she is almost ready to invite friends over!
"I am feeling like a proud parent over here!" <3
Close your eyes and imagine your home exactly as you would like it to be…clutter free and ready for visitors! This project required a little more effort than that, but with a very motivated client to purge, several trips to the dumpster, and many trips St Vincent dePaul…
she is almost ready to invite friends over!
"I am feeling like a proud parent over here!" <3
Alright, so as you can clearly see the garage was in need of some help. It is a prime example of a project I put off at my own home because it was not a priority. I am often asked if my home is "perfect!" The answer is NO! Here is a good time for me to mention a couple key points on how I feel about organizing…
Ok, so back to my garage… With winter coming, I jumped at the opportunity to test out Monkey Bars for our yard tool storage in the garage. The garage was in need of some maintenance before the snow flew.
Overall, a great product! I have tried out other rail systems with clients that were a lot more complicated to install and did not have the variety in hooks. I am interested in trying out their bike rack system, but not until the spring since the snow was flying today!
Disclaimer: Life Organized learned about Monkey Bars Storage at the NAPO 2014 Conference in Phoenix. I was later asked to review a complementary product and chose the one pictured above. My review is my own personal opinion of the product and was not in any way influenced by Monkey Bars Storage
To say that we worked with a client slightly out of our usual geographic location would be an understatement. Today was an adventure and learning experience, but one well worth the trip. We sorted and organized approximately 3/4 of a 1000 sqft basement and transformed it into a space that the owners could use. It is safe to say that we also made a few friends along the way including a bald eagle, two cows, several turkeys, a fawn who just lost their spots, my new friend (in the picture below), and most importantly...clients for life!
I am so lucky to be able to go through an amazing journey and help change people's lives for the better. This is a difficult journey, but well worth the effort <3
Before I can answer that question, I need to tell you about an experience that I recently had. On a teleclass, there was a comment made about the term "hoarders." Until recently, it had been a term that I used much like the majority of people: to describe someone with an over abundance of stuff and who struggles to part with it. (That is the basic definition; however, there are other important missing pieces like the distress that the clutter causes.) The definition is not the where I am going… The term HOARDER, is used to describe the person. A person who probably does not first define themselves as a hoarder, but as a mother, a teacher, a wife, a daughter, a painter, a runner, a musician, etc. When a person struggles with anxiety, depression, or bipolar, I do not refer to that client as the anxious or depressed. That is out of line. The better way to address the label, if it must be used, is to talk about the person first and the condition second: my client has a hoarding tendency, or my client struggles with depression.
Do you work with Hoarders?
Yes, I do work with clients who struggle with hoarding tendencies. I do not diagnose hoarding or any other mental or physical health conditions. Many people who contact me asking about working with hoarders are either self-diagnosed or a family member who has diagnosed their loved one. If you truly feel out of control and have concerns that you fit the criteria for a diagnosis as a hoarder, please seek medical advice in addition to contacting an organizer. Organizers working in collaboration with mental health can be very beneficial to the client.
Can you help my ____?
Yes, I can help your loved one, but they have to be on board. Before I agree to meet with anyone in person for organizing help, I always request to talk by phone. I need to talk with the client--the person who's treasures I will be sorting-- to be sure I am a good fit and it is not a hostile environment. Remember, just because their way of living is not agreeable to you does not mean they think they need help, or want help.
How quickly can you clean it up?
This is a tough question and I do not have a standard answer. The situation did not escalate to the current state over night and I can not, and will not clean it up over night. I firmly believe that in order to help the client process parting with their belongings, they need to be very hands on and make most of the decisions. I always want the client to be in charge (not their family or myself.) There is no typical timeline, and with any organizing client, it will be based on their needs.
How much will it cost?
Again, this depends greatly on the time that it takes and the need to bring in other service providers. If the client has family and friends who are willing and able to help move stuff out, haul it away, etc, then it can save the client some money. If it will only be the client and myself processing their keep, sell, toss/recycle, and donations then plan on it taking much longer. Some clients will feel safer as the process moves forward to invite others to help.
