” It’s not about the stuff, although many people think that,” Bougher explained. “It’s about relationships with the stuff. And in order to help someone sort through their stuff, you first need to understand their connection to it. You need to understand their systems, or lack thereof.”

Meet Barbara Bougher — she’s a certified professional organizer, a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, and a professional organizing coach who lives and works in Indianapolis.

Before earning her professional organizer certification, Barbara spent over two decades utilizing her organization skills in the corporate world, doing staff, time, and project management.

In 2008, Barbara started her own business, Divine Order. The tagline for her business reads, “Organize. Simplify. Breathe.” It’s easy to think that the first word in the tagline, “organize,” is the most important, but — as Barbara points out — simplifying is part of organization. Without those order and simplicity, many people feel they can’t breathe. The mantra ties together well.

I had a chance to talk with Barbara Bougher recently. She discussed the business as a whole, and related some of her personal experience with clients. Here are some notes from our conversation.

The journey to organization with Barbara Bougher

Barbara Bougher

Uncle Bob’s Self Storage: How do people come to the point where they feel they need a professional to help them?

Barbara Bougher: People usually call me because they’re overwhelmed. They’ve recently moved, had a child, been sidelined with an illness, or been through a divorce. The people who call me are not at peace with their environment. Their personal space, home space, and even emotional space causes them stress and anxiety.

Uncle Bob’s Self Storage: So they let their homes, cars, or offices get out of order? They accumulate too much stuff?

Barbara Bougher: It’s not about the stuff, although many people think that. It’s about relationships with the stuff. And in order to help someone sort through their stuff, you first need to understand their connection to it. You need to understand their systems, or lack thereof.

Uncle Bob’s Self Storage: So, where do you start?

Barbara Bougher: I always start by telling clients, “This isn’t about creating Martha Stewart perfection. It’s about creating a space that works for you.”

You need to know the individual. I’ll always do an initial phone consultation to get to know the person and learn about their space. I need to assess their personality to see if we can work together. If so, a physical assessment will follow, where I inquire about the current state, desired state, and their goals.

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Simply put, I find the gaps, then I fill them. From there, I’ll create a summary, go over it with the client, and the work begins.

Uncle Bob’s Self Storage: What about your clients? What are some of the problems they encounter while you’re working with them?

Barbara Bougher: Mostly, people have trouble adopting the behaviors necessary for staying organized. I’ll help them initially organize, departmentalize, let go, and give away their stuff, but once I’m gone, that’s when they struggle.

It’s about changing a habit and behavior – like quitting smoking, changing your diet, or starting a new exercise program. It’s not a one and done. People will get sidetracked, relapse, reset, and hopefully get back on track. It’s all part of it.

I always tell people, “This is not an event. It’s a journey.”

Uncle Bob’s Self Storage: I know this is probably tough, but do you have any basic organizing tips?

Barbara Bougher: Yes, absolutely. Define what type of a life you want – and make sure your environment matches that goal. Identify what resources you need to reach that goal.

People go through a life change, and they have this great stuff, but they’ve moved, and they can’t find a place for it. So, I ask them, “How does this serve the life you have now?”

Also, remember, it’s not about being perfect or keeping up with the ultra-organized Joneses. It’s about finding what’s right for you.

And lastly, take your time. Enjoy it. You’ll be really relieved and full of joy when you start seeing results, and the results come quickly.

Header photo from Flicker / bekassine….


Moving? Downsizing? Getting organized? Self storage can be a real help. Visit Uncle Bob’s Self Storage and find out how a storage unit as small as 5′ x 5′ or as large as 10′ x 30′ can help you declutter your home today. Visit us online at www.unclebobs.com.


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