One thing that I have learned is that with my clients, I just get things out so they can see what they have. I pre-sort as much as possible and help them get things into the categories that come naturally. Then we put things away in such a manner that less room is taken up and they can find their stuff. Of course, they get rid of a ton of things naturally just through the process.
One of my secrets is using shallow boxes that I get from Aldi’s to keep things separated and orderly during the process. I keep collecting lots of boxes just to bring and have ready in case of need–which is almost always.
One thing that I have learned is to go with the flow of the client, and to be sensitive to how he or she works so that the client is not too stressed out. I encourage the client just do what they do best–sort. I do the grunt work like pre-sorting, carrying fresh piles of similar stuff so that they don’t get too overwhelmed, labeling things, and putting things away.
For example, if I take a bunch of stuff out of a cabinet like I did for a recent client, I put the papers in one pile, odd small things in another, magazines in another, computer stuff in another. This helped my client to focus on one type of thing, and thus makes the job seem less overwhelming.
One final thing I have learned that is immensely important. Finding a place for everything is good–but it is better to clear out a space completely, sort it, and then deal with small confusing things later. I usually categorize a box of small stuff in a shallow box so the client can look through it quickly and pick out whatever is important. The rest can be dealt with later.
Don’t sweat the small stuff is definitely important when I work, because if it is small, and unimportant, then it can be stored easily without taking up a lot of space. Having an increasing number of spaces where there is a minimum of clutter, and a place for everything is the goal. Dealing with small things at the very end of the organizing process when they are all grouped together can be a process in itself. And if they are never organized–well, since the client has looked through everything and taken out the essentials, it is not that big of a deal.
I’ve been working with one client for the past 6 months or so. We take a closet or some other manageable space and work on it for about four hours.
I hope that you enjoyed hearing some of my main tips–and would love to hear some of yours. And I would be happy to talk to you about organizing your space.