Today I had a follow up meeting with one of my clients. I look forward to these meetings to see the progress on the space we have worked together on. It isn’t uncommon to fall back in old patterns and get disorganized in a short time. In fact according to classes I took through NAPO, it is probably more common than not.
My client hired me a couple months ago to organize her kitchen and guest room. She was pretty organized in general. Her house looked very tidy and not cluttered at all. On our first intake call, she told me that she struggled with not enough storage space in her kitchen and that she is using additional space in the garage as pantry. She also mentioned that she keeps buying groceries and other items again because she forgot that she had them. She was at the point that she considered moving into a bigger space.
That was a signal for me that there were probably some hidden patterns which create disorganization. Most likely that we’ve accumulated too much stuff over time and at the same time haven’t purged, when new items came into the home.
A few months ago, working with her in the kitchen, we quickly realized she owned a lot of items. she doesn't use. At some point these items were very useful to her; but by now have been replaced with more effective and newer ones. By purging all this unused kitchen items we were able to create a lot of free space which we filled with the groceries previously stored in the garage. This made it much easier for her to create her shopping lists because she had a better overview of what she had.
We also created work zones, which not only made working in the kitchen more effective and less time consuming. She didn’t have to walk as much anymore to get all her supplies together. Some of the free space we used to store all her paper towels and napkins, which before she had stored upstairs. She loved the fact that her items were now so easily accessible. In addition, we created one cabinet for all her medical supplies, which before she had more than one location in the house. That made it difficult for her to always know where exactly which medicine was located. There were even a few shelves that were empty!
At today’s visit, I was very pleased to see that the system we created worked well for her and her family and there hasn’t been really anything she wants to change. While we created the system, we used a lot of cardboard boxes as bins and basket for storage. I recommend my clients not buying any bins unless it has proved itself to be useful.
Currently we are ready for the fun part of organizing; We now can replace all the used cardboard boxes with nice bins and containers which give it the finishing touch. Some clients just prefer to use the boxes we started with, and not spend any more money. If you do decide to buy storage supplies, ask your professional organizer about discounts at stores. Organizers often have memberships that allow them to get discounts for supplies helpful in their industries and most organizers are happy to pass them to their clients.
My clients currently receive a 25% discount at Storables, and 10% off at the Container Store. I offer to buy storage supplies for my clients if they wish. I can also accompany them in the store. If you go and buy the supplies on your own, remember to take a list with all the measurements. I also offer my clients to create a list with bin ideas for them. Often organizers have a better knowledge on what is available on the market. It’s what we do all the time.
When we were about to finish our follow-up meeting; she mentioned that she did organize her kids closets. As a professional organizer, I was of course eager to see her end result. On our first assessment meeting, she showed me every place in her house and I gave her some ideas on how she could organize their closets. It made me very happy to see that she turned a lot of my ideas into reality. It really speaks to my heart and I feel I accomplished my goal if I see that I was able to pass along my organizing ideas and skills to my clients.
Organizers work with clients sometimes for months or even years. Because getting organized is a process where we not only organize the space we also work on changing behaviors and old habits. And whether you try to do more exercise, eat healthy, read more… it all takes time to establish that new habit. Research has shown that the ideal time to create a habit is 21 days. I’d love to organize and instill new habits in your home!