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  • Wednesday, May 19, 2021 12:13 PM | Cindy Greenleaf (Administrator)

    Do you have too much stuff? Do you just want to streamline what you have? 

    A Professional Organizer is just the person to help you in the process of decluttering, sorting and organizing any space!  Find a Professional Organizer who meets your needs, goals and one you feel comfortable with.  He/she can be an objective third party who can give you new perspectives on your spaces and maximize their functionality.  

    As with any field, there are niches and experts in particular areas.  Look for a NAPO member who has experience in the type of organizing you desire.  NAPO, The National Assoc. of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, is the trade association for the industry.

    Why choose a NAPO Professional Organizer?

    NAPO Professional Organizers are trained experts in the field who belong to the association and have learned strategies, techniques, ethics, standards and quality of services with all things that are organization- and productivity-related.  It is important to hire an Organizer who knows the field, has experience and understanding of the intricacies of handling their clients “Stuff,” mentally and/or physically.  A NAPO member hits all those marks.

    Can I just have a family member or friend help me instead?  

    Remember that sometimes family members or friends want to help you in the decluttering and organizing process but may not see eye-to-eye with you on what is or is not important.  There may be emotions that get brought into the process from a family member or friend who may have an interest in your items or keeping them in the family. That can mean pressure and guilt.  No one likes to have to hold onto items out of guilt and that only brings negative emotions.

    Keeping items when there is a purpose and place for them or when the items bring positive thoughts/feelings make much more sense.  Positivity begets happiness and that applies when we are dealing with all our "stuff!" 

    Here’s how a Professional Organizer can help you:

    1. Helps with the sorting and deciding process.

    2. Helps with figuring out the best way to use valuable storage spaces.

    3. Reorganizes the spaces using organizing products on hand or recommended.

    4. Fills the role as the objective person in the process.

    5. Frees up your time to do the things you want to do.

    6. Reduces anxiety and uncertainty by helping to bring a process and game plan to the table.

    7. May offer haul away donations and recycling so you can see the progress made.

    8. Can offer ongoing maintenance tips/help. 

    How do I find a NAPO Professional Organizer?

    You can find a Professional Organizer in your area by searching this website under Our Chapter, then go to Our Membership Directory.  Members are listed there alphabetically but you can also click on Advanced Search to search by County or Organizing specialty. 

    Nationally, you can go to to search for NAPO National members.        

    If you have Chronic Disorganization challenges such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, hoarding, etc., you can find an organizing expert at            

    Happy Organizing!

    Post written by Susie Marsh, NAPO Michigan Member and LBSW/owner of Susie's Organization Solutions LLC
  • Monday, May 03, 2021 4:12 PM | Cindy Greenleaf (Administrator)

    Moms are usually the family historians that take most of the pictures. These photos capture beautiful moments of their families at school, work, play, sports, vacation, all because they want to remember a moment in time.    

    However, since moms are the ones with a cell phone or camera in their hands, they rarely appear in pictures themselves.  Husbands and children please take note, moms want to have pictures with their family to look back on. 

    If you see her helping the children with day-to-day activities, please take the picture.

    If she’s cheering on the kids with a group of other moms at a tee ball game, please take the picture.

    If she’s helping the children with homework and everyone breaks out laughing, please take the picture.

    She wants to remember these special times as a family. 

    Do her a favor and PLEASE TAKE THE PICTURE!

    Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms!

    This post written by NAPO Michigan Business Partner Patty Hopp, Owner of Pictures of You, Photo Organizing business.

  • Wednesday, December 09, 2020 10:14 AM | Cindy Greenleaf (Administrator)

    One of my favorite games to play with my children when they were young is the “matching game”.  You know, the game that requires players to match similar elements on cards by turning one card over and then turning over a second card in hopes that they “match”.   

    According to Google, Matching and Memory Games have many benefits including....

