All I ask is that anything that is dangerous or potentially extremely embarrassing be put away (i.e. guns, pornography, etc.) That being said, if that stuff turns up unexpectantly during our time together, my strict confidentiality and non-judgment still applies. Additionally, please remember I am not a house cleaner. Once we clear out a space, I will ask you to clean it to your satisfaction while I start the organizing process.
The answer to this depends a lot on your preference. I am not going to try to upsell you to purchasing beautiful bins and typed out labels for everything. But if you know you won’t be completely happy with the space without that, then yes, you will need to purchase consistent bins. However, most spaces can be decluttered and look beautiful by using resources already in your home…perhaps you just couldn’t find them before.
Paperwork! I love it!!! Ok, now you think I’m a total weirdo. But seriously, handling paperwork is my favorite. Using a similar process as outlined above, you can trust that I will create a filing system that makes sense to you (and your aging parent if they are still involved in their paperwork), while always maintaining complete confidentiality on every aspect of the project. I understand that this added piece of the puzzle in your life is very heavy at this time. I will sympathetically reduce this weight from your shoulders while being sensitive to all aspects of what you and your family are going through with this change. My goal is to make it seamless and reduce the additional tension everyone around you is currently feeling.
I will come into your space with unbiased decision-making and a clear mind. My task is to use my basic system, personalized for your experience, and be your guide in making those important decisions. I am not a true follower of “if it doesn’t make you happy….” This is because there are things that I own that I may not feel “happy” about necessarily, but I am not saddened by them. Socks for example. I don’t feel happy because of my gym socks, but I definitely don’t feel sad. So maybe my philosophy is “if it doesn’t make you sad…” But again, in all seriousness, we will easily rid of the stuff that is easy to make a decision on and come back to the more difficult items. When we come back to them, I will work with you and guide you in making a decision.
If organizing your bookshelf alphabetically is the method you prefer, then yes, I can certainly do so, but I also like to give my clients the opportunity to think outside the box and offer other suggestions on how to sort their bookshelves. For example, I love creating detailed indexes in Excel and might recommend that we create an index for your bookshelf and instead stack the books by height, width, topic, etc. While sorting alphabetically is always nice and easy to follow, it may not always be the most effective use of space. I often get frustrated when I need to add a book to the system and it requires a complete redo because of the lack of available space.
A professional organizer is not a house cleaner nor do we “clean” at all. We are experienced in having a vision to clear and recognize a space, but we go a step further. We help the client develop a system that can make even the most disorganized person comprehend and maintain an environment clear of clutter, stress, and extra weight. We work alongside the client when appropriate and provide them with techniques they can use going forward. Additionally, while it is an option, most people do not require a Professional Organizer coming in every two weeks. Even setting up a session every two month or quarterly will maintain an organized and decluttered environment in all of your home.
Organizing your space will clean and clear up room allowing you the opportunity to sell stuff and obtain some extra cash to get out and do something you enjoy. With your mind and space free of clutter, you can thoroughly enjoy activities with your family and friends.