IS YOUR ORGANIZER YOUR THERAPIST?
I would never claim to be a therapist (because I’m not). This blog post is not about me practicing therapy or even claiming that hiring a professional organizer is a substitute for therapy from an actual licensed therapist. It most definitely is not. Actually, I would encourage anyone who’s already in therapy or wants to start therapy for living with extreme clutter and/or disorganization, to please do.
With that being said, as an organizer, I’ve come to appreciate what it really takes for some clients to get organized and remain organized.
I have a realistic approach to tackling clutter. Individuals who struggle with disorganization need someone who is a good listener, has compassion for their struggles, and can give simple organizing tips to hopefully help alter their life in a positive way. As people share different aspects of their lives with me, they feel as though they’re talking to a therapist, so I’ve been told by many of my clients that our decluttering sessions are very therapeutic. It sounds crazy that something that seems as overwhelming as decluttering can actually be calming but trust me: it can be. As people start to declutter, they go through most of the eight basic emotions: fear, anger, sadness, joy, disgust, surprise, trust, and anticipation; however, I’ve noticed after every session, they feel more energized and a little lighter than when we started.
Most of these emotions are self-explanatory, such as having the initial fear of calling a professional organizer to get started. Some clients feel anger or disgust for letting their home get cluttered and disorganized in the first place. The sadness and joy show up as they come across something meaningful such as a picture or a card from a deceased loved one, or a sweet elementary school drawing from their adult children who no longer live at home. Other emotions come and go throughout the decluttering sessions but at the end, there’s nothing but satisfaction and feeling of hopefulness.
Recently, I had a client who was emotional after finding an old letter written by her grandfather to her great grandfather during WWII. She took a few minutes to explain the letter and get herself together. Afterwards she thanked me. I didn’t know why but she said, “thank you for finding this letter and thank you for letting me remember my family and what they stood for”. We had so many therapeutic moments like this as we decluttered room after room and I’m certain, she will never lose that letter in her clutter again.
If anything in this blog post has resonated with you, then maybe it's time to take that next step!
Kelly Ghavidel with Decluttered Life is a professional organizer in Katy, Texas.