Why I Don't Use Before and After Photos

There is a lot "they" say about how to market your services.

When you help people downsize and organize, "before and after" photos seem to be the language. But I am resistant. Anyone can make a space look clean and clear. This can be done after a legitimate overhaul or by moving things out of the way for a photo shoot. Some consider these visuals as proof of work well done. Others see them as aspirational or motivational. But this work is far less about clear, white surfaces: it's about the way you engage with objects in your life. It's about priorities. So these photos miss the point.

I wish, instead, there was a way to capture the experience of sadness, joy, and relief as someone finally lets something go; that moment of release. It is powerful and tends to create an open space far larger than any empty closet shelf.

Everyone is different. Peace and productivity in the home follows this same principle. Some people are visual and tactile in how they interact with the world. Their necessities and material inspiration must be visually available in a way that registers with them. If you see yourself in this group, I worry that these types of photos either make you feel that you can never achieve order in your life or even pay a bill on time. Or you end up reaching for an ideal that doesn't meet your needs.

Sometimes the biggest change or a-ha moment comes part way through a project. The "after" is more of an afterthought at that point.

There is no photo that represents these efforts or even the outcomes because this is about rethinking what you need and what you want, and creating functional systems that allow you to get things done while be inspired and comfortable. Really good systems are made out of habits as much as they are based on the physical space. And we all hold a different vision of how a organized and meaningful life manifests in our home. Life can never be picture perfect and it doesn't need to be to find simplicity.