    · Improved concentration

    · Increased short term memory

    · Increased attention to detail

    · Improved ability to find similarities and differences in objects

    · Improved vocabulary

    · Help to classify objects that are grouped by similar traits

    These benefits are not limited to children, but are also seen in adults, especially the elderly.

    Matching and Memory Games can be purchased at the store, or can easily be made at home using photos of your family members glued to cardboard or heavy paper.

    Your children may even enjoy helping you make a set of “matching cards” and then have a family night where your family can enjoy a competitive game of Matching.

    This post written by NAPO Michigan Business Partner Patty Hopp, Owner of Pictures of You, Photo Organizing business.

  • Wednesday, November 18, 2020 2:03 PM | Cindy Greenleaf (Administrator)

    Organizing your mind is just as important as organizing your home. By setting aside an hour to download and let go of all the “I should’s” that live in our brains, we eliminate mental clutter and create space for future possibility. Goal setting is a simple, straightforward way of creating this space.

    Many of us shy away from goal setting. We’re fearful of not accomplishing our goal; therefore, we don’t solidify the exact result we’re hoping to achieve. We think that we need to know all the steps necessary to achieve the goal before we begin. What if the act of selecting one result for the upcoming week, one for the month, one for the upcoming season, and one for the upcoming year was about the journey and the process and not the result? What if we gave ourselves grace to learn and grow along the way?

    Empty Your Mind

    Begin by setting aside a peaceful hour on your weekly calendar. Perhaps it’s early in the morning or late a night. Grab a few pieces of paper or a journal, and your favorite beverage and drop all expectations for yourself. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and empty out your current thoughts about your home, business, family, and/or yourself. Don’t judge the thoughts or the “I should’s” that arise, just write down the phrases that exist in your subconscious. These are the thoughts that rarely see the light of day. “I should call my grandmother more. I should spend less time on social media. I’d love to make more money next year. I should figure out how to fix this thing that’s been bugging me for ages.”

    Again, don’t judge yourself. These thoughts are currently weighing your mind down. They’re taking up your brain’s processing space. Some of these items you’ll eventually decide to act upon.  Some of them will turn out to be less of a priority than you originally thought. By allowing yourself dedicated time and space to make visible the mental clutter, you’ll then be able to evaluate the items objectively.

    Permit Yourself to Dream

    Next, allow yourself to dream. This can be challenging at first. Our primitive brains are designed to keep us safe – from not taking risks. Imagine a money goal, a relationship goal, a selfcare goal. Most likely, a tiny voice will pop up and say, “you don’t have time to…” Recognize that it’s your brain’s default mechanism trying to keep you stuck right where you are. It’s just a voice, and you can choose not to listen to it. List the possibilities, no matter how ridiculous or time consuming they seem. Again, it’s about acknowledging and creating the vision for your heart’s desire.

    These two lists can co-exist in your life. Recognize that every single phrase you put down is optional. Some items may feel more critical and pressing than others; others feel impossible. Creating awareness around this is key. Every task and every goal take time to accomplish. You are in charge of what makes sense for you and your lifestyle at this moment.

    Evaluate and Constrain

    The process of setting goals is not scripted. The next step is to evaluate your lists for what you’d like to do, what you’d like to accomplish, and recognizing the relief or joy you’d feel by intentionally working towards making it happen. Simultaneously, recognize what you don’t want to do, what’s not an immediate priority, and allow yourself to classify those items as “someday maybe” tasks. We all have an unknown, fixed amount of time in our lives, and identifying what you’d like to accomplish, is in essence goal setting.

    Give yourself permission to constrain to a few goals at a time. We often believe that, through multitasking or overscheduling ourselves, we will accomplish more. Setting goals gives our minds specific tasks to focus on. Trying to add more than a few things to your goal list will reintroduce the overwhelmed feeling you get. Your brain will get distracted more easily, and the tiny voice that keeps you stuck will return.

