Are you offering your clients the 4-D organizing experience?
The first time we took our girls to Disneyworld we fell in love with Mickey’s PhilharMagic, a 3-D concert where sights, smells, and sound captured our imaginations. Ten years later we returned to Disneyworld excited to experience the same wonder of the PhilharMagic we remembered.
This time, however, it was no longer a 3-D show. Thanks to the wonderful world of technology, our favorite show had been upgraded to a 4-D concert. It now included sights, sounds, smells, and touch. While we loved the 3-D show, the 4-D offering was a vast improvement and enhanced our viewing experience.
While we can’t offer four-dimensional entertainment for our organizing clients, we can off them a 4-D organizing experience that can improve our sessions with them and enhance their lives and homes.
What is 4-D Organizing?
In order to help our clients have a full organizing experience we need to offer them the 4-D’s:
Let’s take a look at each of these and understand what they mean for us as organizers and for our clients.
While we, as organizers, may have an idea of what would work well in a client’s home, it’s vital that we understand what our client’s desired result is. First, we need our client to clearly define their goals and expectations with us. The best way to get this information is by asking! Here are a few questions you might consider:
- Why do you want to get organized?
- What do you envision this space to look like when we’re done working together? (Having a physical picture as a guide might be helpful and motivating)
- What do you hope to accomplish in this newly organized space?
- How will this organized space make you feel?
Once your client is able to visually and vocally define their hopes for their organized space, you can then move on to the next step, Design.
As the expert, you’ll likely be expected to initiate and offer ideas for the best way to bring about order through design and arrangement. Although it may be tempting to create an organizational system that you favor, the best design is the one caters to your client’s personality, lifestyle, and preference.
Since each client is different, you’ll need to be mindful of your client as an individual. You can use these questions as a guide to help you determine the best organizing design:
- How do you prefer to store things – out in the open or hidden away?
- Do you prefer containers with or without lids? Do you use containers at all?
- Do you prefer to organize your items by color, function, season, or style?
- Which is more important to you – how your organizational system looks or how it functions?
While these are not all the questions you could ask your client, they will give you a head start in understanding your client’s preferences and how best to design a lasting system that will work for them.
Although many of your clients will view you as a miracle worker, capable of organizing anything and everything, the truth is you can’t organize clutter!
As organizers, we have to help our clients detach emotionally and physically from those items that are no longer serving them or that are keeping them from the goals and dreams they defined earlier.
While you should never force a client to let go of anything, you can guide them in a process that will hopefully cause them to see that holding on isn’t always beneficial.
Here are some questions you might consider asking:
- Which items can we remove from this space to bring about the order you’re desiring?
- How does holding on to these items serve you and your newly organized space?
- How does all the stuff make you feel now? How do you imagine removing it will make you feel?
- What be the worst thing that could happen if you let an item go?
Detaching from their “stuff” will not only create more space for you to work and organize, but it will allow your client to better maintain the systems you design as well.
Most people think of discipline in a negative context. But in the organizing world, it’s nothing more than the habits and exercises used to maintain the order that’s been created.
Once you’ve brought about the order your client desires, the best way for him/her to stay organized is through disciplined habits. Here are a few habits you’ll want to encourage your client to develop:
- Purging frequently
- Doing things now rather than later
- Making decisions
- Finishing what you start
- Establishing routines
Ideally, it would be great if every client could discipline themselves towards all these habits. But even if your client can only manage to build just one habit, it can go a long way to ensure that the order you’ve helped bring about lasts long after you’re gone.
Although there’s no magic formula to bring order to your client’s home and space, offering them a 4-D organizing experience can improve and enhance their lives and make your work together magical in its own way.
Liana George is a Professional Organizer and the owner of By George Organizing Solutions. In her years of working with clients, she has helped people bring order to their homes and lives with customized solutions, whether it be in their kitchen, their garage or their clothes closets.
In addition to working with clients, Liana also writes organizing blog posts, books and articles, teaches organizing classes and webinars and speaks to numerous groups on a variety of organizing topics. She knows that not everyone may be as passionate about organizing as she is, but she does believe that everyone can be organized.
She has been married to her husband, Clint, for over 25 years and together they have 2 wonderful daughters, Kayley and Abbey. When Liana isn’t organizing something, you can find her reading a book, watching or playing tennis, or planning her next diving adventure.
Currently, Liana serves as the NAPO Houston Chapter President.