I am more than than an organizer

No matter where we serve our clients, our organizing practice goes beyond putting a cluttered environment in order. Our profession leads us to serve as teachers, trainers, motivators, and to some degree, therapeutic tools for our clients in order to create a positive change in their lives.

As teachers, we instruct clients to become their own best organizers by helping them to recognize that their space can become functional and beautiful, their time can be managed effectively, and their energy can be spent productively and creatively. When I work with clients to de-clutter a particular area within their home, they often want to rush from one area to another and not complete the designated section at hand. When this occurs, I remind them that organizing, which often entails de-cluttering first, is a process that requires planning and patience. Clients who understand this concept and are ready for it, discover that they have more than they need, find misplaced items, recognize that their space should be used for items that are necessary and essential, and learn to control or at least avoid unwanted clutter.

As trainers, weekly visits with clients help them put into practice basic organizing techniques to control unwanted clutter. When we work on paper management, clients know that we will be working with the same supplies each week: shredder, trash bags, envelope or folders for items to be shredded at a later time, and labeler if we will be creating files for storage. If we are working on an area with miscellaneous items, clients become involved in the process of sorting and categorizing so they can decide what items will be donated, trashed, kept, sold, returned, dry cleaned, laundered or re-gifted.

These are some of the most common categories I have encountered in my home organizing practice, and there may be others depending on the client. What is important is that clients understand that this is a methodology that will lead to freedom from housing space invaders and accumulation of dust collectors.

As motivators, professional organizers provide support, in addition to their experience and expertise. One client shared with me that she felt motivated and energized when we tackled her clutter together. I felt so pleased that my services were appreciated and needed. Another client said, "I’m beginning to realize how important it is to teach children the value of being organized." Over time, a bond is created between clients and organizers that includes not only a professional relationship, but a friendship where trust and confidence exist. Clients often begin to share their life experiences, which can be very therapeutic and strengthen the bond.

The end result is for our clients to know that we are there to support them in this and guide them in reaching their goals.

Cynthia Braun is a certified professional organizer for Nassau County, New York