How do we get started?
The first step is to contact me via email, the website contact form, or a phone call. Then, I’ll provide a free phone assessment through which I can develop an understanding of the scope of the project and answer any questions you may have. If you decide to work with me, we can schedule sessions immediately to work together.
Do I have to be present?
Generally, I work in the presence of and alongside clients. In most circumstances, your involvement is crucial. Organizing is very personal. There will be decisions that only you can make about whether to keep things, where they should go, and how you live with them. Through modeling, mirroring, and verbal instruction, I will teach you elements of organizing, and you will develop new habits through our work together that will remain with you after the project is complete.
I'm really embarrassed... my place is a mess!
I understand. It’s hard to bring a stranger into your home when your home is not as you want it to be. Having worked in human services for decades, I am accustomed to not only seeing but meeting people in crisis and not feeling “their best selves.” But being disorganized is very common – so common that I and many others have careers assisting people with it! Please be assured that whatever you have to show me, “I’ve seen it before.” What I really notice is the courage and determination it takes to reach out for, and make use of, help in the first place.
Will you help me get rid of things I don't want?
Absolutely. I will take items for donation to any convenient charity of your choice upon completion of each session. I can also assist you with selling or finding other recipients for things like collections, specialty items, etc. I try to limit what goes into a landfill. And, sometimes finding the right recipient for a belonging can make it a lot easier to part with. For example, when my father knew his old film-making equipment was going to a local film school, he was thrilled.
Do I have to get rid of things?
You never have to part with anything you want to keep. My job is not to force you to get rid of things, but rather to help you make the best decisions for you. However, be aware that most disorganization stems partly from an overabundance of belongings – we generally have way more than we need or have room for. I will help you determine what you really want to keep, and how best to store those items in your space.
Should I try to clean up before you arrive?
Please don’t! I can more accurately assess how you live in your home and what your needs are if I can see your space in its “natural” condition.
Should I buy any organizing products before we start?
I’d really rather you didn’t. This is like putting the cart before the horse. We won’t know what you need until we determine what you really have. People are often surprised to discover how many of one thing they own, once their like-items are brought together. Additionally, I’d like to see what you already own that can be used to organize – we can save you a lot of money by finding new purposes for baskets, bins and other storage containers you already have.
I'm concerned I might be a hoarder. Can you still help me?
Chances are good that you’re not a hoarder. People who hoard have a diagnosable psychiatric condition, and as such helping them requires a multilayered approach, including cognitive behavioral and possibly other therapy. More likely than not, you are simply chronically disorganized, and can learn new skills to become less so. Or maybe you’ve just gone through a tough stretch or life change and got overwhelmed. But if in fact you are struggling with hoarding disorder, I will help you access the resources you need to get better.
Why are you offering coaching?
As an organizer, I regularly coach my clients by listening non-judgmentally and asking questions to help them develop new awareness about how they operate. When the pandemic hit, I enrolled in a certified coaching program to hone these skills and learn how help people transform their ideas and behaviors even more profoundly. Coaching weds skills I learned when studying Marriage and Family Therapy – deep, reflective listening and trust in the client’s resourcefulness – with the tangible, action-oriented work of organizing and time management. Convinced by how transformative the coaching process can be, I want to share it with others!
“Sara helped me get settled in a new apartment. I sought her advice on collectibles I'd inherited from my mother, she hung artwork and moved furniture, helped get my computer and television online, and organized my kitchen. I appreciate everything she did in my home.”
Still have questions?
Learn more about getting started on your organizing project.
Sara Cummings, M.A.