Every week when I meet a new client we start the session off with a house tour. Even if their initial priority is the home office, we'll walk through the entire home.
This past week I met with a new client, Michelle. During her Phone Intake Consultation, we determined that setting up an efficient home office where she could store and access papers, schedules, mail, bills and files was her number one priority.
With that in mind we set out on a house tour. During this step we open all the closets, drawers and cabinets. There are 2 main benefits to the tour:
1 - I get to see how spaces are over utilized and under utilized.
2 - As the client walks with me through all the nooks and crannies she is miraculously seeing the space with fresh eyes.
As we look at each room, I ask Michelle what's working well and what's not working well. I have to ask because it's different for everyone. What drives one client crazy is perfectly wonderful for another. As we come upon different things I ask "What's inside? What kind of papers are those? When's the last time you needed them? How frequently do you use them?” You get the idea. These questions pertain to all areas of the house we explore not just the priority area. And an amazing thing happens while we were walking around, Michelle (and almost every client I've ever organized with), repeatedly shares with me a few consistent responses:
1 - I have no idea what this is.
2 - I have no idea what's inside that box.
3 - I haven't used this in years/months and could probably get rid of it.
4 – I have more of that somewhere else.
5 - I don't even like that. I don't know why I'm keeping it.
6 – This shouldn't even be in here.
The best part of the tour is that just by sharing and explaining her home to me, Michelle immediately gets a fresh perspective on everything in her home that has been living with her and her family. It's tremendously illuminating and perfectly sets the stage for the next act.
There's an easy way for you to get some fresh eyes for your space too. Ask a close friend to come over to participate in the tour with you. If you’re very best friend lives in another state, then upload the photos to a photo sharing site and do a virtual tour.
If you can't bear showing your friend the space, then:
1 - Pick up your digital camera and photograph your entire home, room by room.
2 - Wait a week.
3 - Go somewhere to review the photos outside of your home.
4 - Take the photos with you either on the camera itself or down loaded on to your laptop or go old school and actually print them out.
5 - By the shear act of explaining, sharing and stepping out of your environment, glaring things will reveal themselves to you! You'll be amazed at what you see!