We received a question from one of our students. We thought our readers would also benefit from Wendy’s answer.



Hello Angela and Wendy,

When jobs are being arranged by a third party, I’m finding it hard to establish a brief and sometimes a budget. Making the home safe is always part of the conversation but the vague guideline of tidy up or clean up is often used. I communicate back with what I feel that looks like for the client.

Is there a better way I can have a conversation with them to achieve a more precise brief?

Loving the course! Thank you

Veronica Kennedy, Professional Organiser



Hi Veronica,

Great question! When you get to module 6 of the online training you will learn the answer in full! In the meantime, it’s not unusual for people to talk about a clean up with no clear idea of what that might look like. TV style transformations paint an unrealistic picture of what is possible, and the well-being of the occupants takes a back seat to the wow-factor of the end result.

In the real world, establishing a clear brief is essential for managing expectations, allocating resources, and ensuring the occupants well-being is kept at the centre of all work.  At Hoarding Home Solutions, we recommend specific questions to help drill down to establish a common understanding of what needs to be achieved.

Clean Up HoardingImagine an example where you have an elderly gentleman living in a heavily cluttered unit…  Newspapers line the passage ways and countertops.  The oven and cooktop haven’t worked for some time but he has a kettle, toaster, television and small space heater plugged into a power board near his favourite chair. A spare room is filled with “projects” and memorabilia. His bedroom is dark and dreary, but the floor is relatively clear and he can sleep in his bed. You have been hired to “clean-up”.  Yikes! That could mean anything from dealing with the obvious fire hazards to a whole house declutter and spruce-up. It’s your job to find out how long that proverbial piece of string actually is. Some questions that will help you do that are:

  • Why now?
  • What is the minimum amount of work that needs to be done to address the primary concern?
  • What overall standard of decluttering and cleaning is expected? When?
  • What funds are available?
  • How would you like the person to live differently in the home once the work is completed?

In the absence of a clear brief, it is your job to tease the information out of the person hiring you and sense check their expectations.  In the Hoarding Home Solutions online training we go into more detail about how these questions can be used to aid communication and create a plan that everyone can agree on.

Glad you’re loving the course. There’s so much to learn.

Wendy Hanes

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