Last week I wrote about helping clients to let go and the magic of being able to pass things on to someone who needs it more.
There is an exception to that which is worth mentioning. As a professional organiser, I never accept decluttered items from my clients.
I’ve been offered some lovely things and quite a few horrid things too. It would be easy for me to take the things I liked to keep for myself. It would be easy for me to take the things I don’t like and donate them elsewhere. You might think that would do the client a favour, helping them to let go, whatever it takes.
Thanks, but no thanks. Doing that crosses a line and blurs the boundaries.
Worse still, I have heard of not-so-professional organisers offering to take items to a charity shop but actually cherry-picking items to keep for themselves. Somewhere on the internet is a video of one such not-so-professional organiser walking down the street wearing a client’s fur coat which had supposedly been donated. Not acceptable.
But what about when the client really wants you to have something? Here are some reasons to say “Thanks, but not thanks”.
What if your client offers you a piece of jewellery and then later their sister/niece/daughter/mother says they wanted it? Now you have the whole family mad at you, questioning your motives about working with your client.
What if your client gives you something they no longer want which you accept but pass it on to a charity, and then the client changes their mind? Now you’re in a pickle and trust is broken.
What if, at one session, your client happily gives you something which you like and accept, and then at the next session they want to give you something else which you don’t like? Do you accept it so as not to offend, or reject it and possibly damage your relationship?
I never put myself in a position where my motives could be questioned, or the relationship with my client could be damaged.
But other than saying, “Thanks, but no thanks”, how can you convey your policy on this point? Here are some suggestions:
- Sorry, I can’t. It’s policy.
- Sorry, I can’t. It’s against our Code of Ethics.
- Sorry, I can’t but I can suggest a charity that would love to take it.