Going into the home of someone we don’t know to provide a service to them is what a professional organizer does. Clients don’t come to us, we go to them. And a home is a person’s private place, unlike walking into their place of work or business.
My profession is unique because essentially I’m in the kind of business that gets into other people’s business – like they way they live. I often see what other people never get to see and find out about things they never shared with anyone.
I’ve walked into homes where I was the first “outsider” to step foot in it for years since they were too embarrassed to have any guests over. This included their own children. Granted, most of those cases had extreme clutter, but some places were not so bad. And the places I felt were not so bad, the person felt it was bad enough to them because of their standard of living.
So it’s my job to make them feel comfortable in their own home when I’m in it essentially. After all, they entrusted me to come into their home when they wouldn’t let anyone else in, or were too ashamed to allow people see it, especially an outsider like me.
Some people will even make an attempt beforehand to put things in order before I come to put things in order for them. But I always ask them not to. The reason is that I need to see the whole picture to get to the bottom of the problem. If things have been tidying up in an area, I won’t know that things ever get tossed and accumulated in that area. And then I won’t be able to assess a solution that can resolve an issue I don’t see.
Aside from me getting into other people’s business, I’m also in the business of help. And as such, when I walk into a a person’s home, I’m are there to provide help, not criticism.
When I walk into a person’s home, I bring with me my skills, knowledge and experience. And this how I can commence in the process of changing their life. I can’t change a person’s life effectively if I bring hostility toward their environment and become critical of the way they live or how they do the things they do that got them in a such a mess. This doesn’t help them.
It’s really comes down to my outlook and attitude when I’m in a person’s home. I don’t see the room as a disorganized mess. I see how the room can be made better. I don’t delve into how terrible a condition that a person is living in. I visualize a place of sanctuary for them. I think people pick up on my attitude and even start visualizing the space becoming what they want it to be. This motivates them even more.
Most all those organizing shows I’ve seen on TV upset me because I see the professional organizer become critical, even hostile toward a person they are there to help. Some of the remarks I’ve heard them make prompted me to change the channel or turn off the TV even.
Maybe it’s all about the drama. A show has to have drama. When I was doing a particular organizing segment on TV, the producer wanted me to berate the girl I was organizing to make it more entertaining. I said I wouldn’t scold her since it wasn’t my nature to do that sort of thing. With all the producer’s prompting and suggestions on what I could say, I ended up being playful with the girl I was organizing and even made her laugh. To me, that was entertaining enough. The show aired but I was never asked to come back.
Bottom line is, it’s my job to build trust with a person when I’m in their home. The same applies to being at their place of work, but even more so in their private space among their private belongings and private papers. And the best way I know how to accomplish that trust is to be a professional. That means to act in such a way that they feel comfortable enough to tell and show me their deepest, darkest organizing problems. It doesn’t mean to be critical of them or their space.
And this is how I have spent 21 years making a difference in people’s lives. Feels good.