So here I’m going to give you a little breakdown of the process that I use.
When the client books a consultation, I ask them to summarize what areas of their home they would like to improve. I will also ask some important questions as to what condition the home is in. At this point, I am not interested in accepting cases of severe hoarding, such as may involve hazardous living conditions and pest/vermin infestation. (I politely request all potential clients to be honest; it will be a waste of both your time and mine for me to arrive and immediately turn around.)
It also important to note that I am not here to assist one person in going through another person’s belongings without their consent. Anyone involved in the decluttering and organization must provide written consent of their items being involved in the process.
Important: For safety reasons, I may or may not choose to be accompanied to a client’s home by a person of my choosing. They will not be a part of the walk through. If at any moment I feel uncomfortable or at risk of harm, I will leave with my companion.
On the day of the consultation, I request that all involved parties be present. We will do a walk through of the home (or in the specific areas requiring attention.) I will write down my initial observations, jotting down any quick ideas or solutions that come to mind. I will then ask each of the involved parties to tell me their observations. For example, “When you look at this space, what is the first thing your eye is drawn to that you are unhappy with?”
I will write down each of their “complaints”, as you will, and then move on to the next person. In family situations, it’s not uncommon to hear the first thing mentioned by each individual to all be the same!
We will do this for each area that is needing attention. This may involve every single room of the house, or maybe just the kitchen, or the bedroom closets. As we walk, the involved parties might start sharing their ideas of what could work to remedy the situation, or their vision for the end result. I record all of these details too!
Provided that I have the consent of the client(s), I will take pictures of the spaces, to show the “before” state of disorganization.
Once we have finished the walk through, we sit down together and create the plan, which is made up of several lists. I am a list maker; I love making lists and I love the satisfaction of checking things off!
The first list is the Order of Priority. As you might guess from its straightforward title, we use this list to determine the order we want to get things done in. Number one on the list is top priority and we work our way down.
The second list is the First Ten Tasks. We create this list by choosing the tasks that need to be completed that are relevant to our Order of Priority. Even if there are many, many tasks needing to be done, we start with ten. Once those ten have been completed, we can decide the Next Ten Tasks.
The third list is the Clients’ Personal To-Do List. This list is comprised of tasks that I assign to the client(s) for them to complete on their own time, preferably before the next visit. This list may include things such as purchasing needed shelves or storage containers, removing large furniture items from a space, or researching new fixtures/appliances/furniture items for the space being worked on.
Once we have agreed to a plan and all necessary paperwork has been signed, we are ready to start! Depending on the length of the consultation and schedule availability, I am often more than willing to jump right into the clutter the same day! First day clean-up generally involves either removal of all unnecessary clutter (such as taking out all of the garbage and recyclables) or the initial sorting process, which involves putting like items together (such as each involved client’s personal items, all paperwork, all DVDs in the proper area, etc.)
It is preferred for client(s) to provide their own garbage bags, recycling bags, and boxes, but if necessary, I can provide them. I will always bring disposable gloves for my own personal use.
At the end of the appointment, we will schedule our next session. Depending on schedule availability and a client’s drive to complete the process, we can schedule multiple sessions in advance and to even do several days in one week.
I am extremely passionate about what I do, and I hope my enthusiasm for organization will inspire you to seek out the greatest potential for your home!