A Lesson Plan for Organizing

Looking for some inspiration for organizing my things, I decided to interview a professional organizer. Marcia is a former educator turned professional organizer and (full disclosure) a friend of mine.

Her company name, Home Organizer: section by section, describes precisely how Marcia approaches the task of organizing – breaking down the job into smaller and smaller sections.

Marcia’s first concern is respect for the client. While sorting through things with clients, Marcia wants them to feel valued and validated, feelings that can help them continue on with the task. The clients are encouraged to see meaning in their things, meaning that is perhaps not apparent to others.

By being positive, Marcia helps celebrate the person who chose this stuff in the first place. She keeps her antennae up for the things people want to share with her because, in sharing their stories, they are also sharing who they are and what they see as their place in the world. She wants, above all, to have the clients come out of the experience feeling good about themselves.

Using her many years as teacher to help her formulate a plan, Marcia says her first task is to assess the situation. What is the client’s goal? What is their readiness for achieving that goal? From teaching Marcia understands that a person can’t start on anything they are not ready for, skillwise or emotionally. Readiness is the key to learning. Then she shows how the client’s goal is actually doable – section by section. Marcia asks which room the client wants to start with, then which area of that room, then which part of that area, working down to the smallest section. Sorting through one small section helps the client feel a sense of accomplishment quickly.

Just as she did every day as a teacher, Marcia creates a basic lesson plan. She…

– sets a goal.

– models what the client should do, showing them what she would like them to do.

– works together with the client on the task, then asks the client to do the task while she is present.

– asks the client to perform the task without her.

– gives the client something to do by themselves and has the client reflect on that task with her later.

– plans the next session after assessing the previous one.

Marcia’s working style is to have respect for the person and their belongings and respect for their learning style. She likes to make the process of sorting fun and she does this by listening to the stories clients have to tell. She gets people to show their real selves, who they are, through their stuff.

From Marica I learned that with a lesson plan of our own and working with the smallest section possible, we can all become organized.

Marcia’s parting advice was: Organization is freeing up your time for the things you really want to do. That certainly shines a positive light on what many of us have always felt was an onerous task.



One Response

  1. […] a previous post, I wrote about Marcia, a personal organizer, who advocates starting as small as possible, working […]

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