At the beginning of an professional organizing session, we like to ask all of our clients this key question: how will you know that your organizing project has been a success?
Will you feel relieved, satisfied, or de-stressed? Will success be measured by the ability to look around you with a sense of peace and say, wow that looks great!? Or will you qualify achievement based on how easy it is to maintain your newly organized space down the road?
However you answer the question, it is important to have a goal in mind when you begin organizing a space. This will help you to stay motivated and on track (when you find yourself getting de-railed, zone in on that initial knowledge of what it will feel like once completed).
Organizing is all about asking the right questions. This is why it is extremely important to take an hour before you begin your project to ask yourself these questions. This may seem like a chore, but it will save you lots of time and energy in the long run. When we forget to ask questions, we begin changing things that are already working for us. Considering what you need from the space is an absolute must before you begin any organizing project.
So, before you begin your project, ask yourself the following questions:
What is working?
Even though a certain area in your house – let’s say the hall closet – might be a total disaster area, that doesn’t mean there isn’t some aspect of the space that is working for you. For example, you might use a particular shelf in the closet to contain outgoing items (gifts, library books, clothes to be returned, etc.). Instead of moving those items to another place, consider keeping the function of the shelf as is, and simply add an open faced basket or container to house those items.
What is not working?
Zone in on the key aspects of the space that are causing the most stress. For example, if you hang brooms in that hall closet (delete comma) which are – frustratingly – always falling over, move them somewhere else. Tip: if you are blurting out more than five swear words a day, it’s time to note the reasons why.
Other questions include, but are not limited to:
- What do I primarily use the space for?
- Would it serve the space to change its functionality?
- What is the most important use of the space?
- Where is wasted time and energy occurring in the space?
You’re not organized? It’s not your fault!
When we are first invited into client’s homes, quite often one of the first things they say to us is: “I’m so sorry about the mess!” or “I’m so embarrassed”. Many people seem to view their disorganization as a flaw or weakness, fearing judgment. But, as professionals organizers, we are excited rather than repelled by the chance to work together with a client and create a new, organized space for them – without judgment or criticism.
As Julie Morgenstern (in Organizing from the Inside Out) so aptly puts it, “organizing is not a character flaw, it is a habit”. Here at Organizers Northwest, we couldn’t agree more. You don’t have a disorganized personality; you just don’t have organized habits set into place yet. And helping you set those habits are what we are all about; creating sustainable systems that keep themselves going – with a little help from you.
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