HELP! I Need You to Help Me Organize!
You may not be one of them, but many people need help getting organized, and the reasons they need help may surprise you.
People often ask me about the TV shows on hoarders. They usually get around to saying something like, “I want some help, but I don’t want to be criticized and ordered around.”
No kidding! In my experience that kind of bullying “assistance” doesn’t help anyway. All it does is make people lock up!
Understanding the Need…
The first thing I need to know is, “What is bothering you about this?”
It might seem like a strange question, if every horizontal surface is a foot deep in papers and clutter, with only paths through it for walking. But the important detail is was, “What is bothering YOU about it?” This is not my project:
I mean whose project is it anyway?
Bernice (not her real name) was frustrated that she couldn’t find anything. She could barely walk, so she needed everything that she used on a regular basis right within reach of her spot on the sofa.
Her coffee table was command central, but with everything there, she couldn’t find anything at all. She was so overwhelmed by the piles of paper and clutter that she had just given up.
Making matters more challenging was that Bernice was still deeply grieving the loss of her late husband. Every time we found something that he had used, Bernice felt his loss again. She couldn’t bear to throw away even old scribbled grocery lists that he had written.
So of course we saved them. We made a special box for those things and put them aside.
We worked together very slowly just a few hours at a time over a long period of time, because that was the rate that she wanted to go.
As we progressed, Bernice felt comfortable letting go of more and more things. In the end, we had removed all of the clutter from the floors, cleared off the furniture so that you could use each for its intended purpose, and we turned a formerly inaccessible bedroom into an office.
The key was doing it her way, her pace, with her goals. Because whose project was it? That project was HER project.
I’m interested to hear about other people’s experiences with professional organizers. Did they listen to your goals and respect your decisions?
Contact me for your next organizing project