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Areas of Expertise

As a trained professional organizer I know that the benefits of organizing are wide reaching. I also know that while it may be easy to say that your goal is to be more organized it can be very difficult to implement. 

Becoming organized is made even more difficult if you are challenged by any of the following conditions.

ADHD and Executive Functioning

Have you been diagnosed with ADHD? Maybe you suspect you have ADHD because you have classic symptoms.

I want to be completely transparent and let you know that I am not a therapist. I am, however, trained as an ADHD Organizing Specialist.

What does that mean? I have studied and earned the designation ADHD Organizing Specialist with the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. Also, I continue to read books on ADHD looking for new strategies to create organizing solutions for people challenged by this condition.

What does the term executive functioning mean? 

Here is a simple explanation, Executive Functioning refers to something that the Prefrontal Cortex in your brain is supposed to do. It is supposed to act like an executive and let you make informed decisions.

The Prefrontal Cortex is the part of the brain that works on categorizing, sorting, classifying, prioritizing, planning, self-control, self-management, time management, and making decisions. You can read more about executive functions and the prefrontal cortex in this article.

When you have ADHD, these skills are sometimes challenging. It can be very difficult to focus on one task long enough to make tough decisions. You may become distracted by an idea, by looking at something you forgot you had, by touching something sentimental and reliving an emotional event.

Often people with ADHD begin a project because they are excited by an idea. 

When the project becomes complicated, or they must plan multiple steps they can hit a roadblock, and the project is stopped in its tracks. Or, midway through one project they have another idea, start the second project, leave the first project as a work-in-progress, and forget to plan time to finish it.

The thought of organizing a pile of things you had set aside is not sparkly, fun, or appealing but it is something that must be done, or the pile will continue to grow. It will never magically disappear no matter how much you want that to happen.

My job as your trained professional organizer is to help you maintain focus. 

Together we decide what to work on and then I break that project down into small, manageable components. We work together for short periods of time which enables you to hang in there with me. 

My promise to you is that at the end of a working session, we will have finished what we set out to do. 

Anxiety & Worry

For many people, exploring hiring a professional organizer is not without anxiety, worry, and a little stress. It’s very common, and if you’re feeling this way, you are not alone.

Organizing is a process that can be filled with anxiety and worry even if you are not an anxious person ordinarily. If you are like most people, you tidy up before the house cleaner comes and even worry about what may be in their way. Worrying about how you’re “seen” by someone who is looking at your private world is normal.

For many people, their anxiety grows when thinking about letting a professional organizer into your home. I know this to be true on several levels.

Most of my clients tell me they are anxious about our sessions. 

For this, I always apologize. They always tell me that it’s not me – it’s the thought of going through their stuff. They worry about what we’ll find and what we’re going to do about it. I ask them to take a breath and we talk about the project for the day. Then, they know it’s going to be OK.

Additionally, to earn my Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization, one of the assignments was to hire a professional organizer. The mere thought of this assignment filled me with dread. 

Where would we work? 

How long would it take? 

What would they think about me? 

These were the questions rolling around in my head.

The day came and my palms were damp. I was clearly anxious even though I was hiring a friend. Logically I knew it would be fine, emotionally I was worried. It turns out, we had fun together. We put on some music, and I told stories about the things we were sorting through as we organized my storage room. The time flew by.

All this is to let you know that I understand. 

When the time comes and you’re ready to hire me you too may be very anxious and worried about the process. Let me know if you’re feeling this way. We will work through it together.

The goal is to help you, not judge you.

Graceful Time Management

Time management is a true misnomer. We all know that you can not ever truly manage time. It just marches on. What we can do is manage the demands on our time. We can also manage how we respond to all the little things that get in the way of how we want to use our time.

Problems arise when we try to pack too much into each day. We often forget that a portion of the day must be devoted to eating, socializing, and sleeping for us to be healthy and have some sense of balance in our lives.

This is what I specialize in – making the best use of your available time.

I will work with you to create a plan so that you can get the things done you have to do and the things you want to do.

This is not magic.

It is figuring out what the time drains are and how you can plan more efficiently.

It is also acknowledging that things will happen that are not planned and learning how to flex your schedule to accommodate these unexpected time demands.

During the process, we will work together to create some better routines and habits. This will help you be more productive. The result is that you will be on time or early for meetings and appointments. Your projects will be done on time, and you’ll find that you get things done with less stress. 

Another benefit that comes along with having good time management skills is that you will also have time for yourself to relax and recharge.

Hoarding & Excessive Clutter

Homes become full of stuff for a variety of different reasons. It may be hoarding, or it may be that the organizational systems don’t work due to chronic disorganization. Whatever the reason, the over-abundance of stuff is stressful and takes a toll on every facet of your life. 

