I am doing an out of town organizing job that is huge and inspiring. This morning we spent a little time cleaning out a closet at client’s home. The client and her husband has husband’s father living with them since father’s wife died not too long ago.
It is a very long and complicated story–so to simplify I will just say that the father did not think he had given permission for us to clean out closet. So when he started objecting as a helper was carrying things out, I came out to see what was wrong as client was absent for the moment. I used my empathic listening skills to help put him at ease, and after about five minutes, he was calm again. I was pretty surprised, because during the two days I have been here he has been as sweet as can be. But actually, I was glad to see him stand up for himself.
Client came out and talked to him a little bit and we both reassured him that nothing was being thrown away except for two tiny objects which we showed to him. We also shared that we were finding treasures and now we were going to be able to sort them better.
The closet was a piece of cake. just took less than an hour to clean out a big closet stuffed with stuff. Then back to client’s mom’s house. The only complaints she had was that she could not find some dirty towels, and she wanted to make sure her valuable items that had been in the hall were accessible. We dealt with that.
Once again we have a team of four people plus a go-fer and we are working non-stop to be done by 7pm. The garage which was getting rather out of hand with 200 boxes of papers is taking shape as we quickly go through the biggest problem–paper. We are just emptying out boxes which are of lots of awkward sizes into uniform size boxes. The small ones at U-haul work great. Now we are stacking them against the wall for stability along with some bins of material that had been packed. We also cleaned off a book case in the den and now it is polished and looks fabulous. We are decreasing the bulk of paper by at least one half because of re-organizing and throwing away obvious things like forms, magazines, junk mail and newspapers.
All the knick knacks go in shallow boxes and are out in the living room to be sorted. The small stuff just gets thrown in the small stuff box–maybe never to be gone through. “Don’t sweat the small stuff” is one of my biggest time saver.
We all have our roles. Client sorts papers I don’t quickly see as junk. Assistant strong man empties trash, transports boxes, sorts papers, and does odd jobs. Cleaner cleans. Go-fer shops, works on vaccuum cleaner, and is on hand for any errands.
I better get back to work. I was going to take a walk but just couldn’t resist writing. I also needed to sit down for a minute! I have not sat down since I started at 10:45 and it is now 4:30 or so.
I hope my description helps give you some ideas for organizing a huge job.