I've been a member of the CT chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO-CT) for the last 4 years. We hold monthly meetings the third Friday of every month which are lively, entertaining and informative. We start off every meeting with general introductions that usually include some type of ice breaker question.
At the last meeting, the President posed the question, "What are phrases you find yourself saying to your clients frequently to help them through the organizing process?" Here are some of my favorite responses from the group:
Seana Turner of The Seana Method says:
"The fun was in the making."
Seana often works with a lot of moms who are drowning in their kids' school crafts and art work. This simple phrase reminds parents that the memory was the fun making the project and not the actual item itself. Really, it's okay to say goodbye to the herd of paper mache sheep!
Matt Baier of Matt Baier Organizing says:
"Our focus is on what you're keeping."
Matt has a team of decluttering specialists working under him and says that it can be very overwhelming to clients when a group of Organizers walks into the home ready to work. With this statement, it puts people at ease and highlights what's being added to their life, not what's being taken away.
Helen Simko of Litchfield Organizing and Staging says:
"We can repurpose your belongings to have a memory and a useful item."
In addition to her organizing and staging business, Helen runs Helen Simko Embellishments where she turns treasured objects into useful items. She offers to make teddy bears out of old clothing, turn neckties into stylish purses or use grandma's vintage hankies to make fabric envelopes for cards and letters. These are beautiful ways to upcycle beloved items into something useful that honors the memory of a friend or family member.
Sue Duval of The Organized Hive says:
"No more guilt-based clutter."
Sue reminds us that just because someone gave you something doesn't mean you have to keep it. It's a gentle way to give permission to clients to release things that are bringing them guilt, stress or anxiety. Remember, the gift giver probably didn't mean for their gift to cause you these feelings and if someone else can use and enjoy it, let it go.
Ann Zanon of A2Z Organizing Solutions says:
"You eat an elephant one bite at a time."
This old adage reassures us that the process of organizing can be a large, looming and overwhelming process, but with slow, steady progress, things will get better. Small steps lead to big results. And Professional Organizers can help you get there!
Lastly, one of my phrases is:
"Organizing is a process, not an event."
I find that too often people view organizing as a one-and-done activity, when in reality it's more like a slow-paced marathon that is lengthy and has its ups and downs. The clutter didn't take 2 days to accumulate so it's not going to take a weekend to clear it out!
Do you have any one-liners or mantras that you recite to prompt you along through an organizing project?
And if you're interested in meeting any of the organizers I mentioned above or seeing what our monthly meetings are all about, I encourage you to attend our next gathering on Friday, April 21st from 9am-12pm in Hamden, CT. This meeting is actually FREE to attend as it's our annual Vendor Fair! Don't miss this opportunity to join the fun at no charge. Hope to see you there!