6 Things I Learned in the First 6 Months of Professional Organizing

Well friends, it's been 6 months already since I opened my car doors to start my organizing business.  I say car doors because I work from other people's homes and the car is the door that I open first on the way there, although I have been known to ride my bicycle too from time to time.

Here are 6 important things I've learned so far:

#1.  When taking before & after pictures, be sure to have the wrist strap of the camera securely around one's wrist. Otherwise it could be dropped at just the right angle to damage the focusing lens, rendering it unusable.  Ah yes, I always wondered why the wrist strap was on there.

My new


 and yes, the wrist strap has been attached.

#2.  Take before photos BEFORE starting to organize.  This has happened to me so many times that now I'm requesting the client to take the pictures themselves and text them to me on my phone before I show up!  I'm like a kid on Christmas morning, I can't wait to get started and then I pause to realize mid-way through, I'd forgotten to take the picture...oops.

Pictures are so important because they show the comparison of where we started and the progress being made.  And sometimes when we're in the middle of a project that is taking the time it takes, we may need some bolstering of our spirits as we soldier on towards completion.

#3.  Don't show frustration.  I'm only human and sometimes an organizing situation can become downright frustrating to solve!  I've learned that it's not only clients that need a break, I do too.  It can be as simple and drinking a glass of water, ducking out to use the restroom for a few minutes or even walking up or down a flight of stairs to clear my mind.  Organizing takes time and I've learned that the best solutions are often the ones that present themselves after all the sorting is completed.

#4.  Draw diagrams.  I learned this from a client that dictated dimensions of a closet to me over the phone.  We had a good laugh when I realized she was telling me measurements from the bottom up and I was writing it out from the top down.  Drawing a map of the space and then entering in the dimensions and labeling as I go, has been a lot more helpful than just a picture of it, when shopping for storage solutions. 

#5.  Have a tighter cancellation policy.  I started out with 24 hours, but increased it to 48.  I do quite a bit of research and preperation for my clients before working with them.  It can be disappointing for me when they cancel without enough notice.  This way we are both committed to the work and I have plenty of notice to squeeze in another appointment if a cancellation happens.

#6.  Never throw anything away without permission.  Luckily for me, I had set this as S.O.P. for myself (

Standard Operating Procedure)

.  My clients laugh at me, but I do not throw ANYTHING away without asking first.  And good thing too.  On more than one occasion, I've held up some scrap of paper with scribbled handwriting or some unidentifiable little plastic gizmo and the client shrieked with joy,

"I've been looking for that!"

and so it goes.  

I wonder what I'll learn in the next 6 months?  

Any guesses?