“Step Aside, I’m a Professional!” I know there’s a joke somewhere which started that expression. I can’t find it, which is making me nuts. “Step Aside!!!” was the first thought popping into my head when I finished Clutter Control: Useful Tips for Getting Rid of the Mess, compiled and edited in 1991 by Susan Wright and originally titled Eliminating Clutter from Your Life as a Learning Annex title. The book was a $2.00 find at Goodwill – why not!
There is SO MUCH WRONG with this book.
For every tiny nugget of wisdom – and there are some, I particularly enjoy and applaud her sensitive, compassionate perspective concerning interacting with children – Ms. Wright adds a dozen generalizations, poor word choices (Ms. Wright uses “should” the way Marie Kondo uses “lazy“), and “Of course you can!” claims which are awful. The book is old. The National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) was formed in 1984; there were only 16 members in August 1985. So Ms. Wright was a pioneer in her way, writing this long before anyone could take a course in “Working with Emotional Processors” or “How to Empower Even the Most Persistent Procrastinator” (recent offerings from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization, which itself dates to 2003 or earlier). Ms. Wright wasn’t, as best I can tell, a NAPO member. So she did the best she could: she doesn’t give any attributions to her sources, so I don’t know where she found the scarce water in the desert.
My point is this: many times, this effort DOES need a Professional. I think all of my colleagues and I can tell a story of working with a client who was harmed by a technician who came in to his/her space and did little more than re-arrange the furniture and slap a few labels on baskets. Professional Organizers who care about credentialing, continuing education, best practices, will be helping you learn time and stress management techniques, space planning methods, ways to objectively think about your stuff, and, uh huh, will probably have a label maker and a favorite (shoe-boxed) size bin.