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Questions Our Clients Frequently Ask

Ruth Mellen, Professional Organizer
Ruth Mellen
Ruth@GetOrganizedSanDiego.com


What can I do to prepare for our first meeting?
Get a good night's sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, and be ready for a pleasant, productive day. Please do not try to clean up before the first consultation. It is more helpful to see things as they are so we know what our starting point is. It makes for a better needs assessment and action plan. I admire people like you who conclude that they should ask a professional organizer for help. I know that it can be a big step to allow someone else into your private space to help you organize it. From my experience, many people would truly benefit from help; the practical and courageous ask for that help.

Who is your usual client? Do you do more businesses or homes? How long have you been in the organizing business?
At this point, I service mostly residential clients; that is what I enjoy the most. Starting in 2000, I organized large staff moves, including at the San Diego Tech Center for Computer Science Corporation (CSC). Before that assignment, I organized the office administration & accounting department of a medical case-management company. I was also instrumental in streamlining and organizing the logistics of a health clinic that was located on both sides of the border, with locations in Tijuana and San Diego. Since 2003 I have focused on clutter-clearing in private homes. Some of my clients live alone in a one-bedroom apartment, others have a large family including pets in sprawling homes of 5500 to 6500 square feet. Clutter can accumulate no matter how large or small your space is. And it is possible to get organized even if you think your home is just too small (or just too large, for that matter). I also assist people before and after moving, which is a great time to re-evaluate and organize possessions. Of course my work involves many home offices, and I am also happy to tackle professional offices.

Does this include cleaning work or only advice? 
We will definitely roll up our sleeves and start the hands-on process to give you some immediate relief in your living space. And along with that process there will be advice and on-the-spot tips to improve your organization.
Do you have any experience with chronically disorganized people?
I have worked with seniors, adults with ADD, and chronically disorganized people. Chronic Disorganization is a subject that is now getting the attention it deserves since it affects so many people. The National Study Group of Chronic Disorganization has published a number of interesting newsletters on this subject.
Do you point at a pile of papers and say, "You have to prioritize and sort all of that, then I'll tell you what file cabinet to put it in"?
We will work together at hands-on sorting, and setting of priorities. I can provide as much help and guidance as necessary and desired. Often, I leave my clients with specific projects to work on independently before our next session together. It helps to have bigger organizing projects broken up into smaller pieces to make them more manageable. That way you have a better measure of the progress you are making. Also, a professional organizer can hold you accountable for what you intended to do. On the other hand, you don't have to feel  bad if you were not able to complete your intended projects before the next time we get together. This is your journey, and sometimes things take more time than we expect. I can also help to select a specific filing system that will best suit your needs and work style.
I've read the books and tried different things, but have only gotten part way there before. How will this be different?
It is helpful to read inspiring books, and I will be able to recommend some that would be particularly useful for you. But as you mentioned, books can take you only so far. Many times it is necessary to have an "outsider" take a look at your particular situation in order to get out from underneath it. A professional organizer can give you a more realistic idea of how long the clutter-clearing will take for any particular zone in your home. And an good organizer can give you hope by quickly improving your space with even just one session. Even after just one consultation and organizing session you will have gained a sense of hope and momentum. As an organizer, I can either assist you for short-term and long-term projects, or leave you with a detailed action plan for you to implement yourself. With many of my clients, it works well to schedule a number of intensive organizing appointments in the beginning of their journey. That paves the way for establishing a more self-sufficient household routine, and I can check in as needed for maintenance organizing sessions.
Do you and I make decisions together or do you tell me what has to be done?  It depends on your preference. I have worked with clients who prefer a lot of guidance in the organizing process and are more comfortable leaving the decisions up to me.  Other clients are too busy to be there when I work at their home: they give me permission to work independently to get the job done, and for larger decisions I check in with them by phone. For most of my clients, it works well if I act as the coach, asking them the appropriate questions so the best solution becomes obvious from their own answers. I am there to make suggestions and give advice to make it easy for you to make the best decision. Sometimes we need to evaluate a particular organizing system after it has been used for a while to make sure it still serves the current situation.
Will you tell me exactly what supplies to get after our first meeting, or just tell me what is needed and I have to find it?
The easiest way to handle the need for additional organizing supplies is for me to go shopping for you. I know where to find the supplies and I can combine it with shopping for other clients so I only charge half of my regular rate for any time spent shopping. If you prefer, I can also leave you with a detailed shopping list including measurements and descriptions.
What is your cancellation policy?  I do not charge a cancellation fee. Please offer the courtesy to notify me as soon as possible when you are unable to keep an appointment so that I can adjust my schedule.

What should I do with items that can be donated?

I can give you a list of charities to choose from. My clients often prefer for me to take their donations away in my car (or our truck). I will take them to Goodwill for you and provide you with a tax-deductible donation receipt. That way you get the immediate benefit of having those items off your premises. You will have more space right away, and the satisfaction of sending your unused items on to where they can be used. Then it is easier to see the light at the end of the tunnel.


Ruth@GetOrganizedSanDiego.com
(858) 689-7344


Business calling card: Ruth Mellen, Professional Organizer


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