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Do You Need a Clutter Broker?

Do You Need a Clutter Broker?

handshake-e1334121404840I’ve just come to the realization that the job my organizing team and I do is that of a clutter broker. What do I mean by this? Just as there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all mortgage, there’s no thing as a one-size-fits-all clutter solution. A mortgage broker has the job of brokering the right mortgage to suit your needs and a professional organizer has the job of brokering the right balance of keep, toss, donate, and sell.  Here’s how.

Keep items

Many potential clients fear that a professional organizer is going to make them throw everything out. Not true. In fact, our focus is not on tossing, but on keeping, and how much, and why, and where it’s all going to go. Some can be consolidated, some can be reassigned, but mostly it finds its way out. This happens by the organizer creating an environment where the client can make the most informed choice about when it makes sense to toss vs. donate vs. sell.

Toss items

Some clients fear that we will pressure them to toss everything, but end up deciding that we’re not tossing enough.  Others actually hope we will toss a lot, but end up finding a lot more items they are attached to, than they thought. Then of course, there is every variation in between. So it makes no sense for us to come in with an absolute standard for what can stay and what must go. We broker that choice.

Donate items

A clutter broker will create a context of like with like, so that it is easier to recognize excess and identify value. For example, if a client sees a green winter coat, out of context she is likely to choose to keep it. However, if she sees the same winter coat along side 12 other coats, 4 of which are winter, and 2 of which are green, it will be a lot easier to say that the less nice green winter coat can be donated, especially if she is informed about a coat drive is coming up, to warm the needy. A clutter broker also stays informed about local events like coat drives.

Sell items

Clients may recognize some items that no longer serve their needs, but are still worth some money. A clutter broker balances the merits of a tag sale versus eBay versus Craigslist versus consignment, etc., so that you can find the best solution for your time, energy level, and capabilities. It may turn out that it is the best use of your time and resources is to donate an item you had hoped to sell.

The point is, there are no absolute imperatives when decluttering. You don’t necessarily need to hire a professional when decluttering, but if you want to feel comfortable that you have made the best choices with your clutter, a clutter broker can make it easier. Oh, and we can recommend systems to keep clutter from coming back too.

 

 

4 Comments
  1. I totally agree! I always tell my clients “I’ll never tell you to throw anything away”, and that decompresses some of the stress. Frequently, once we get rolling, clients are willing to let go of more and more.. and I can just be arms & legs, another opinion, and a source of information & guidance!

  2. Thanks Seana. Yeah, I think it’s the organizing TV shows that are the culprit. They need to push people to toss to generate drama. I’m so not interested in drama.

  3. I’m currently my own clutter broker. Not a simple task by any means, but following Matt’s guidelines makes separating the must-keeps from the maybe-not-keeps from the donate/sell/trash much easier.

    P.S. The word “coat is missing in the sentence: For example, if a client sees a green winter out of context she is likely to choose to keep it.

  4. Good catch Barbara. Thanks!

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