What a Pro Organizer Looks For When Assessing Your Home?
The other day, I was chatting with another professional organizer who noted that during a first session, many clients often ask us if their house is the most cluttered we've ever seen. This gave me pause. I do get asked this all of the time. So how can we help new clients understand that comparing their home to others is not something that even occurs to us?

Most people have a strong awareness of their own challenges with clutter, and are often nervous about letting an organizer in to help them for the first time.  It takes a lot of courage and ownership to reach out to an organizer and ask for help. The standards that we hold for ourselves, including the judgments that we project onto people who are visiting our homes, can be harsh and sometimes prohibitive to change. 

To demystify the process of working with a pro organizer, here are some of the things you can expect us to notice during the first session. We share these items to help you understand how we work, what we DO notice, and where we identify places to suggest changes right at the outset. We are not focused on the presence of clutter itself, but on the visible patterns that will help us to break down the old systems and create better ones. 

Transitional Spaces. One of the first areas a pro organizer will notice are your transitional spaces. These are areas of the home that absorb a LOT of traffic, usually located near the front and back door. Since these spaces serve as the hub for all items that come in and out of the home multiple times a day, they cause a lot of stress when they are not organized. If the items that belong there (think purse, keys, backpacks, shoes and coats) are located outside of the entryway, like on the couch or floor, in the bedroom or kitchen, it tells us a key bit of information about your daily life, and points to the perfect place to start our organizing work to give you maximum change. 

Countertop Space. Another thing a pro organizer will look to is your surface space. A counter that is overflowing with items means that many things don't have a designated "home." In order for an item to be functional (ie: findable and useable) it must have a home. The process of homing things is part of what we help our clients to achieve. Empty countertops are also revealing: having everything put out of sight can mean that drawers and cabinets are stuffed, and items you use every day are not located at their point of use, causing daily frustration for you. We want to change that. 

Paper, Mail and Bills. Another thing professional organizers are trained to notice is paper piles. People tend to feel overwhelmed by paper, because each tiny piece can represent a task or obligation - sometimes ones that we didn't take action on. That's why we try to address this right away. We recommend organizing paper on it's own, separate from household items: that's because our brain is able to process through paper much more efficiently when that is the only thing we are working on. Creating a Quicksort file for paper that needs attention is a great way to keep paper in check after you've organized it. 

Bathroom and Kitchen Clutter. The bathroom and kitchen are two places where clutter builds up very easily. Expired food, first aid items, cosmetics, personal hygiene items and medications can get out of control if you don't declutter often. Pro organizers often ask clients to focus on those areas first, because they are easy, emotion-free areas of the home that are great for getting motivated to start. Throwing away expired things just feels good, and it's an easy decision. Starting in those two areas can really help to get the ball rolling. 

Our goal is to help our clients to create a new life for themselves - one founded on the value of teaching a "person to fish." We want to pass along skills and learning during our organization sessions. We never judge our clients. We are there to hold the space for them, support them through the process and help to galvanize change. If you decide to hire us, we will be there for you through every aspect of the project, and will steer you in direction that feels right for YOU. 

Want to know more about what it's like to work at Organizers Northwest? Read more here! If you have questions about working with us, reply to this email.

Happy Organizing!

Organizing Resources and Events

Room-By-Room Organizing Series, Month 4: The Living Room 

This blog is month 4 in a 12 month organizing series. To sign up to receive this series, visit this blog and use the right hand sidebar form to join the mailing list. 

This month, we dive into the living room! Since this area is primarily used for relaxing at the end of a long day, it can easily become a clutter magnet over time. Items from other areas drift into the space and get stuck there, making it a perfect target for this organizing challenge. Below, we have outlined a four-step process for tackling the living room.

Before starting in the living room, you should first ask yourself "what is the goal for this space? Often the living room becomes cluttered because it is trying to be too many things. Understanding what you want the room to be used for, and what it should NOT be for, will help define your space and give purpose to your organizing efforts. This is a really important step, so don't skip it. We recommend choosing three or four purposes for the room and not more. For example, you could designate it for TV, puzzles and games, reading and video games, while making the conscious choice to remove crafts, homework and office supplies from the area... Continue Reading...

Recycling Resource: Where to Recycle Styrofoam in PDX 

Styrofoam is a tricky material to recycle. Places that have taken styrofoam for recycling in the past in Portland do so intermittently, or stopped all together in recent months. We're happy to report that Agilyx in Tigard is currently taking styrofoam, at least for the foreseeable future. 

They are located at  7904 SW Hunziker Road, Tigard, OR 97223. For more information on recycling styrofoam at Agilyx, visit their FAQ Page. 
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