    Ask yourself: “What’s one thing I can do this week that I’ve been avoiding?” Schedule time to make it happen. “What’s one thing I can reasonably set aside time to get done this month?” It can be as simple as sort through seasonal clothing and identify clothing for donations. It could be to finish the book that’s on your nightstand. Setting the intention and the time to do the task is more critical than the topic of the task itself. Repeat the questioning for the upcoming season and year.

    Once you select one goal for each timeline, tuck your lists away. Get out your paper or electronic calendar and schedule the time to work towards your goal. For those that are distant goals (quarterly or yearly), simply put a note every week or two to check in with yourself about your progress. Set time to remind yourself of why the goal is important and why you’re consciously adding it to your calendar.

    Love Yourself and Your Effort

    Goal setting takes practice and focus, yet it’s a guaranteed way to move you forward. Just like organizing a junk drawer or cleaning out your closet will build the skill of decision making, setting goals of any size will encourage you to decide how best to spend your time. Instead of spinning in indecision and overwhelm, you will have decided exactly what to accomplish and scheduled the time to accomplish it.

    Practice loving yourself along the way. For longer term goals, the process itself becomes the result. Acknowledge wins of any size and congratulate yourself. Rewarding your brain with positive affirmation will create reinforcement to repeat the process. You’ll build evidence of your own success, effort by effort. Whether you complete your goal within your designated time frame is totally up to you. Getting the task or dream goal out of your head and onto the calendar is a gorgeous first step.

    Post written by Amelia Pleasant Kennedy, NAPO Michigan Member and Owner of A Pleasant Solution .  

  • Tuesday, July 21, 2020 7:00 PM | Cindy Greenleaf (Administrator)


    Most of us have watched those Hoarding shows and seen how, within a “tv hour”, a team of 4-6 people empties, cleans and organizes an entire house.  Someone watching the show might not realize that the team was probably more like 15 that worked 6-8 hours a day for several days. 

    With the magic of editing, it looks so quick and easy when, in reality, there was a lot of hard work and many decisions to make.

    While not everyone will have a whole house that needs to be emptied, it is hard to know what the process is like to work with a Professional Organizer if you have never done so before. 

    Every Professional Organizer has their own method and flow but there are some things that will be similar.

    Once you have decided you are ready to tackle that project or deal with clutter that never seems to go away, you need to contact an Organizer, whom you may have found through or a referral of an Organizer a friend has used. 

    There will first be an assessment of what you want to do and what your ultimate goal for a space is. This could take place via phone, video chat or in-person.  Due to the personal nature of the work, it is important when choosing the right Organizer that both the potential client and the Organizer feel comfortable and be a good fit, skill-wise.

    If we get a call from someone who needs a skill set that we don’t have, we’re more than ready to refer the potential client to another NAPO Michigan Organizer who does have the skill set they need. 

    The Organizer will work with you to decide where to start and agree on the intended goal for the space.  Then you will schedule a date to begin the work.  Generally, the Organizer will work side-by-side with you (unless you are organizing virtually) to first sort through the items in the space you are tackling.  As you are sorting like items together, you will throw out broken items and obvious trash, as well as gather items you want to donate so someone else can use them.

    Once you know what items you want to keep, the Organizer will help you identify the best place and way to store those items.  Sometimes clients may want to use containers and bins that they already have in their home.  Other times, the client will want to purchase new, matching containers to give the space a coordinated and finished look. 

    Professional Organizers can help you chose containers, and some will take the extra step of helping you shop for them either via the internet or doing an in-store pick up for items you have ordered.

    Professional Organizer sessions can range from 3-7 hours depending on the client’s needs, health and mental stamina. Some projects can be completed in one day and some might be ongoing for quite some time.  Some Organizers have a team of 2-3 workers, while others work solo alongside the client.  Generally, Organizers tend to work with the client, rather than while the client is at work, so that the client is there to make decisions about what they want to keep and get rid of.  But that’s not to say there aren’t times when an Organizer couldn’t be in the house alone completing a task that they have agreed upon with a client.

