Peter Walsh, a well-known and highly sought after professional organizing expert who has published New York Times bestselling books on organizing and has appeared on TV programs from The Oprah Winfrey Show to his recurring guest spots on The Rachael Ray Show, has organizing advice for closet designers that could transform the design process, he says.
To understand where he’s coming from, first you have to really understand what a professional organizer does. Walsh describes an organizer’s role as one that helps homeowners reevaluate their relationship to their ‘stuff’.
The goal is not to figure out how to house an extensive shoe collection or hang department-store levels of clothing into a functional closet system but to help homeowners look at how the things they own can help them live better lives.
“So really, to help people look at how they live in and use their space, not just in terms of the storage of stuff, but how to make that space function so that their lives are easier and happier and less stressed,” he says. “A closet is a space that sets the tone for how a person starts their day. So, a well-organized closet that enables a person to quickly and easily find what they want, what they need, and what they use, actually helps a person function better throughout the day.”
Calling it right-sizing, he explains that it is important to help the client declutter and jettison excess and not just build clever design solutions around a warehouse of stuff.
Walsh says in his experience people wear 20 percent of all their clothes, 80 percent of the time.
“So, in designing closets and helping people work with the space they have for their closets, often the sheer volume of clothes will never fit into that space. And many people will call me in and say, you know, ‘I just don’t have enough space,’ and I’m guessing that’s also a cry that many people looking to have closets installed will say to a designer or a closet builder: ‘I don’t have enough space.’ But in truth, you only have the space you have, and ‘I don’t have enough space’ is often another way of saying, ‘I have too much stuff.’”
Walsh acknowledges that embracing this concept might be uncomfortable initially, but once you drill down into it there are many benefits not only for the homeowner but the closet company as well. Most importantly, a space where there is immediately 50 percent less stuff, makes it much easier to design.
“And that’s what a professional organizer can help you with,” he adds. “They can take your client through the process of decluttering and only having the clothes that they can easily and quickly find because they’re the clothes that they love and wear the most.”
One closet firm that embraced this approach is a California Closets franchise in Southern California owned by Scott and Leslie Seigel. Walsh says the couple brought him in to speak to all of their closet designers on the subject.
“I spoke to them at great length about exactly this process, about how to speak to clients not just about the mechanics of the physical space but talk to them about what they want from the space, how the closet would actually help them with the way they live their lives,” Walsh says. “Scott and Leslie saw that this whole approach could really transform the way they work with clients. And I think it gives anyone in the industry an incredible competitive edge.” peterwalshdesign.com
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