Behind-the-Scenes Stories
Monday, July 23, 2018 at 8:17AM
Laura J. Moore

People often ask me how I can do this work day after day. They think it boring or a burden, but it isn’t. It’s the person I’m working with that makes it interesting - her unique combination of history, house, family, interests, pathology, intelligence, barriers, motivations, and patterns of thinking - that is my challenge and delight. The unique solution is designed around the unique person I am with.

Digging through the emotional and physical mess is a transformative experience for my clients and me, day after day.

Every day is different; every day we learn from each other.

Organizing Paper
A woman called overwhelmed with all her papers. Like many others, this client exhausted herself unnecessarily by pushing too hard to get things done as fast as possible, doing too much on her own (without the skills) before asking for help. She was so smart and willing, but she needed a pathway through all her papers. After a move, we decluttered and organized over 25 boxes of papers (legal, medical, financial, memorabilia) down to 8. More to go, but we’re soon shifting to time management coaching so she can learn how to prevent feeling chronically overwhelmed. Creating a rhythm to the week will nourish her instead of deplete her, regardless of her external demands.

Getting Ready for Open House
A couple needed help getting their house ready to put on the market. They didn't have much time! Luckily, the house was not over-stuffed (a big home does not mean a big mess). The couple was stressed, pulled in too many directions, though they were very capable of doing the physical work. There were three stages to this project: getting ready for painters, open house, and a move. From my perspective, taking the time to create a realistic schedule together, with clear priorities, and delegating responsibilities was my greatest value. Opportunities revealed themselves by slowing down to think ahead. Then the work could be enjoyable. The client was most grateful that I went through bedrooms with their adult daughters (it’s easier when you’re not related!). It all got done in time, happy with each day of progress. After bringing in a mover, they’re perfectly ready and capable of handling the move themselves.

Estate Sale
A realtor brought me in to help her client downsize a house she just sold. I knew an estate sale was the only way to get her out of the house in time. Because it was already estate sale season, I got on the phone before I even met the client. My known source was booked, another booked, but I finally found a reputable company that was available because of a cancellation. Got lucky! We organized the house enough so the estate sale people could easily see everything that could be sold. I then stepped back, overseeing the project and staying in touch with the client throughout as the estate sale company stepped in. The sale surpassed expectations! Amazingly, I still needed to book five trucks in 90 degree weather to clear the house of trash, donations, and consignment items! Happy, happy client.

Family Cooperation
A woman called me depressed and frustrated with her husband and house. The home was full of inherited antiques and colorful collections, piles of paper. Both husband and wife contributed to the clutter in their own way. The solution was helping the wife shift her focus from her husband to what she could get done in the house on her own - lead by example, and not give up. I suggested her husband may be doing the best he knows how to do. Surprising, he decided to work with me next. He did great, too. Enthused by his progress, his wife wanted to help him declutter in between our sessions. I suggested she stay clear. It was too emotionally hot, and her support could very well cause a set back, and lead to arguing. She agreed. Progress without pushing. We’ll negotiate new agreements about the husband's paper piles when the time is right.

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