That made me wonder how much my existing clients and you, dear reader, really understand how this virtual stuff is working and how it’s different from a live visit at your home. Well, here is some insight that may help you understand how exactly this could be a useful option and opportunity for you.
Usually, new clients go through an initial process where we meet to discuss what exactly they want to achieve. In almost every case, this talk is conducted at the client’s home, which allows us to visit the trouble spots and for me to get an insight into what is actually involved, what the situation on the ground is like and what I need to consider when planning the sessions going forward.
This can be done virtually, of course: anyone could describe their issues over the phone but a video chat has my preference because we can see each other and better assess if we can work together – visuals are important in a first contact situation. When it comes to assessing the space, video will work, if to a limited degree as I won’t be able to really get a sense of the space in the same way. Bear with me, though, because this apparent disadvantage can be turned into an advantage at a later stage…
If we agree to work together, actual live sessions would involve me being on site, guiding the client through the process and coordinating the steps as they become necessary, and making sure that my client is safe and emotionally supported. This is possible for the most part to do online through video connection. Obviously, I will not be able to assist with the heavy lifting and we cannot do two things at the same time or work side by side on the same element, and that may feel like less of a service to my client than having me physically there.
If the client is obliged to do everything themselves, this gives us a couple of opportunities, too: first of all, once my client has understood what to do exactly to finish a particular process, they can continue their work WITHOUT me looking over their shoulder all the time. This means they will only have to pay me for the time I’m actually with them, while they continue free of charge until our next session. That next session would then start with a review of their progress and a quick planning sessions on how to continue, based on their results (or lack thereof) and what appears to be the next logical steps.
It is completely up to the client to decide if they want to continue during my absence or if their activities only continue when I’m online with them, of course. Either way works.
Another advantage of ‘having to do all by themselves’ is that the client learns the techniques to organise and tidy up. That means they will be better able to maintain their newfound order because they actually know how to do it now. Also: they did it once, so they are likely to be able to do it again, right?
Virtual assistance can take all kinds of shapes: they can be short bursts of instructions with a good time of working independently, or constant supervision with no homework in between sessions, or parts of the call could be purely ‘presence’ and holding space for discussions of underlying reasons for the original accumulation of clutter in a household. Decluttering and organising are two terms that can mean a lot of things, and each client is different and has different needs and requests. That means that there really is no way to describe a standard session beyond the structure that I have described above. In fact, even if we find a path forward in that initial session, at the end of the first practical session we may have to adjust it already because of what transpired during that first couple of hours. It’s a work in progress, every time.
All that said, there are advantages and disadvantages to both live assistance and virtual decluttering and organising, and it’s up to the client to decide which one works better for them, and sometimes a mix of both could be beneficial. It’s a question of finding what works and going with it.
Ask the ClutterMeister
Ideas to help clear away the mess in your homes and in your minds.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My mission: help clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.