Cleaning Therapy? Yes, Please!

The Clutter Queen sheds light on a decluttered state of mind.

By: Jessica Dusek
Photos by: Paul Marshall

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We all need a little declutter in our personal and professional lives.

Yet, for Clutter Queen Leslie Green, it’s a way of life. “I love helping people” declares Green, on her labor of love. The New York/New Jersey native destresses her clients by helping them with their organizational needs. Her clientele ranges from doctors, to business owners, to seniors. In fact, she has even been hired by parents to help teach their children the “necessity” of decluttering.

“I don’t know where to start,” is a common statement Green hears from an overwhelmed customer. In some cases, the emotional experience can take over. “They shut off because they don’t know where to begin. When we start the process, I notice about an hour later, they are more relaxed with their facial expressions – smiling and anxious.”

In applying practical and functional solutions, Green explains, “I change behavior and put products in place to help them organize daily tasks. I am constantly scoping the market for the latest products for all kinds of products. I try to shop locally to save money [for the client].”

Tactical Approaches
She addresses her clients with a type of Declutter 101, at best. Yet, like any student, her client needs to show up ready to learn and participate. “It’s a learned behavior,” Green describes. One tool she implements is a “rotating system” to keep them on task. She emphasizes labels and categories, with a cradle-to-grave approach. In one filing system, she creates the following folders:

1. “Take Action”
2. “Bills to be paid”
3. Next drawer “Hold for 30 days”
4. The last drawer will always be “To be filed”

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Ready. Set. Let Go.
“They realize they called me for a reason because they are overwhelmed,” explains Green of her clients. She tells them, “I’m here to help you. I’m not going to tell you what to get rid of; you are. I remind them that there is a reason they called me and this stuff is causing stress in their life.” She continues, “They are looking for a buddy; they are looking to be motivated and get that motivational level up.” This may appear seemingly simple and straightforward, but to the average multifunctional entrepreneur, it can be a revelation to existing organizational structure.

Green’s approach allows her to weave in a therapeutic process for the otherwise perceived seasonal cleaning experience. “Most of the time, the client will have multiple areas that are giving them a problem.” Yet, she places the client in control of the organization process. “They will show me the areas that are stressing them out, and immediately I will give them a plan of action. I will ask them what their goals are, their wishes – and how they want to transform that space.”

Resourceful, Green reuses existing items, when appropriate. “I try to use what they have. I try to repurpose things. But a lot of times, I also find new things they need.” She found her niche when she began her career as a paralegal. “I ran a one-man office; I worked for lawyers that went to court for litigation. I was responsible for the office.” She credits her mother: “My mom was an organized person. I used to love when school would start because I would sit there and organize my three-ring binders. It’s just my personality for everything to look pristine. Everything has a place.

“I also walk [clients] through the process of setting the product up and using it. An example would be a desktop organizer: It’s a drawer system. It consists of three drawers. They are only 2 inches deep. We label the drawers with specific categories. I call it my paper-vacuum, placing paperwork in long-term filing or discarding in the trash.”

Whether a new filing system or organizing a space, Green helps transform overwhelming roadblocks to fluid functionality. Clients clearing out a space personally or professionally struggle with the same challenges. “Emotional attachments to things keep my clients from cleaning out the clutter,” Green explains. Yet, attachments to material items can be half the battle; she also encounters a “Do I have enough?” issue.

Her approach is genuine. “Another way I get people to release things: I don’t judge them. I remind them that they are in control. My goal is to make them realize that they need to make these decisions – not me. But that I will help them through.” It’s a matter of support and understanding for her clients. She has ingeniously developed a way to commemorate treasured items while discarding them. “We take pictures and create a photo album of items that aren’t used.”

Green reminds clients they actually have enough, and helps aid the process of letting go. This is especially helpful to clients who are children. Telling them that something is going away can be devastating, yet teaching them to share and donate their toys or clothes to those in need has proven effective for Green’s work. She insightfully explains that for all customers, whether children or adults, “It helps give them back the quality of life because these things can take over. That is a common thread.”

Offering a multitude of consulting services, Green helps down-size seniors and organizes moving sales, estate sales and garage sales. She has even donated her services to support charity auctions – a unique gift idea that’s appropriate for the upcoming holiday season.

For more information, visit the Clutter Queen at www.cluttertalk.net. The Clutter Queen is on “Home Advisor,” and you can find her on LinkedIn or Facebook under “Clutter Queen.” Page “likes” are welcome!

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