De-cluttering a space is difficult because it’s not just about purging what you don’t need it is how to make what you do need “look” clutter free. With all the best of intentions, even buying the latest “organizing” gadget… You even purge everything you no longer want. And there you stand looking at your desk and no matter where you position the new paper tray … well it just doesn’t fit nicely and your desk looks even worse. It doesn’t even make it look organized! So you rearrange your lamp, move the pen, paper clip, and business card holders and stack the books and put them under the paper tray.
Seeing a solution. It’s interesting, I have been thinking about what we really see, what we think we see and how hard it is to see with fresh eyes. When I begin my work with a client I do literally bring fresh eyes to a situation. I also bring a lot of other skills but it’s what and how I see that separates me from my client.
And until the other day I never really gave it too much examined thought. I was with a client, in her new home. We were working on her home office. She mentioned something about needing a hook for her tea towels in her kitchen. She brought up the subject of her tea towels and the hook quite a few times. She had bought a hook but it was the wrong hook – it didn’t fit on the door beneath her sink. We went into her kitchen and she stood, dumb struck, looking at the problem of her tea towel. I asked her why she felt she needed a hook for the tea towel? “Well in my old kitchen my hook was right here under the sink. It worked so well for me”.
I asked her why it couldn’t go on the handle of the stove? She looked at her stove as if it were the oddest place to put a tea towel. “But I always kept it on a hook under my sink – it worked well there”. She tried hanging the tea towel on the stove and it worked. And it made sense because it would also dry.
But the interaction over the tea towel really struck me. And over the next couple of days it kept coming back into my mind. What had really happened for my client is that she was “seeing” her old kitchen, relatiing to her old kitchen. It wasn’t that she didn’t know how to organize she just wasn’t seeing with fresh eyes.
We all do it. Think we are seeing but really we are not. Here are some tips on “seeing”
1. Take a photo of the area in question. Sometimes it helps to look at something through the eyes of a camera.
2. Itemize every single item in the area. Say it’s a mantlepiece. Write down everything thing that is on it. Including match boxes, pens, bits of paper – everything. I can assure you that when you itemize everything you will realise that in fact you had not seen at least 25% of it.
3. Don’t group things in your mind when looking. If there are candles on your mantlepiece then count how many.
Let me know how you get on! And drop me a line if you have any questions.