Monday 26 April 2010

What do I do?

Decluttering. It's a funny word, and one that is actually a bit misleading. If somebody asks what I do for a living, it's the best word I've been able to come up with - and it's generally used by folks who share my industry.

At a ladies' networking group last week (the splendid Coffee at Caistor, welcoming women in businesses from the Norwich area), I mentioned this problem. When I asked "If I say 'decluttering', do you immediately think 'throwing things into a large skip'?" The answer was a resounding yes.

An extra few words made it clearer: people think "decluttering" is all about what you throw away but it's more about managing what you keep!

I've worked with many clients who have needed a skip - or at least, several trips to the dump and/or charity shop. However, it's equally common for the amount of "chuck-out" to be minimal, because what we've done is to deal with finding the right places for the things they are keeping, and to help with processes that get things done.

So I'm looking at how I describe my profession. It's a noun that's needed. If you're a hairdresser, people immediately know what you do: you cut and colour hair. If you're a plumber, you install and repair plumbing. If you're a vicar, you take church services and provide pastoral care. (Obviously there's a lot more to all these job descriptions, but you know what I mean.)

What's my badge, then? I'm going to be looking for input on this before I settle on something, but at the moment I very much like the suggestion that came from a couple of my colleagues: "stuff management". Your stuff may be important or unimportant, it may be beautiful or unattractive, it may be kept or thrown away - but it's all your stuff. The help I can give you doesn't anticipate what, if anything, you might dispose of; it just helps you to manage your stuff.

What do you think? I'd love to know!