It happened. I got stumped with a client. I could not figure out how to organize him. I really was at a loss as to how to help him. I tried so many different techniques and finally I found the one that worked, well it really was a combination or sorts. You see this is no ordinary client; he is a 6 year old boy. I was called because mom could not figure out how to organize his room. I have three boys and I get how the minds of boys work and I came in with confidence as to how to help her. I have read all of the organizing books on working with creative people. Boy was I wrong. This young man has a keen sense of adventure. Where one scrap of blue tissue paper could hold so much possibility! I saw a piece of trash….he saw water for his train scenes. Where I saw little tiny pebbles…..he saw the results of demolition from a tiny adventure landslide. So what is a mom to do with such a creative mind and high sense of adventure? We talked at length about how important it is to figure out ways to stay organized even with boxes of “rubbish”, his words, not mine. Here is what I finally found that worked.
1. Respect their “rubbish”. When I work with clients I never assume that something is garbage. I always have them touch it and throw it away. They are the final decision maker, not me. Or as my new saying goes, “One professional organizers trash is another boy’s treasure”.
2. Put limits on the amount that can be kept. I did this with my youngest son and his collections. I simply gave him a container and said that he could keep whatever could fit in the container. I also did this with a girl and her stuffed animals. We established how many she could keep and we had the others go and live in space bags under the steps. She could sway out at any time, but she had to stick with the same number at all times.
3. Surrender and let someone else do it for you and trust in their process. Sometimes it is better just letting someone else do it for you. You need to trust that they will get it done right for you and you have to accept that they will get rid of some things that you would have kept.
4. Establish a strong one in one out rule. Don’t bring anything else in until you know what is leaving in its place. You only have so much space….and you don’t have to fill it all up.
5. Put limits on what other people are giving. Request that they give the gifts of experiences or something that is not a physical object. Don’t have well-meaning friends and family add to the clutter problem.
6. Define areas of the room for certain purposes. This is the area where all crafts go. This is the reading area. This is the science experiment area. Think of a kindergarten classroom. If you can keep these areas defined it becomes easier to keep them organized.
To Joyful, Simplified Living,
MS. Simplicity, also known as Melissa Schmalenberger operates her business as I Did it with MS. Simplicity. She is a Professional Organizer based out of Fargo, ND and her website can be found at http://www.mssimplicity.com/
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