    By the end of the appointment, the Organizer will help you move your bagged trash out to your trash cans, as well as consolidating items for donation into one area. 

    Depending on the amount of trash or donation items you have gathered, the Organizer may help you find a donation charity or junk hauling company to pick up and remove them.

    Hopefully, you will find that working with a Professional Organizer is a pleasant experience and usually goes much more smoothly than trying to work with a family member or suffering through doing it on your own. 

    Professional Organizers are there to help guide and motivate you, helping you through the decision-making process toward a well-organized home.

    This NAPO Michigan Blog post was written by Kari Grady, Director of Membership and owner of Need to Organize LLC.

  • Thursday, June 04, 2020 2:17 PM | Cindy Greenleaf (Administrator)

    NAPO Michigan represents the best Organizing and Productivity Professional Members in our state. While most of our Blog posts are written from a we,  or a Chapter perspective, once in a while we receive a submission that tells the true story of an individual. While the story may be about one of us in particular, this story is compelling and displays the reason why we all do what we do. Organizers of all types, including Photo Managers,  help families and individuals sort through their family stories and memorabilia, prioritize those of significance, then determine and create the means to retain that family history for posterity.

    Read on. We hope you gain perspective of the value of what we all do from this timely piece by NAPO Michigan Member, Patty Hopp, a Professional Photo Manager.

    Most of us would agree that the past few months of quarantine have been difficult.  We’ve been forced to adjust and change our “normal” way of life.  Many of us started working from home instead of going to an office to work.  Children are now home-schooled instead of going to school with their friends.  Our old routine and past ways of doing things have changed.

    In the middle of all the uncertainty and chaos, I’ve seen many awesome pictures that truly tell the story of what we’re going through.  Facebook is filled each day with pictures of families spending more time together, of siblings playing outside having fun, with pictures of people helping other people, and stories of great acts of kindness.

    Last week, a friend of mine shared a photo of her boys arm wrestling in their driveway.  I LOVE this photo.  The look on each of their faces is absolutely priceless.  You can see their determination to win and their competitiveness while enjoying some quality time as brothers.

    Recent social media has also been filled with numerous stories about random acts of kindness.  I’ve seen several pictures and read stories of many of our local school lunch ladies and volunteers who are working countless hours preparing and delivering meals to children.  These people are true HEROES.

    As we continue to move forward while still under our Stay at Home order, I encourage you to take pictures of your “day to day” activities.  One day you’ll look back through your photos and think about how the coronavirus changed your life and the lives of those you love!

    Written by NAPO Michigan Member Patty Hopp, Professional Photo Manager,

  • Friday, April 17, 2020 6:01 PM | Cindy Greenleaf (Administrator)

    NAPO Michigan represents the best Organizing and Productivity Professional Members in our state. While most of our Blog posts are written from a we,  or a Chapter perspective, once in a while we receive a submission that tells the true story of an individual. While the story may be about one of us in particular, this story is compelling and displays the reason why we all do what we do. Organizers help families and individuals sort through their family stories and memorabilia, prioritize those of significance, then determine and create the means to retain that family history for posterity.

    Read on. We hope you gain perspective of the value of what we all do from this timely piece by NAPO Michigan Business Partner, Marianne Behler, a Certified Photo Organizer.


    My mother, Berniece A. Lewis, was born during the Flu Pandemic of 1918 to Benjamin Frank Lewis and Malona (Barks) Lewis on July 18,1918. She was their third daughter.

    Lewis Family - 1911 – Berniece Lewis’ parents far left; Frank and Malona Lewis with daughter, Opal

    By November 1, both of her parents had died.

