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In my last column, I wrote about things I say to comments often made by my clients. This month, I wanted to share with you some things I do not say to my clients. What’s the point in telling you things I would never say? Well, I guess if you never read on you will never know.
I do not tell people they have to get rid of all their stuff. I have had almost-strangers say to me after our first introduction, “I don’t want you in my house. You’ll make me throw everything away.” I do encourage folks to keep only what is of value to them. Is it family? History? Expired food? The purging process is very complicated because it can cause feelings of excitement and liberation while simultaneously creating feelings of anxiety and sadness. Yikes. Humans are complicated. Sometimes I wish I were a dog. They do not seem to have to deal with such things, it is either eat or sleep. Life gets complicated for them when someone throws a ball.
I do not tell people their room will be well-organized if and only if they order an entire section from IKEA or Pottery Barn. Usually I get what I need at local discount and dollar stores. First and foremost, however, I do adhere to the green philosophy of reusing what the client has in their home. I have repurposed empty baby formula containers to hold markers, scissors and other craft items. I also have used a variety of mismatched and worn out tables, carts, and desks to create an area for flower arranging area in the basement of a client who is an avid gardener. If you look closely at the furniture you will see a couple of the carts are missing wheels and the desk is propped up by a leg to which it used to be attached. It works because it does not have to be pretty, just functional.
I do not tell people the organizing process is easy, fun or quick. A hard sell, I know. I do tell them they will probably be tired every time they finish working with me and often, they will not look forward to me coming, but once I am there they will be glad I came. I tell them I know they can think of many more fun things they could be doing, but doing those other things will not get them any closer to achieving their goal of getting organized and making their life easier.
I will admit that my clients often cry when I am working with them. I do not think it has ever been because I made them upset. Generally the tears are a result of a memory being recalled or the stress of finally making a decision that had been put off for months, often years. This is not something that will be fixed in a week and it will get worse before it gets better and yes, sometimes it gets a lot worse. But I promise them it will get better and it does.
You can use what you already have in your home to organize the things you love. The process is challenging, not boring, and slightly time consuming. You will have a space that reflects who you are. You will be surrounded by the things you love and be able to spend time with those you love, because your time and energy is not being poured into something that does not love you back.
Amy Keeling Walton is owner of The Neat Freak Professional Organizing in Bardstown. If you have a question for this column, email email@example.com.