How much value does your valuables hold
In my line of work, as a Professional Organizer, I get to witness firsthand the deepest lows in people’s lives and have the privilege of seeing their greatest highs also. When I get that initial phone call from a new client it is usually triggered by an acceptance of the fact that they cannot live like this anymore. They acknowledge at this point that something has to change and reach out to me for accountability in helping them implement some kind of system to reach this goal.
- I first implement a plan by equipping my new client with a vision for that room. A dining room drowning in paperwork and miscellaneous items has lost its usefulness and if the client’s desire is to have the family gather around the dining room table then they need to claim that vision back for that room.
- I then help group like items into piles and then figure out what needs to be tossed, recycled, given away, and kept. We discard the broken, the unused, the ugly, multiples items, and out of date.
- The final groups of like items then need to be housed somewhere. I call this “finding a home for each item”. It will be the place you store the item and once the item is used, it is immediately placed back in its home. If the item does not have a home, then it needs to go, no matter what its value may hold.
At this point things begin to really get difficult for the client and they may start exhibiting signs of being upset, anxious or even argumentative about what they consider valuable and wish to hold on to.
The dictionary definition of valuable is as follows:
val·u·a·ble valy(əw)əb(ə)l/ noun plural noun: valuables a thing that is of great worth, especially a small item of personal property.
Here are three types of personalities whom I see most frequently and whom have very different perspectives of what a valuable is:
Client # 1: A client’s definition of valuable may be completely different to the above definition and to this person something valuable could be anything from small pieces of paper, to plastic bottles, or even a rusty screw. They equate their perceived usefulness of the object as valuable. My job at this point would be to help the client refocus on their initial vision for the room and then reset their thinking patterns on what a valuable truly is. It should be something that is displayed with honor and is truly appreciated and protected from damage. If the monetary value is too great, it is then preserved and locked away in a safe. The client will then at this point try to reset my thinking patterns as to their way of thinking and give me 100 uses for their valuable. To which my reply is that those 100 uses for their valuables are the 100 things that will prevent them from reaching their vision for that room. This conversation then cycles back again to what their vision is for that room and what needs to be done to acquire that end result. This cycle happens periodically and although it is time consuming, it is a very important conversation that helps the client to change their way of thinking and help them maintain their home in the future.
Client # 2: The other type of client I encounter is the person who actually does have a lot of valuables in the sense of true monetary and sentimental value. These clients are looking at the objects’ emotional and monetary worth rather than it’s functional worth. They do one of two things, they either refuse to part with something because of this value or they agree to sell it but set such an impractical price that ensures that the object will never be able to find a new home. I then have to assist them in the basic principles of depreciation. Spending a lot of money ten years ago on an item such as a computer would have little or no financial benefit what so ever and to try and recoup about 50% or even 25% of what you paid for it would be ludicrous. This conversation usually requires a different approach than the previous technique I used. I need to persuade the client that just because this valuable holds significant value to them, it does not have the same significance or appeal to other people that would warrant such a price tag. Once you enter the USED MARKET you have to have a competitive price tag. A typical comeback argument will be: “If I cannot get my price, then I will just hang on to it then.” Whether this is a subconscious approach to not part with their things, I do not know. But what I do know is that these valuables that do not have a “home” within their home, have taken preference over their value of life and family life. Their valuables essentially hold more value and mean more to them than the quality of their life and their family life. This is by no means a conscious effort on their part as they are blissfully unaware of the ongoing cost that their valuables have on them. This information when communicated is hard to hear but vital in helping them to reclaim their lives back.
Client #3: Entering this client’s home is like entering a time warp. Some emotional upset occurred whether it was a divorce, a death, financial loss or a downgrade in their home and/or lifestyle. They usually suffer from depression and cope by shutting down or disengaging from a situation. I cannot tell you how many clients I have encountered that have moved 3 to 5 years previously and are still living out of a few boxes, with most of their things still packaged away for when they do move again. Their intention is that their current situation is not permanent. Unfortunately what has taken place in the meantime, while they are awaiting this big change, is that they have just shut down and stopped living. Everything rests on the future and no living is done in the present. To this client, nothing holds any value to them at all. Their possessions are shut away in storage or in the garage for when their circumstances change. These are the very same possessions that would normal clutter another client’s home, but in their case would go a long way in making their home more homely. My conversation with this client would be to help them firstly see the value in themselves. They hold value and deserve a second chance to start living and regaining control of their life and living their dreams. This client has most times shut the outside world out and has not been able to host friends for fear of shame and hurt. In this case we would start implementing a vision of the potential of hosting friends and family. I would then assist the client by building a home worthy of his/her value by unpacking some boxes and bringing out some personal items. A few pictures on the walls, turning furniture into a cozier layout, and picking up and clearing out what no longer is required begins to set the stage for a cozy home. As the home gains a more personal touch then very often the client begins to heal and as the client heals the home becomes even more homely.
No matter what the circumstances are, I have learned over time that no situation is unique. A man or woman hesitating to reach out for help from a Professional Organizer may be inclined to think that their situation is particularly bad and therefore feel particularly ashamed. My question to you is this, if you were sick and needed some medical attention, then you would see a doctor. When needing assistance with your lawn, you would call a landscaper. Electrical issues require an electrician and plumbing disasters require a plumber etc. Each professional you call has gained experience and will also admit to the fact that no situation is unique. If you need help decluttering, reorganizing, storage ideas and implementing different systems that work for you then call a Professional Organizer to help you get the job done. A Professional Organizer can give you impartial advice on how much value your valuables truly hold.