    My mother’s sister, Opal later wrote of her earliest memories. “I saw my mother in bed with a lovely new sister that looked like my baby picture. I adored her and enjoyed rocking her”. She continues; “One day our neighbor came to tell us that his son was home from France. He was a soldier and had been wounded while fighting in our army. He was also having a high fever and needed someone at his bedside especially at night. My dad offered to help and after a week or so he, too, became ill. He kept doing the chores and got some of his crops in the barn. Then my mother started not feeling well. By that time my dad was in bed. My mom pumped the horse trough full of water, threw out a lot of hay and baked and cooked extra food. Next morning, she was unable to get up. She took the three-month-old baby to bed with her. I took diapers to her and gave my parents cold drinks of water while feeding my three-year-old sister and trying to keep her amused. That night my dad called me to the bed and talked a long time to me, making me understand how very ill he and mom were. He put my little red coat and hood on me and buttoned my high-top black shoes, lit a lantern for me to carry, and told me to go to our neighbor a mile and a half through a corn field. I was to tell them to contact my grandparents about ten miles away.”

    At seven, Opal walked to the neighbors to contact her grandparents because her parents were sick with the flu. The parents died but their three daughters survived. My mother was orphaned as a baby, yet she survived. Because she survived, I was born as were my children and grandchildren.

    Each of the three daughters were adopted by different family members from both sides of the family. My mother, was adopted by her father’s sister, Serrah Anne married to John H. Cook. They had one biological daughter Pearl. My mother adored Pearl. She claimed she was her shadow. Sadly, Pearl died on her wedding day of lockjaw. But that’s another story.

    Berniece at age three with Pearl

    My mother grew up in Arkansas and their family eventually moved to Michigan in the 1930’s where my grandfather got a job in South Lyon. My mother finished high school, started working and went on to marry my father, and as they say . . . the rest is history at least for me, my children and 10 grandchildren.

    Senior Trip 1938. Berniece Cook 2nd from right. “They drove in cars, five in each. There were not enough teachers to have one in each car. We lucked out and we didn’t have one!”

    So why share this story now? The Covid-19 pandemic is calling me to share it. Many stories are being published about the 1918 flu pandemic history now. My mother’s story is one of them. I am writing about my mother’s story to preserve and share it with my family.  I also want to encourage all of us to tell our story of Covid-19 now.

    The word I have used to describe both my mother and her story is; perseverance. Adopted at three months, she grew up poor but was determined to finish high school even as the family moved around. She knew that education would be the way to a better life. She loved learning. Her hard work and dedication became a stepping stone to many life-long achievements.

    What pictures and stories does your family have waiting to be shared and told? Do stories of your family tell of lives well lived? Have your parents or grandparents overcome adversity? Have they been able to achieve beyond what would have been normal expectations?

    I’m sharing this story 102 years later during Covid-19 because what is happening now is defining our lives. Unlike the flu pandemic of 1918, we have an abundance of pictures to help us tell our stories.

    For me, this has been a time to call family members and see what if anything was written down about our family during the 1918 pandemic. I located the actual notes and a written account from my aunt Opal. I located the genealogy of both sides of my mother’s family. I pulled out the scrapbook album that my mother and I put together of her life with all of her old photos. I found a small photo book treasure that I created for my mother of her 90th birthday celebration. 

    Celebrating Berniece’s 90th Birthday – 2008. What a wonderful celebration. Berniece in front in the pink.

    At the beginning of Covid-19, I began taking pictures to tell a new story. I have pictures of what I have been doing, of what my children and grandchildren have been doing. I made soup and shared it with neighbors and friends. I have made phone calls to make sure people I know and love know I are thinking about and praying for them. I am holding Zoom meetings. I have started a gratitude journal. All these things are helping me tell my story

    A new Story – Zooming with family on Easter, 2020

    How about you? What are you and your family doing right now? Many children stopped going to school in March which means many of you are homeschooling for the first time. Are you and your spouse working from home? Are you practicing social-distancing? Are you glued to the news and to the daily briefings? Are you too trying to figure out life during a quarantine?

    As a Photo Manager, I am privileged to see my client’s pictures and hear their stories. I work with them to organize their photo collections. I scan the photos, memorabilia and treasures of their lives. I create photo books to help them tell their stories; births, graduations, retirements and life histories. Once the photos have been preserved and their stories told, they are documented for future generations.