NO BLAME OR SHAME ZONE!
Family and friends who are invited by the client to help with the sessions or homework are urged to not engage in blaming or shaming talk or behavior. Clients who are in crisis are fragile and often are feeling some of those emotions already. It is a big step to reach out for help or to allow others to offer it. Encourage with positive talk and encouragement.
Clearing out the excess clutter is only the beginning. Clients who struggle with hoarding tendencies will need to learn some techniques for addressing their habits and spend time setting up systems to help them maintain their homes long term. Again, I really suggest working with a therapist. Consider finding someone who works with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT.) You can find local therapists by contacting your insurance or looking online. Psychology Today provides an online directory and you can specify what you are looking for.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions that you have about my work with clients. I am always happy to answer questions by phone or email!
You have decided to sell and your real estate agent has suggested that you declutter. You decide to start in the living room. When you walk in, you look around and notice that you have "things" out, but they are useful and used every day. You decide to start in another room...
Realtors and stagers do not have any emotional attachment to your things, and it is easier for them to point out the obvious "clutter." Be realistic about what it means to have your home on the market. You want others to picture living there, and their lifestyle may be very different than yours.
It is very important to make sure your home is ready for it's closeup!
Buyers will most likely have their first impression based on photos they will see online. This is where I suggest the staging start! Take a camera and stand at the curb, entrance to each room, and furthest corner from the door in each room. Snap a photo from each one of those locations. Then, upload them on your computer, and take a look, a real close look. Consider having someone such as a friend, family member, or neighbor help with this process and ask for their brutal honesty. What do you want potential buyers to notice about each room? What is the first thing you notice about each photograph? Is it what you want buyers to notice?
Many times, the answer to that question in…NO!
Make a list of things that need to be done BEFORE you have the pictures taken for your listing. Dedicate the time to get as many of those tasks done. All the time you put into making your house the bast it can possibly show, will help sell it faster. Buyers do not want to have to rehang doors, touchup paint, and clean before they move in. All of those things that you take care of for them, means a larger selling price.
Once listing pictures go online, and buyers see them, it is hard to undo the damage. Consider learning a little about living a minimalist lifestyle temporarily…who knows, you might even like it!
I had so much fun today working with a client, that I had to share what we worked on…before it was completed! This is my first pro bono project of 2014, and I am thankful for the opportunity to help out these small businesses! The space is an amazing industrial space that has been repurposed to house several small businesses. It is required to wear many hats including: offices, small and large meeting spaces, art studio, children's play area, kitchen, library, and storage… WOW!
The space was functioning, but not to the level that the ladies would have liked. The organization of the spaces was in need of an outsider's opinion. As with all my clients, first questions included: How is the space used? Who uses the spaces? What is working? What is not working?
We do have a couple of other changes to make in the future, which will include some partition walls to provide some much needed privacy to sensitive areas, as well as creating a more warm entry way. For now, they will use the newly defined spaces and be fabulous!
"Big organizing projects are what we all aspire to accomplish, but what about the little guys? You know, the things that you often take for granted every day, but could make a big difference in your overall mood."
Let's look at a very simple project: organizing scarves. Many of us own them, some of us a few, and others...a few more... So how do you store them? Some people like to fold them in a drawer. For me, this has never worked. First of all, they never remain folded for any meaningful period of time, and second of all, I forget to wear them...out of sight, out of mind! So the obvious place for me to store them is hanging. The problem: the “solution” that I bought was suppose to solve all my scarf woes. A nifty hanger with holes to pull all my scarves through. Perfect for hanging in the closet. Perfect right? Not so much actually. Once the scarves were on the “solution” hanger, it was difficult to add more to the lower holes without getting everything all tangled. What ended up happening in the end was a pile of scarves tossed over my bedroom chair...
The solution: a multi-tier over the door towel bar. Cost: minimal. Usability: super! I have to admit that I am not a huge fan of over the door hangers (for myself). I prefer things to be put away, that said, I was looking for function over form for this, and I think it is the perfect solution. Even professional organizers have to take their own advise and remind themselves to find systems that work for us...
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