I’ve been organizing now professionally for 6 years and there’s a common “issue” I come across time and time again. The issue being maintenance or upkeep.
There are times (many times) when I get a call from a client several weeks after our work together was completed asking me to come back for another organizing session. To be honest, sometimes it’s just after a few days. They were thrilled with the work we did and felt really good when I left, however, apparently, things didn’t stay quite the way we left them and they express frustration.
As a Professional Organizer this is one of my biggest frustrations as well.
We work WITH our clients, “WITH” being the operative word, to create organized spaces. Spaces that are functional, accessible and efficient. We show our clients what we’re doing, while we’re doing it and explain why in the hopes that when their space is organized that they will be able to maintain it. We TRY to transfer our knowledge so that our clients will understand the basic principles of organizing.
If a client hires us to implement a filing system, for example, we do so with their needs and goals in mind. We show them where to file the current-incoming paper and what to do with incoming mail so that the system doesn’t fall apart. This requires time and effort as with anything new.
We also explain that it will not stay that way unless they maintain it. You can’t clean your house once and expect it to stay that way right?. You have to do a little each day or each week to keep a clean house. Same principle applies to getting and staying organized.
Maintenance requires a commitment. It means that the space, wherever it may be (filing system, master closet or garage) needs to be tended to regularly. Organizing requires time, just like anything else, if you want it to stay that way.
While I prefer to maintain my own spaces daily (think OCD), many people won’t or can’t and that’s fine. For those of you who won’t or can’t maintain their space daily try the following:
1. Pick a day and time, each week or each month to get things done.
2. Put this day/time in your calendar so that you set up a routine for yourself.
3. If, when you sit down to tackle whatever area you’re working on, you feel overwhelmed, move up the date. Perhaps once a week might be better than once a month.
4. Make sure that you have the tools and/or supplies you need (for example, if you’re working on paperwork have files, a shredder and a trash bin next to you so that everything you need is at your fingertips).
5. Use the right tools and/or supplies. Use good tools/supplies that won’t frustrate your efforts (for example, if your shredder is constantly getting jammed get one that works properly so the shredding doesn’t pile up).
Bottom line, you must be committed to the process. If you are not that’s fine too but at least admit it and figure out an alternative so things don’t revert back. One way would be to hire an organizer, hopefully us, to maintain it for you.
OC&D offers weekly, monthly and bi-annual maintenance services so that your systems or organized space(s) stay that way.
Call us anytime! We’re here to help you get and stay organized