19 May 2011 Your first meeting with a Professional Organizer…doing it right. (part 1)
When I first start working with an organizing client, we always have an an initial consult. It usually takes about an hour. This is where I evaluate the space or situation, meet with the client to determine goals, get to know them and how they think, create a plan, etc. Each client has their own personality and their own organizing dilemma but there’s a lot of similarities as well. Some nervousness about having someone come into their space, concern about budget and time, wondering how their issues will get sorted out, piles of stuff, all sorts of emotions such as embarrassment, guilt, relief, fear, frustration and more. But that first meeting is where a lot of this gets sorted out.
After doing this for many years, and knowing so many other Professional Organizers, here are some tips to get the most out of that first meeting.
*DON’T CLEAN UP! I can’t stress this enough. I need to see what is going on. If things are hidden or not how they normally are, it only causes issues down the road.
*Don’t be embarrassed. I’ve seen it before, and that’s why I’m there.
*Be honest. Tell me your thoughts, fears, concerns, goals. I can’t help you if I don’t know what is going on. And I want to be sure whatever systems we set up work for you.
*Have some idea about your time frame and budget. I always do my best to work with you, and we can always adjust as we go, but we need to discuss this up front. Most organizers love to get a project done quickly and efficiently, but if you want to move more slowly – that’s ok. I just need to know. And if you are on a tight budget – that’s ok too – we’ll do what we can with what we have. You’d be amazed at what having a professional working with you can help you accomplish.
*Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel that you can have a positive working relationship with me, just say so. Nicely, of course. But I’ll ask. Because I want to be sure you feel comfortable with me and that we can work together to achieve your goals. If we don’t ‘click’, it’s fine. I may be able to refer you to someone that is a better fit. And don’t be offended if I tell you I don’t think it is a good fit for me.
Working with a Professional Organizer can be a great experience, but sometimes scary to get started. My goal here is to take a bit of the mystique out of what happens to start the process. I’m sure there’s more ideas from other PO’s if they’d like to chime in but this is a start at least.
In my next post, I’ll go over some of the questions I may ask in an initial session. This will give you an idea of what kinds of responses you may want to have ready. And to see that it isn’t so scary after all!