Finding a time to talk
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When Can I Have 10 Minutes of Your Time?



A  family member decides to organize the hallway closet or the laundry room or the family office.  Of course, there are going to be questions for other household individuals regarding stuff, time, and intentions.  How do we ask our questions so as not to distract, irritate, or continually interrupt our partner or child as we organize? 

Examples of things we might want to ask

-Do you want this?
-When are you planning to work on_____?
-Shall we attend this event?
-Where should we put this?
-Do you know where the cord is for this?
-Did you pay this bill?

It makes total sense to want an answer for these questions and to want an answer now. 

After all, organizing is challenging enough on its own.  If we don’t ask now, we might forget to ask at all. Or we might have a hard time moving on to the next item without resolving what to do with the first.
When can we talk?

Why it might make sense to wait

Waiting to ask a family member when it is convenient for them (and for you) helps facilitate a respectful environment and good will toward each other.  Often, when the family member becomes impatient, the asker becomes impatient, too.  Which, in turn, frustrates the family member, which, in turn, frustrates the asker.  And the frustrations continue to mount.

What are the alternatives if you have to wait?

  • Explain that you are working on some organizing and you are going to have some questions.  Ask when would be a convenient time to check-in.  You could even add that ideally it would be between ____ and ____.  But if that doesn’t work, when in the coming week does?
  • Have an active question basket.  If you'd like, you can set aside a routine time each week when you go through the basket and ask your questions.

How do you keep track of your questions?

  • Your boxed items might be enough to trigger your questions. 
  • If there are some questions that are not directly related to the items, list your questions on a piece paper and put the paper in the box.  You can also record your question(s) on your phone. 


The goal of this plan is to make everyone happy.  The asker gets the information they need, and the receiver gets a heads-up about when they are going to be asked questions.  Win, Win!
Copyright © 2017 Susan Hunsberger Professional Organizer, All rights reserved.

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