Lyda here. Okay, Marin asked for it, so here it is – a report on my first paid organizing job.
My first gig is organizing the bedroom of a nine-year-old girl. Her mom hired me, and her mom is the one who will make decisions about any major changes and any purchases. My job is to create a room that works for the girl, so she will keep it organized and tidy. Which will make her mom happy.
Tip #1: Most people will keep an area organized and tidy only if they have a clear and easy system and they see a personal benefit to following the system.
My first task was to get the girl – I will call her the client – as interested in a clean and organized room as her mom was.
So, before I even looked at the room, I had the client fill out a quiz to find out about her Dream Room. The quiz idea came from this book – which was fun to read and had some interesting decor ideas. My favorite part was the first chapter about discovering and creating the environment perfect for you. I used some of his quiz questions, and some of my own.
The client had fun filling out the quiz, and became interested in having the room of her dreams. Sneaky, aren’t I? I learned that she writes and draws a lot, and needs good storage for her creations and supplies. She loves forests and animals and fairies. And she hates pink. A girl after my own heart.
With her input and assistance, I am spending an hour or two at a time in her room, dealing with one surface or area at a time.
Tip #2: You can get a lot done in an hour. An hour or two is a good amount of time for a kid this age to focus on organizing. And it’s okay for an adult to do just an hour at a time, too!
With an adult client, I would work much longer hours. We might finish a room in a day. The closet might take another day, depending on the level of clutter. With a toddler – I would set up the system for them, with parental input, and then teach the toddler how to use it.
Tip #3: See-through bins work great for toddlers, but it’s okay if you can’t see through them. Label the bins with a picture and words; for example, use a picture of a toy trucks and cars, and the words “trucks and cars.” Organization and language development!
I told ya’ll I was sneaky.
Day One: First we made the bed.
Tip #4: Every bedroom looks neater when the bed is made. The eye immediately goes to flat surfaces, and the bed is usually the largest flat surface in the room.
We cleared the clutter (and clothes) off the floor. The floor is a big flat surface too.
With five minutes work, the room already looked better. Instant gratification!
The client’s visiting friend – who may have a future in the organizing business – had fun lining up the stuffed animals on the shelves, and organizing the play kitchen. The two girls talked and laughed with me as we worked, and actually had fun.
Tip #5: Friends can help make organizing fun.
And so can I. Ooohhh, self-promotion!
The client and I worked on the desk area. Scary, kids! Her desk was piled high with stuff – papers, jewelry, mementos, toys, and junk. Her desk drawers were stuffed randomly with more of the same.
We started with the one desk drawer, emptying it completely and sorting into bags:
- Keep in the desk
- Move to a more appropriate place
- Return to Mom
- Trash (we had a big bag for trash)
Once the first drawer was done, we high-fived and moved to the second drawer. The client was getting into this now.
Tip #6: Start with a very small task that can be accomplished quickly. That sense of accomplishment spurs you on to do more. And if you have to stop there, you don’t have a huge mess to clean up.
The client got to decide what to keep and what to eliminate. Yes, the nine-year-old made all these decisions.
Tip #7: Only the owner of the stuff knows what is treasure and what is trash. Making these decisions gives the owner a sense of security, and lets them know that they are respected. Security and respect – important at any age.
Of course, parents have to make sure that toys and such are still safe, and that certain things be kept out of reach of younger siblings.
We finished the drawers – one each for office supplies, art work, and writing – and put the right things in them.
We’d spent an hour and a half, and gotten a lot done. This was as much as she could deal with the first day, so we took out the trash and stopped.
Day Two: We dealt with the top of the desk, sorting into the same categories. Only now we had places to put the office supplies, art, and writing. This took more than an hour (I told you it was piled high), and we stopped for the day because she had other time commitments.
Day Three: I’m meeting with the client again today, and we will work on the upper shelves of her desk (again, piled with stuff). Then we will do the top of the dresser, and any other areas in the room that show.
Tip #8: First, clean and organize what shows. This gives the room an organized look, and creates interest in continuing.
After all that, we will work on the dressers and closet. The client’s mom has some plastic bins that we will use on the shelves in the closet, and I will recommend that she purchase more if they are needed.
The adventure continues.
Call now to book your own session. Heh.