The Jedi Mind Trick of Office Organizing

We Organizers get a bad rap. Sometimes I have to reassure clients that I’m not going to force you to throw everything away: every precious memory, every useful thing, everything piece of paper to your name. I had a client once who, a day before our first session, sent me an email that said exactly this:

“… Also, do you force throwing out stuff, as I am a hoarder who wants organization not a purge….”

First of all, he was far from a hoarder – has a beautiful home in fact. I know from experience that it is near impossible, futile at best, to attempt to organize without a purge. I didn’t need to tell him that at this stage though. Fast forward a few months: he hired me back again and again because he quickly learned to love filling the trash can so much!

What I do know is that a very special kind of person hires an Organizer. I love this special kind of person. Usually it is someone who is suddenly very willing to let go of what’s no longer serving. If they can’t see it for themselves, it is my job to see them as one who is already experiencing a clear desk and clear head. When a client is resisting, I just remind myself of this. If they didn’t want to let go, they wouldn’t have hired me.

I may be giving too much away, but this is my Jedi Mind Trick of organizing: when they’re getting frustrated, it’s time to let them keep something (and then they always throw more away). In a recent casual conversation with a new friend, she asked, “At home I have a shelf full of crafting supplies. I haven’t used them in years, but don’t want to let them go. What do I do?” My answer was simple: “Keep them!” She explained more about her life, which then made me realize that those supplies represent a lifestyle to her. Allowing herself to keep these will surely allow her to release everything that is not representative of the lifestyle she wants. Releasing the tug-of-war over keeping these beloved things gave her instant relief – no tossing necessary, just a little mind control.