    Let me challenge you to tell your story. What will you, your children and your grandchildren want to remember of Covid-19? Tell it, write it down now. Let this be a time when you preserve your photos and tell your story.

    Article submitted by Chapter Business Partner, Marianne Behler, Certified Photo Manager at Lifetime Photo Solutions.

  • Friday, April 03, 2020 1:42 PM | Cindy Greenleaf (Administrator)

    Now that spring is here and most of us have been stuck at home because of the Covid-19 virus, why not spend a little time addressing your foyer and closet.

    These simple tips from the National Association of Professional Organizers in Michigan will help your family get and stay organized.

    As always, take out everything from the closet, placing all items into their categories, such as —

    · Footwear, sorted by season

    · Coats, sorted by season

    · Gloves, scarves and hats

    · Sports stuff

    · Umbrellas, purses, and bags

    · Pet items

    Start with the coats that you wear most for the spring and summer season. Then match up your footwear underneath.

    This might be the time to include a shoe organizer to better use the limited space available.

    Depending on the size of the front closet, decide how many items should go back in, with a little room to spare for future additions. If you don’t have a lot of long coats, perhaps you could consider turning this closet into a double hung closet?

    Making the most of your vertical storage could be a real bonus.

    Next, match up gloves, toss out singles and those that have seen better days, and donate others, if you find you have too many. 

    Put your gloves, scarves and hats for each family member in a basket, container/bin or over-the-door organizer.  This is a great time to see if your child has outgrown any items.  If closet space is at a real premium, you could choose to move these down to the basement for the warmer weather.  

    Place a rubber mat on the closet floor for those wet shoes/boots. You could also place a carpet piece or rubber mat by the door that you use every day as a landing pad.

    If you have dogs, start a bag or basket for their winter sweaters and place a handy hook for their leashes and collar in the closet or by the door.

    It’s also a great idea to install more wall hooks, especially if you have young children at home. Maybe you can place them at a lower, kid-friendly height. It’s easier for children to place something on a hook than use a hanger.

    Lastly, return the items you find that don’t belong in this closet to their rightful homes.

    For those items you no longer need or won’t be using, place them in a donation bag to be dropped off at your favorite recycling/reuse place.

    Once your closet work is done, you will start each new day in a more relaxed manner. Plus, you’ll be able to have dry feet — and even close your closet door!

    Article submitted by Chapter member, Betty Huotari, Logical Placement LLC,

  • Friday, April 03, 2020 11:41 AM | Cindy Greenleaf (Administrator)

    You might be home, working from home or one of our front-line helpers

    in Michigan...thank you to those who are serving us.

    April 22nd is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. 

    NAPO MI will post on our social media platforms earth friendly tips, products and statistics all April.

    One statistic we’ve recently heard is that up to 85% of our discarded clothing ends up in a landfill.  This is not something we often think about when cleaning out our closets.

    Here are a few tips on how to avoid acquiring too much clothing.

    1.   Take inventory. Group items by season, category and color and write down how many of each item you own. This might help you learn something about how and what you purchase. 

    2.   If you find a category you overbuy, think about why. Did you not know you already had something similar? Is it hard for you to resist a good deal?

    3.   Shop with a list. If you know your inventory, this helps with knowing what parts of your wardrobe needs filling in. Don’t just buy because you love it or it’s a great price. There will always be things we see that we love and always another great price around the corner.

    4.   Keep your inventory or photos of your closet on your phone. While shopping you can quickly access your list or photo to be reminded of what you already own.

    5.   Categorize your closet by silhouette, color or activity. Then use garment dividers so you put things back where they belong and have a quick visual of what you have.

    The Container Store sells these for 99 cents each.

    If we take a little time to consider what we own and think before we get your credit card out, we could all make better purchases and give old Mother Earth some much-needed relief.

    We recognize that we could all use some relief right now.

