When I talk about decluttering with clients it’s often like speaking a different language. In order to help get on the same page I try to use analogies that they can relate to. With my client who was a life-long swimmer I used a swim training analogy. With my clients who have young children I use some parenting analogies.

I do have a few analogies that are pretty universal even if not from a personal experience perspective. One that I’d like to share with you today is the in-patient analogy.

There are 2 different types of surgeries. In-patient and out-patient. You are probably familiar enough with which is which but just for kicks I’ll write it out for you. In-patient surgeries are those that you pop over to the doctor’s office and have a little procedure done and then go about your day with minimal recovery time or pain. Out-patience surgeries are usually more complicated, requiring a hospital stay, and a more lengthy recovery time and usually more pain associated with it as well.

Bringing it around to our decluttering and organizing, I tell my clients that I want them to feel like we’ve done an in-patient procedure, not an out-patient surgery. Yes, I want them to feel like we’ve done something, there should be a noticeable difference in the spaces we work in and in their own minds as well. They might feel tired when we are done and a need a little retraining with where things go. What I don’t want is for them to feel like we’ve cut out a major organ and that they feel like they will never recover.

You might be wondering, then, what happens when a house really needs to be free of a lot of stuff, like A LOT of stuff. It truly depends on the frame of mind of the owner of all that stuff. Some clients have a mind change that they can get rid of a lot of things and it not make them feel like major surgery. Then there are those who need to go in stages. We will actually go through the entire area/home once and then again later once their decluttering muscles and confidence have been strengthened.

Some of my favorite moments with clients who have entire homes to go through are when we get to an areas we have already done and to see the freedom soar when then see that they only need 1/2 of what they thought they needed before. Doing 2 in-patient procedures instead of 1 out-patient major surgery had a more lasting effect and was less pain to boot!

When you look at your house, do you get overwhelmed and think it needs to be all done at once? Think of a way that you can do a once over and then revisit it again in a few months. Need some help with how to do that, get in touch with me or another professional organizer. It’s what we love to do!

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