Your clients’ favorite place to go for home advice is probably the Internet. They’ll find a wealth of blogs, lists, pin boards, and vlogs telling them the best ways to get their homes organized and keep them that way. Some of the information online is very useful and will help your clients get an idea of what to expect from working with you.
The problem with Internet “tips and tricks,” however, is that not every post is written by professionals. Often, the advice your clients will find comes from another client’s personal experience. Those tips might have worked well for that person’s space, but that doesn’t make them the best strategy for your client’s home. There’s no template for professional organizing.
Here are five common tips that might not help you organize your client’s space!
1. Buy containers first
Common tip: There’s no sense in starting the organization process if you don’t have anywhere to put things! The best first step is to buy drawers, racks, or bins to neatly place things in.
Reality: Buying containers before you’ve cleared out the space can actually do the opposite of what you’re hoping.
- Buying drawers and racks before you’ve de-cluttered and analyzed the room might just take up more space
- Buying too many containers because you don’t know what you’re keeping yet wastes money
- Buying too few containers because you didn’t anticipate how much stuff there was wastes time because you’ll need to go back for more
De-clutter first and organize second. It’s true that you’ll need space to put things in order to start organizing, but you can probably create that space by clearing out things that your client doesn’t need. Once you’ve de-cluttered, you’ll see how much space you already have to work with and how much storage you need to create.
2. Get it done at once
Common tip: Organization can be tackled in a day if you just make the time to get it done. Set aside eight hours and dive right in. It’ll feel like a marathon, but the sooner you get it done, the better you’ll feel.
Reality: Barely anyone, professional or otherwise, can organize an entire space from start to finish in one day. You might clean the room in that time, but you won’t solve the problem. Trying to marathon-organize with a time limit:
- Puts pressure on the situation
- Tires you out
- Increases stress if you don’t finish
Organization is a process. Work on the space in sections of time so you can analyze what needs to be done as you go. Help your clients understand that de-cluttering, cleaning, and establishing a better system of organization takes longer than one eight hour work day. Trying to cram it into that time frame could result in frustration and poor results.
3. Get it done at all costs
Common tip: It doesn’t matter what order you do things in, as long as you get them done! If you’re tired of one task, set it down for now and move onto another. The goal is just to get it done.
Reality: You should organize in steps. If you don’t have the energy to finish one part of the process, don’t move on to the next thing yet. Put it down, take a break for a couple hours, and come back to it.
Try not to move on until you’ve finished what you started. You won’t have much luck organizing a room if the process itself is disorganized. Leaving loose ends unfinished will:
- Make a bigger mess
- Get in the way of other projects
- Confuse you and slow you down
Take it one step at a time and finish each one completely before you move on.
4. Do it yourself
Common tip: Help is nice, but only your client knows what they need, use, and can afford to get rid of. Letting friends help you organize can get stressful and you’ll spend all day telling them what to do. You’ll probably get things done more effectively yourself.
Reality: Having a client’s friend give input while you organize is beneficial.
- They can give you new perspective
- They’re an outside view, but they visit often enough to know the space
Listen to others to learn what the real problems are. You might think the solution is to get your client’s massive DVD collection under control so guests can actually sit down. Your client’s friend, however, can tell you that the real problem is the couch itself. You thought the sofa looked lumpy underneath the blanket, but it’s really a huge throw pillow collection that consumes anyone who sits down!
5. Expecting too much
Common tip: Check out the pictures on blogs, pin boards, and in magazines to get inspiration, ideas, and motivation. Your space could look just like that when you’re finished!
Reality: Pictures that look like they came from a catalogue are certainly motivating, but remind your client that no one’s home ever stays like that. Unless they organize every day, hire a cleaner, or stop using the room all together, it simply won’t look as pristine as the blogs every single day.
Even well-organized spaces need to be re-organized. Your clients use the rooms in their home, so keeping them coordinated is an ongoing task. The work you do now, however, will:
- Stop clutter from taking over other spaces
- Relieve stress at least temporarily
- Take care of mess at its source rather than just making it look tidy
You know more than you think
Tips and tricks from popular sources can be very helpful, but you’re the expert. Just because your clients saw a particular organizational tactic on Pinterest doesn’t mean it’s the best thing to do. Be confident, explain your recommendations, and build a system of organization that is right for that client.