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Thursday
Jan132011

NY Times Article on Professional Organizer Barbara Reich

The latest article about a professional organizer in the NY Times is about Barbara Reich. Her philosophy is that there are rights and wrongs, rules that we must adhere to for the ultimate goal, which is being clutter-free. I TOTALLY admire that she is booked three weeks in advance!

While Reich recognizes that we are a wasteful society, she encourages her clients (at times insists) that they get rid of stuff. This is a common approach, and I understand how helpful it is to people who want that sort of service. In fact, many of her clients have her make the decisions about what should be kept and thrown away. The service is fast and immensely life-changing-in three hours the article reports "about a dozen trash bags" are ready to be thrown away. Reich describes herself as an "type A-plus" personality.

There is so much suffering and waste in this country, and I believe we must be responsible for changing that. Depression and self-determination are linked. If I don't believe I can clean or organize my apartment, someone doing it for me: 1. Doesn't teach me to do it myself 2. Doesn't prevent its recurrence 3. Makes me rely on someone else for basic things, potentially adding to my feelings of worthlessness and incompetence. Having someone clean your house is great. I often refer cleaning people to my clients, and it helps them immensely. If you want someone to do it for you, and you're comfortable with that, great. However, if you are feeling hopeless and anxious, and unable to make decisions, having someone do that for you will not change your situation.

My goals working with clients are to:

  • Remind them how AWESOME they are
  • Give them the tools to make decisions
  • Recognize their anxieties, accept them, and move forward
  • Create a home or workplace that fosters and showcases their originality
  • Achieve their ultimate goals
  • Feel pride in their own abilities

When it comes to organizing, and all things in life, rather than be told that I'm "wrong" (page 1 of the NY Times article) and thus incapable, I'd rather be told that I'm right and just need some help, which is available. Compassion creates change.

What if we were raised being told how are dreams are possible, rather than too hard. What if we let people finish their sentences? What if we just calmed down and did one thing at a time, rather than our manic and anxiety-producing behaviors? What if we were less bossy?

As a challenge for today, notice your listening. Are you waiting to tell the person talking about your own and right opinion because you know better? Notice your interruptions, your mind-wandering, your criticism. AND, notice how great it feels when people believe in YOU! If we believed in ourselves and those around us MORE, we could truly fight the clutter of indecision.

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Reader Comments (1)

I agree that the client needs to be making the decisions. It can be a difficult habit to develop but that is the difference between cleaning up and truly getting organized with systems to handle new tasks and items coming in.

January 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDenise Landers

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