Taking your clients beyond organizing
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Nobody just happens to become a professional organizer. You chose this career due to your passion for organizing, whether it’s a natural ability or something you’ve had to learn. And that’s great, because you need passion to succeed in any type of business. However, unless you’ve had specific training, you might venture out without realizing that although you’re very good at organizing, there’s a lot more to it than that.
Although it’s tempting to just dive into a juicy organizing project, in order to truly help your clients, it’s essential that you understand what they really need. Sometimes it might be time-sensitive, like “get rid of this clutter so I can host Thanksgiving dinner,” but it often goes much deeper.
In Part Two of Organizing from the Inside Out, Julie Morgenstern describes three major stages of the organizing process: Analyze ~ Strategize ~ Attack. The remainder of the book provides detailed information about the Strategize and Attack phases for a number of different areas of the home. It’s an excellent resource for both DIYers and professional organizers, but it leaves a bit of a gap when it comes to the Analyze phase.
I’ve always heard that “it’s not about the stuff” and thought I understood the concept. I knew how a client’s personality type could affect their organizing style, but I didn’t grasp the big picture until I read SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life, also by Julie Morgenstern.
The acronym SHED stands for:
- Separate the Treasures
- Heave the Trash
- Embrace your Identity
- Drive Yourself Forward
There are three chapters devoted to each of these steps, complete with case studies. But what’s key to it all is the introductory section about setting long term big picture goals and identifying what’s standing in the way.
To help you fully explore each step, there are questionnaires and exercises throughout the book. I actually think it would be helpful to anyone who’s feeling like they’re not where they want to be in their life, even if clutter doesn’t seem to be a factor.
I’m not recommending that you use this system with your clients, unless perhaps your background is in coaching or another helping profession. But if you can explore these issues with sensitivity, empathy and confidence, it will make a world of difference to what you can help your clients achieve, and ultimately equip you to charge a higher rate.
If you like this idea and can see the benefits of incorporating coaching into your organizing services, take a look at the Coach Approach for Organizers. Their introductory coach training for organizers is offered twice a year, with sessions in fall and late spring. You can even work towards becoming a Certified Organizer Coach®.
I wish these resources were available when I was an organizer, as I found it very challenging to delve into personal issues with my clients!
Do you already explore life goals with your organizing clients? How did you learn to establish rapport and what questions to ask?