What makes an organizing session successful? In the 20 plus years I’ve been working with clients, I’ve observed many things that have created positive organizing visits. Both organizer and client contribute to the success. If you desire a better organizing experience, consider adding some of these “ingredients” into the mix.
12 Ingredients For Successful Organizing Appointments
1. Self-Care – Organizing takes physical and emotional energy. Taking care of your basic needs are essential. It's important that you and your organizer are well rested, hydrated, and have eaten prior to organizing. When you’re exhausted and hungry, it’s more challenging to think clearly, be creative, and make decisions.
2. Distractions – Eliminate as many distractions as possible. Some common ones include phone calls, email, digital “dings,” visitors, pets or children. Think about what you can do in advance to minimize distractions so that you can receive full benefit from the organizing session that you’ve committed time and resources towards.
3. Trust – Establishing a trusting relationship is crucial. You might feel uncomfortable with someone seeing or touching your stuff. Just remember that your organizer needs to be someone you trust. They are there to support and help you and not to judge you.
- What is the session’s focus?
- What are your goals for today?
- How many hours will we work?
- Are the goals realistic based on the time allotted?
- Are there any concerns or relevant information that might influence what we’ll do or how we’ll be working?
5. Preparation – In addition to thinking about what project you’ll be working on, collect the basic supplies you’ll need. Supplies might include sorting containers, markers, place to make notes, or receptacles like bins or trash bags for items being donated or removed.
6. Atmosphere – Organizing can be fun, especially if you lighten the mood with music, laughter, singing, and even dancing (and yes, I’ve done them all.) There are also simple environmental enhancements that can boost the success of an organizing session. If the rooms are dark, turn on more lights or bring in additional lamps. If you respond well to aromas, burn a favorite candle with an uplifting or energizing scent. Consider the room temperature and make the necessary adjustments to be more comfortable.
7. Decisions – The client is the decision-maker and gets to establish the parameters for what stays, goes, gets touched or not. The organizer is the facilitator, supporter, question-asker, timekeeper, goals-reminder, and cheerleader. Successful sessions are client-centered.
8. Strengths – Notice what’s already working well. Pay attention to your strengths and what you’re good at. Collaborate with your organizer to design systems and strategies that play to your strengths and how you process. Some examples include activating visual, auditory, kinesthetic, verbal or emotional organizing strategies. Denslow Brown, organizer, coach and author, identifies nine of the modalities in her book, The Processing Modalities Guide.
9. Breaks – Include snacks, water, caffeine, or fresh air breaks when needed. It's time for a break when you notice waning energy levels, decision fatique, decreased focus, or agitation. Breaks might also include switching projects midstream. This could be driven by attention needs or a desire to shift to a less emotionally intense project.
10. Letting Go – Successful organizing sessions include letting go whether it’s physical objects, pre-conceived notions, negative thinking, or calendar clutter. While the challenge to let go can range from easy to ambivalent to impossible, clients often share with me how great they feel once they’ve done it. This is reflected in a positive shift in their mood, which is noticeable by their smiles, laughter, giddiness, and open, receptive body language.
11. Review – Know where you are at the beginning, middle and end of each session. Know where you’ve been, where you’re heading, where you are, and what you’ve accomplished. Discuss follow through items to be handled between appointments by organizer and client. Review the schedule for when you’ll connect and next meet.
12. Compassion – The most successful organizing sessions include full servings of compassion. Negative self-talk and disparaging remarks get left behind. Positive language like, “I’m becoming more organized,” or “I’m working on my organizing goals,” is substituted. We all struggle with something. We are all works in progress.
Have you experienced a successful organizing session? What ingredient was part of your mix? Come join the conversation and share.