Powerful Relationships-Earn Trust as an Organizer

How a dog taught me about building powerful & trusting relationships with clients.

“A house is not a home without a dog.”

Many of the clients I work with have pets.  I love pets.  You can guarantee that I want to know their names and, at some point, will dialogue with them.  Or, for them.  This is a story about a dog.  I’ll call him Nugget.  That’s not his real name but out of privacy for his human he will be Nugget.  That’s what he looks like anyway, a small, floofy chicken nugget with legs.  Adorable.

This is also a story about trust.  Building trust.  It’s natural to feel anxious when you take the step of working with an Organizer.  You may worry about what will happen, be embarrassed by the state of your home or, be nervous about another person looking at and touching your things.  I get it.  However, let’s establish this right now, an Organizer will not touch or remove your possessions without your explicit permission.  Hand to heart.

We all have secrets…

I’ve yet to find any skeletons in closets.  The ones that I have found are usually displayed on shelves.  Non-human, I assure you!  My point is, we all have areas that would make us feel exposed if a stranger came into our space.  A junk drawer that won’t close, a cluttered spare room or a garage that you can’t park in.  Personally, it’s a constant battle to maintain my kid’s rooms.  But, hey, kids.

Listen, if I find a skeleton in your closet we have bigger issues than building trust.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…or phone call

Often, the most difficult part of deciding to work with an Organizer is making that first call.  Initial contact can be nerve racking but I promise, I am DELIGHTED to hear from you.  Admitting that you need help can be very emotional. You may feel vulnerable.  I get that too.  That’s why I offer free consultations in an effort to dispel your fears and establish a relationship of trust.  I don’t show up with garbage bags and a shovel, that’s another promise.  

Yes, but what about the dog?

Back to Nugget.  Nugget is a rescue pup.  He lives in a loving home with doting humans.  While they don’t know all of his history, it’s clear that he was mistreated.  When I arrived for the consultation, I could hear Nugget before I saw him.  He greeted me at the door with excited yaps and a wagging tail, coming close but not too close.  He wanted so badly to be touched but he did not trust me.  Understandable, I was a stranger to his home.

It turns out that Nugget is very, VERY hand shy.  Now, I’m not sure if you know this about me but I talk with my hands.  Sometimes it looks like I’m directing traffic, I’m that animated on occasion.  Also, with decluttering and organizing you tend to use your hands.  A LOT.  So, I was already off on the wrong foot (or hand) with this little guy.

Reasonable Nugget Facsimile. Who could hurt such sweetness?

Keep your hands to yourself!

At our first encounter he kept his distance.  I made a distinct effort to keep my hands in my pockets to demonstrate that I was not a threat.  He didn’t buy it and would only settle down and stop barking with treats.  Many treats.  Smart dog.  I’m also considering this as a snack strategy.

I had the great fortune of working with Nugget’s mama over a number of sessions.  This gave me time to prove that I, in no way, wished to harm him.  As we worked together to declutter, organize and simplify the home, Nugget barked less and less and ventured closer and closer.  It was my mission to woo this wee pooch.  On our second to last session, I crouched on the kitchen floor with my hands by my sides, talking in a soothing voice.  Nugget approached me in tighter and tighter circles, his entire body wiggling.  And yet, he still shied away.

I get it, building relationships and establishing trust takes time.

Sweet, sweet success

During my final session with Nugget’s mama, a miracle happened.  When I arrived, barking was minimal and he settled quickly without the need for copious treats.  As I was contentedly working away on a bookcase, I sensed a presence behind me.  It was Nugget.  I carefully sat down and held my breath.  Then, he kissed me.  He straight up licked my hands and face.  My hands!  I reached out and gave him a cautious pat on the head.  He let me.  He then gave me a look as if to say, “We good”, and trotted off.  I was so overjoyed that I called out to his mama to let her know what happened.  We celebrated.  I may have cried.  What a good boy!

Are you a Nugget?

Earning Nugget’s trust took meeting him five times with gentle interactions.  If you are shy, nervous or on the fence about working with an Organizer, I promise to treat you the same way.  Much like Nugget, I don’t know your history but I’m willing to learn at your comfort level and pace.  Belly rubs are negotiable.  

Thanks to both Nugget and his mama for the opportunity to earn their trust.

Yours in All Things Sorted,


Adopt an Animal

Owning a pet is a serious consideration. Sure, they are all cute and stuff but as their owners you are responsible for their health and well-being. If you have decided to add to your family, please consider adopting a rescued animal. Or, make a donation to one of these worthy organizations:

Prince Tofu the Turd. Rescue kitty. Champion cuddler. Sweetest boy.

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