05 Sep What does working with a professional organizer look like?
I have been a professional organizer for so long that I actually remember a time when most people had no idea what an organizer actually was! This was long before the TV shows, long before all the books, articles, blogs, etc. were ubiquitous (ooooh, big word!) and before the idea of hiring a “professional organizer” was commonplace.
Way back in the olden days when I first started out (1997), I would tell people I was an organizer and they would say, “of what? Political rallies? Parties? What?” I would sigh and patiently explain that no, I didn’t organize political rallies, I help those people who want to transform their life from chaos and disorder to harmony and…well, order.
photo courtesy of: TheGuardian.com
So what have I learned since then about how the process works?
The main lesson I learned very early on is…it’s not about your stuff! You really want it to be, but it’s not.
For the last week, I have been lovingly shepherding a secret Facebook group of about 15 women through a Decluttering Breakthrough journey. Most of them came to the group thinking I would be doling out the usual organizing tips and tricks: where to put this, how to containerize that, where to buy this fabulous gewgaw that will change your life, etc. etc. etc.
Nothing could be farther from how it has come down!
The way I have been guiding, nudging, prodding and encouraging these amazing women is to DIVE DEEP into their emotional and mental clutter, without instructing them in any way how to move their crap around. The amazing thing is that one by one, as the light bulb has come on, each of them have come to realize and acknowledge that their clutter has far deeper roots then just not knowing where to put their things. And they have been diving deep. They have put, as researcher/storyteller Brené Brown says, “courage over comfort”. It takes a special person at a special time in their life to do that. I am so honored and grateful to witness their process.
Over the last few days, it has been so beautiful to watch as they uncover the buried layers of grief, rage, rebelliousness, frustration, sadness, loneliness and the feeling that no one is there to take care of them, peeling back the brick wall of unconscious and historical refusal to look at these painful feelings. They have posted photos, opened their hearts to the group and to each other and really come up with revelations that have released them from DECADES of quiet pain and suffering. They have located the courage to open up to what lies there, deep under their external chaos and it hasn’t been easy. But is has been worthwhile.
And here’s the miraculous thing: as they uncover and gently confront these ugly, festering, neglected, uncomfortable feelings, one by one, they are making fast work of actually organizing their environment. The sluggishness and overwhelm that plagued them in the past has all but disappeared and in a matter of HOURS (not days or weeks), things are getting accomplished that had been on their to do list forever, but they could never seem to get to.
By the way, Brené Brown says the original definition of the word courage in the English Language is “to tell your story with your whole heart“. I love that definition because it is so true. It takes courage to be excruciatingly vulnerable, but the payoff is so darn good, that in the long run, it’s totally worth it.
This is how we at In Perfect Order work with our clients onsite: we get under the physical clutter to release the root cause, so that it never comes back. Our focus is the underlying mental and emotional junk that has been just sitting there, eating at your self-esteem, your ability to focus, to have friends or clients come over, bleeding from your precious time, money, relationships.
So, what might this look like when we are working together side by side?
We take a kitchen counter, bathroom sink, bedroom closet, garage, wherever the clutter seems to accumulate and we have you touch everything. No cutting corners, or “I’ll do that later”, we just do it right now. We are here, we are willing, let’s do this. NOW. And it gets done.
When you hit a sticky, uncomfortable emotion, either because you are prompted by an item you just picked up, or because the process of moving these items has unexpectedly brought up a yucky feeling, we are here to guide you through. And like what happens when you go to the gym on a regular basis, you get stronger and more agile at letting go as you practice doing it.
Then things begin to shift. And it’s often not comfortable. It feels different. It feels weird.
Maybe your spouse walks in the room and says something about how great the room is starting to look, but you hear it as, “why didn’t you do this sooner?” or “why couldn’t you do this on your own?“. Guess what? It doesn’t matter what they said or what you heard. What matters is how are you going to declutter the shame and guilt and embarrassment that you carry about the past that filters what people say into what you believe about yourself?
Each situation is unique, so there is no typical appointment, everyone has their own style that needs to be taken into consideration and pace that needs to be respected. We make sure that what we bring is deep listening skills, support, guidance, expertise, FUN and compassion to ease the transition.
I can promise you one thing: if you don’t anticipate your discomfort and prepare for it, you might not only quit five minutes before the miracle, but no matter how far you have gotten, you will likely backslide to where you were before. Or worse. Just like losing a lot of weight, if you aren’t ready for the discomfort of change— even if the change is for the better—- you will most likely go back to the old, comfortable way, just because it’s familiar.
And that’s why we make sure to work with you on multiple visits, not just once. We want to lovingly, gently but firmly, hold you accountable for your goals and the results and ease the transition to the new way of being in your space. And we want to follow up to make sure the program we have outlined for you works well in your real life.
You get a heart and mind and schedule cleared of the emotional junk AND a house cleared of the stuff that no longer serves you. What a deal!
To hear more about upcoming Declutter Breakthrough Facebook Group sessions and Diving Deep webinars:
Remember, I am on your team!
..· ´¨¨)) -:¦:-
((¸¸.·´ ..·´ Jessica -:¦:-
If you are ready for big time help and you live in Vermont, Los Angeles, New York City or the Vero Beach or Palm Beach area in Florida, we can work with you over time . (this also can be done from anywhere by phone or Skype)
If you’d like to kick butt and have the time, energy and resources to invest in a One Week Clearout, we can come and help you completely revolutionize your workspace or entire home in just 4-6 days, anywhere in the US or Canada!