Cindy’s Weekly Wisdom
…with help from Amy Brady, Owner, The Clutter Consultants
Sometimes you feel that you’ll never get finished if you just declutter one item a day, or you feel so desperate about your situation that you need a radical change, and you need it now. You might be overwhelmed and emotionally bogged down by your clutter, but a professional organizer is not. Getting an outsider to help you form a plan of action, motivate and lead you through the steps of the organizing process is an essential launching point for many people.
Back on day 206, Deb J wrote a post about her former business as a declutter. She was so thorough, and I’m sure that those she helped felt blessed by her assistance. I highly recommend that you check out her post in addition to reading this one. I too have used professional declutterers on several occasions, although none who work like Deb J. I consider Amy Brady and Susan Stotesberry of The Clutter Consultants to be good friends and important helpers on my way to decluttering fame. These ladies have seen my dirty laundry, and I mean that literally!
Amy and Susan charge a flat rate for a minimum of three hours of work. One of the most common questions they get is “can you give me an estimate of the amount of time that this project will take?” This is difficult to do until they’ve seen the space and spent time working with the client, which is why most organizers charge by the hour. The size of space, time since it was last purged and organized, and how quickly a client makes decisions will all affect the time the project will take.
My experience says that if you go on past three hours, no matter how tempting that sounds at the beginning of the day, and you’ll be pooped. The way they generally work is that, side by side with their client and with great enthusiasm, they pull everything out, getting a “yeah” or “nay.” The items to be kept are placed with their similar items, and the things to be discarded are sorted by trash, recycle, give away, and (possibly) sell. They keep their clients focused, and they forbid wandering around the house putting things away. Drifting = distraction. (For more on the pitfall of distractions, see this post).
An entire area is emptied and examined, and the drawers, shelves, or floor are wiped clean. This is when the need for containers or a storage system is discussed. Not every bit of decluttering requires a trip to the store! Drawers are measured, clutter is measured; there’s no point in buying the wrong things. They help you put your items neatly away, like with like at the point of usage. Amy and Susan also give homework to clients between appointments – small, manageable chunks of the overall project that the client can conquer in order to keep momentum going. Homework also helps keeps costs down. They’ll even drop your things off at the thrift store on their way home. I always found that a three hour session spurred me on for at least another three hours on my own. That’s nine hours of decluttering for the price of three!
Why would you pay good money for someone to help you do something you could do yourself? Well, first of all, you probably pay lots of people for services you could do yourself – fitness trainer, manicurist, house keeper, lawn care, pool cleaning, even grabbing fast food for dinner. Besides, if it was so easy to do, wouldn’t you have already done it yourself? Even though I consider myself an expert declutterer and organizer now, there were times when I wasn’t and there were times when the challenge seemed so insurmountable that I needed help. I did have girlfriends offer, but when the junk is too high and wide, it can feel too shameful or possibly annoying to have friends trying to help.
And just so we can all marvel at the pictures of my eight year old’s room before and after a three hour visit from Susan, follow this link. In this case, I feel sure a picture’s worth a thousand words.
If you live in the U.S., and you’re interested in hiring a professional organizer, visit the website for the National Association of Professional Organizers, where you can enter your zip code and pull up a list of professional organizers in your area.
Today’s Declutter Item
Two more books cleared from the bookcase. Polar opposites these books, futuristic on one hand and ancient on the other. Either way we don’t need them but someone else will love them I am sure.
My Gratitude List
- Something that made me laugh ~ My daughter being silly and playing in her food. You think she would be past that stage by now since she is 22 in a couple of months.
- Something Awesome ~ Anthony Bourdain travel food show.
- Something to be grateful for ~ A relaxing day to recover from the long weekend.
- Something that made me happy ~ The good response to my questions today. I have been trying to get through as many as possible but with a house full of people and the cracking headache I have had all day I haven’t got far.
- Something I found fascinating ~ Sorry nothing to write here tonight.