While in search of rubber bands at his friend Andrea’s house, Tom opened a bureau drawer to find it completely filled with light bulbs and soap. In anyone else’s house, he might have been confused, but this combination was only one of the individualized organizing methods employed in Andrea’s house.
Andrea has social anxiety, trouble using conventional organization methods, and is prone to memory lapses which make her reluctant to discard old belongings.
Before engaging the services of a professional organizer, most surfaces in Andrea’s apartment hosted haphazard piles of belongings that made very little organizational sense, even to her. Like many people with chronic disorganization, Andrea tried to meet societal expectations and use techniques so specific they felt like rules, but she had fallen short. This resulted in frustration and a sense of futility that caused her to be reluctant to make a continued effort.
Andrea’s initial meeting with a professional organizer had two simple goals: 1) to help manage Andrea’s anxiety, and 2) to allow her to get a sense of the person she’d be inviting into her home. As it turned out, the organizer put her at ease; it was a good match. Over the next few months, the professional organizer helped Andrea implement some unlikely answers to her organizational problems. Choices such as her drawer dedicated to soap and light bulbs may not be intuitive for some, but it created a memorable and, more importantly, identifiable location for Andrea to find them. These were answers she had never considered because they went against “the rules.”
As they worked, the distinction between what is commonly done and what may work for a particular individual became clearer, which allowed Andrea to make some progress on her own.
Professional Organizers are known for providing assistance, information, and guidance on systems to help people get and remain organized, but that is only the beginning. There are as many types of Professional Organizers as there are people who choose to become one. A lot of the fundamental information may come from the same source, but how it is utilized and what specializations Organizers choose to pursue offer a great variety of services. For example, some specialize in chronic disorganization, helping to develop and implement systems uniquely tailored to the needs of clients for whom conventional methods have failed.
A Professional Organizer is a professional puzzle solver, specializing in three-dimensional spaces. As they help clients to understand how to most effectively use both horizontal and vertical space, they also act as an objective and experienced project manager to help maintain momentum and keep clients on track. Of course, the goal is not only to reduce clutter but to reduce stress as well. To that end, the Professional Organizer may give advice, answer questions, and teach as much as possible through the organizing process.
For more information, or to find a Professional Organizer, check out the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals.
To learn more about Chronic Disorganization, visit the Institute for Challenging Disorganization.