Karen Kingston’s book Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui was my introduction to Feng Shui several years ago, and still remains a favorite book of mine regardless of its subject matter. Why? Let me count the ways. (1) Ms. Kingston has a delightful, almost goofy, sense of humor. (2) She is an Organizing virtuoso. There isn’t a corner of a room, a kind of clutter, a “classic” obstacle to success, that she doesn’t tackle. In fact, Ms. Kingston was a member of the Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO) until she moved from the UK to Australia for a while. (3) Feng Shui is fascinating. (4) Ms. Kingston was one of the first practitioners to bring this Eastern art to Western attention.
But… I’ve got a vintage 1999 edition of Clear Your Clutter. Page 132, paragraph 2 offers Ms. Kingston’s surprising assessment of my colleagues and I.
“Hire a Professional to Help You
In the United States there are professional organizers who help people clear clutter and get organized. I call the people I train Clutter Clearing Consultants to distinguish them from the rest. The difference is that I train people to work with the energy and underlying emotional and spiritual causes of clutter as well as the practicalities, whereas professional organizers generally do not have the knowledge or skill to go so deep.
I write my books to teach people how to help themselves, but maybe you have so much clutter that you really do need professional help to get you started and keep you at it….”
I bet (hope) she wrote that before she joined APDO! And I’ll speculate that her 2016/2017 edition begs to differ with her earlier opinion. Part of my surprise rises from the fact that Professional Organizers, at least in the strictures of the best practices I’m expected to adhere to, are not allowed to deal with the emotional causes of clutter except on a relatively superficial level. We deliberately acknowledge that we aren’t therapists. We honor a concept of the “emotional box,” a box which a client can fill with an item that s/he brings to her/his therapist when the item evokes such intense reactions the decluttering process is disrupted by its presence. It is increasingly common for Organizers to collaborate with their clients and their clients’ therapists, in a relationship protected by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) contracts. The synergies can be phenomenal. When a situation is severe enough, some Organizers won’t work on-site unless the client has therapeutic support.