Recently I have been studying the process of decision-making, specifically when emotions are involved. It’s not necessarily light reading but it is fascinating trying to figure out why some people will keep a waded up tissue or hundreds of pairs of flip flops. And in both of those specific cases I know they wanted to be able to move on without those items but couldn’t let go. So how do we as professional organizers give them the tools needed to break free from these distractions?
1) Get Help. Determine whether they might need more help then you can give. In the case of the flip flops, the client just needed someone to say its okay to let them go and then help them trim down their collection to those which they will still use. In the case of the waded up tissue, the client needed to really examine her emotions and therefore I recommended a psychologist who could help her through the process.
2) Life isn’t Real Simple. Understand client expectations may not be the same as yours. Sometimes we as organizers want to make every space as perfect as possible, but our showcase ready homes don’t always work in real life application.
3) Question everything. Instead of telling a client what they need to let go, I ask questions. What is this? Why is this here? Would someone else benefit from this item? I use questions to lead them to make their own decisions instead of me telling them what to do, because ideally the ultimate goal is to work myself out of a job.
4) Snap out of it. For sentimental items that take up a lot of space, I recommend taking pictures. Photos take up far less space and generally last longer.
4) State the obvious. Obviously they have hired you to give them direction and guide them in moving forward, but the final decision is really up to them.