You’ve transformed your client’s office from warzone to workspace. They’re thrilled with the results, and you’ve snapped some impressive photos to add to your professional organizing portfolio—but is your work done?
Not quite! As any professional organizer can tell you, there’s a lot more to the organizing industry than “tidying up.” Setting your client up with a slick organization system will only work if you can get the system to stick—and that means helping your client develop a few positive organization habits.
Wondering where to start? These 6 basic habits will help your clients stay organized long after you’ve put the finishing touches in place!
1. Decide what daily chores are essential…
When many people think about cleaning, they imagine spending hours—even a whole day—vacuuming, scrubbing, and tidying. Since they don’t spend their Sunday cleaning, they just don’t do it.
But cleaning becomes a lot more manageable if you do a little bit at a time. Help your clients come up with a list of essential daily chores. Done every day, these won’t take much time at all. They’ll save your client from a wasted weekend and keep your client’s space under control. Try adding chores like:
- Washing the dishes
- Sorting the mail
- Making the beds
- Wiping down kitchen and bathroom surfaces
- Doing a ten-minute tidy
2. … and which ones can aren’t
As soon as a daily chore list becomes too long, your client will have difficulty keeping up with it. After a long day at work, a quick five-chore checklist is manageable—but add a few more chores to the list, and suddenly things change. Help your client figure out where they can (temporarily) cut corners in their cleaning process.
3. Pick spaces to be messy
What’s that? Willingly welcome disorder into your home? That’s right. Above all else, professional organizers have to be practical about their clients’ needs and lifestyles. No house looks like a show-home all the time—messiness happens, and it can even be good for you. Home offices, closets, and junk drawers are all spaces where a little mess is okay. As long as your client can find everything they need, it doesn’t have to look good.
4. One in, one out
This can be a hard rule to stick with for the clutter-prone, but it’s a good way to cut down on disorder. Every time your client buys something new, they have to get rid of an old equivalent. New jeans/pillow/mug purchased = old jeans/pillow/mug tossed. Your client can still bring new things into their home, but this rule keeps a cap on the number of possessions floating around at any time. Plus, it can help save them money—every time they think about buying something new, they have to decide if it’s worth saying goodbye to an old favorite.
5. Store things where you use them
It seems simple, but many people can get overly optimistic when they’re organizing. The basement closet might seem like the perfect place for your client to store their vacuum since it’s out-of-the-way. But keeping it locked away down there might mean that a) your client neglects to vacuum because they don’t want the hassle of getting it out, and/or b) when they do use it, they don’t put it away. Help your client be realistic about their storage.
6. Make it fun
Some people love cleaning and tidying; they find it satisfying or relaxing. Unfortunately, most of us don’t—that’s why your clients contacted you in the first place! Washing the dishes, decluttering the hall closet, or cleaning the bathtub may never be fun for your client, but they can work on ways to make chores a little more bearable. Putting on music or a movie while you tidy can make a big difference for some. For others, a little reward is all it takes—maybe they’ll decide to treat themselves to a relaxing night in or dinner out with friends after they’re done.