20 years ago, just after opening my business, I got a call from a prospective client. Before we started to work together, she asked me to meet her for lunch so we could discuss her needs. She was not willing to let me (or anyone) into her home until she knew we were a good fit to work together. We spent a couple hours talking about the process, my philosophy of organizing, and why she wanted to become more organized now.
Here is what I learned. She was organized at work where there were rules and structure, but she could not recreate this same order for her home life. She had friends at work, but could not invite them to her home for fear being judged for her the clutter and disorganization.
Her goal was to have a home where she could invite family and friends to visit, to relax, cook a meal to share, and to sleep in a furnished bedroom, not a mattress on the floor with piles and baskets of clothes all around.
When we finished lunch, she paid me for my time and scheduled an appointment the following week to begin the project.
It was a bright sunny July day, when we met at her home. I arrived with my toolkit in hand. The doorman announced my arrival, and the client met me in the lobby to take me to her unit. There was silence in the elevator as we passed floor after floor.
When we arrived on her floor, she walked hesitantly down the hall to her door. Once there, she stood silently in front of the door. Thinking she needed my help, I put my hand on the doorknob to open the door. Tears flowed down her cheeks. Standing there in the hallway, I knew the stuff was not the only issue.