Many people who have hoarding behaviors and tendencies or excessive clutter are embarrassed by the way their home looks and are reluctant to have anyone over. We call this CHAOS: Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome.

Sometimes, they don’t even really know how their home came to be so full. The hoarding behaviors may have started as collecting. When someone has hoarding behaviors and tendencies, they tend to create piles, and before they know it, there are stacks everywhere.

The thought of going through all these piles is overwhelming. Cleaning up is difficult. It’s important to work with an objective, trained professional who will support the person challenged by hoarding behaviors and tendencies or excessive clutter in their efforts to change their habits and their environment. 

Here are some behaviors commonly associated with hoarding:
  1. There is a persistent difficulty in discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them.
  2. The person experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of items.
  3. The home has an excessive accumulation of stuff, regardless of value.
  4. Rooms in the home cannot be used as intended because they are full.
Here are the three hallmarks of chronic disorganization or excessive clutter:
  1. It persists over a long period of time
  2. Frequently undermines your quality of life
  3. Recurs despite self-help attempts

If this is your problem I can help.

My goal is to create organizing strategies that work for you in your environment. 

William Morris, a 19th-century English craftsman, said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful

I share this quote with my clients because I believe it can guide us in controlling excessive clutter in our homes.

Things accumulate in our homes over time unless we give our attention to the meaning they bring to our lives. Things break and instead of scheduling time to get them fixed or fix them ourselves, we put it off until later. 

These things get stuck in a drawer, at the back of the closet or cupboard, in the attic, or in the garage. Before we know it, these spaces are filled up and overflowing!  We forget to go through these hiding places and empty them of the things we know we don’t use or want anymore.

As you look around your home ask yourself:
1. Do I use this? If you do great! Find a place to keep it.
2. Do I believe this is beautiful? If you don’t like the way something looks and you don’t use it, what is it doing in your home?

The benefits of controlling clutter are:
1. You will save time because you won’t waste time looking for the things you want. You’ll know where they are.
2. You will save money because you won’t waste money buying duplicates.
3. You will have less stress. Science has proven that extremely cluttered environments are stressful.

Before I start working with you, we will talk through your goals and create a comprehensive plan.

We will work on one area of your home at a time, focusing first on safety. Then on maintenance strategies.

We will reduce piles and tripping hazards and create a walkway at least 36 inches wide so that first responders can come into your home with a gurney if needed.

My promise to you is that we will work together to create organizing solutions for you so it’s easy for you to find your things, maintain a sense of order, and feel comfortable in your home. 

Organizing Documents & Adulting

Documents and papers continue to be a thorn in the side of many of my clients.

Documents arrive (either in your email or in your postal mailbox). How you organize them is important because when these documents are organized, they are easy to find.

And sometimes it is critical to find them.

Are you wondering, why?

Vital documents serve to identify you and protect you in case of a medical emergency and insurance needs. These include but are not limited to things like your birth certificate, social security, financial and investment information, and (yes) a home inventory.

Organize your digital files the same way you organize paper files. You can start with the year and then the category or the reverse. Label the files in a way that makes sense to you.

This is all part of being an adult.

Do not make the mistake of thinking, I will never need this document for that is exactly when you will be required to produce it.

Small Spaces & Maximizing Space

When you are living in a small space it is more challenging to stay organized because you have less space.

It is more important than ever to pay attention to what you use, what you need, and what you love to surround yourself with.

Having said that, here are some great tips you can use to organize in a small space and make the best use of the space you have.

Put your furniture to use. If you are buying furniture, look for pieces that also offer storage.

For instance, a hollow footstool. Use that space to store a cozy blanket or throw, knitting, sewing, or even board games.

A coffee table with a shelf underneath is a great place to stash books or magazines.

Go vertical. 

Stack the washer and dryer, then use the space beside them to store cleaning tools and supplies.

Remember to use the space under the bed and up high in the closet.

Getting Started

I am committed to helping my clients live in a more peaceful environment. Whether this means helping to create a user-friendly filing system (both paper and digital), working to build better habits, or figuring out how to make the best use of your space I am there for you.

Please notice that I do not do this for you, I work with you so that the home organizing strategies are ones you can envision yourself following.

It all starts with a discovery phone consultation which typically lasts about 30 minutes. We will talk about the challenges you are facing in your home, your reason for making a change now, and how you would like your home to look.

Then we will schedule a time to get started. A work appointment lasts a minimum of two hours and a maximum of four hours. 

Decision-making is hard work, so I limit the number of hours spent on organizing to a maximum of four hours.

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