I was remembering my first clutter busting job. The client had called me a half-hour earlier. I answered the phone call and she said, “I’m desperate. Can you come over now?” I was confused. I said, “What do you mean?” She said, “I saw your flyer about clutter busting. I’m desperate. Can you come over now?” I had nothing planned, so I said yes.
I drove over curious and excited to see what would happen. I had no game plan. I figured I would see what happened when I got there. She and her family lived in huge house. I asked her to give me a tour. She showed me around. I picked her office to start. It was the room that bothered her the most. It made sense to start where there was the most pain.
She was a documentary film maker. But she hadn’t been able to do any work for a while. I saw that her desk was cluttered with video games. She said they belonged to her kids. They used her computer because the screen was the biggest in the house. Because she seemed uncomfortable about that situation, I encouraged her to remove the video games. She worried about her kids’ reaction. I said if she didn’t respect her work space, her work would suffer, which it was. She agreed, and we dismantled the computer games.
Then I asked about the bed in her office. She said it was for guests. They stayed in her office when visiting. She didn’t seem happy about this situation. It was easy to see and hear the pain in her face and voice. I mentioned how it was affecting her. I said the situation meant her work was secondary to others. Plus a bed represents sleep. That’s the opposite of work. It wasn’t supporting the dynamic nature of her work. She agreed and we dismantled the bed and removed it from the room.
I worked at this house for about two weeks. Everyday we picked a different room to take that curious clutter look. I saw that curiosity was the way to do this work. To be curious meant to be open. There’s no goal. There’s only discovery. “Hmmm, I wonder what doesn’t fit this person’s life.”