    NAPO Michigan wishes all of you and your family peace, health and safety.  Thank you for reading.

    Follow us at:

    Facebook - @napomichigan

    Instagram - @napo_michigan

    Submitted by Leigh MacCready, Re-Nest LLC.

  • Friday, February 01, 2019 3:31 PM | Cindy Greenleaf (Administrator)


    In the world of Professional Organizers, January is deemed GO Month.  That is “Get Organized Month.”

    As a Chapter, each year we plan a service project in which we assist groups or individuals with organizing challenges they face.  In the past, we have concentrated on helping non-profit groups like Habitat for Humanity or a Human Trafficking home for women and girls get their storage spaces organized in one day.  This means a team of about 20 organizers comes in for one day and divides up the project into manageable tasks to get store rooms or individual offices better organized. 

    This year, we decided to help a person in the community with our residential Messiest Room Contest.  This required a smaller group of Organizers so we were a Committee of five.  Chapter President Leigh MacReady and Chapter Secretary Betty Huotari, along with Members Terri Closs, Cindy Greenleaf, and Erica Herker planned and executed this fun project. 

    A special thanks to Chapter Member Jane Hale, who was a photojournalist in another life, for taking the great Before, During and After pictures featured in the newspaper and in this post.   Some of the pictures shown here were taken by Cindy Greenleaf.

    Planning began in late October as we decided on the rules for applying, preparing the application form and obtaining sponsorship donations.  We knew we would need to buy organizing supplies for whatever room was selected.  Planning continued right up until and during the day of the project. 

    NAPO Michigan partnered up with the Detroit News Homestyle section to announce the contest on November 2. 

    Mark had not seen the contest announced in the newspaper but a friend told him about it so he submitted his application. 

    We received over two dozen submissions and narrowed it down to three finalists.  Each finalist was interviewed and the winner chosen was a unanimous decision.  It was announced in the Detroit News Homestyle section on December 7, 2018.

    As our contest winter, Mark Steele wrote this in his submission: “This room was originally my computer room.  Slowly but surely my wife took it over.  She beads, does handcreams, knitting, collecting...My wife passed away in March from cancer. I can’t bring myself to go through this pile of things for fear of reminders of the past and/or not being able to let things go…Please I need help.”   He also said he had had a rummage sale and done five carloads of donations as well.  He seemed “stuck” with where to start in this room (as a lot of clients are) but was also “ready” to do it with our help.

    Ever wonder what it takes to do a large project like this?  

    It was only a 10’ x 10’ room but it was chock full of stuff. 

    Here’s how we did it.

    Once Mark was selected, Betty and Leigh went to see the room in it’s cluttered Before state and discuss Mark’s goals for the room.  He wanted the room to be his computer room again.  He’s a Corvette car guy who owns two of them.  In addition, he had a lot of Corvette art, model cars, manuals and magazines he wanted displayed once the clutter was removed. 

    Here are two Before pictures were taken that day.  

    Photo credit Jane Hale

    Once we saw the room and reviewed the pictures, planning began.  We selected Billy bookcases (which Mark put together), Magazine files and a rug from Ikea, and a lamp from Target.  Mark selected new window blinds from Lowes, which we installed to remove the turquoise vertical blinds that were in the house when they bought it twenty years ago, completing the look. 

    On Project Day, in mid-January, we arrived at 9:30 am.  Mark’s homework had been to build the book shelves and remove any personal items he or his children wanted from the room so this was done when we arrived.  

    Clients are always in charge when it comes to deciding what items are kept, donated or be tossed.  Organizers offer options if they are unclear but the client is in charge of the decluttering process and their goal for the room.

    Since the room was too small for all of us to work in, Betty and Leigh worked with Mark in the room and Erica, Terri and Cindy worked at tables in an area around the corner from the Office where we had set up tables in a U-shape to sort and box items for donation.  We had boxes donated to us as well.  The goal was to have the room emptied of the clutter by noon.  Some of the wife’s craft stuff was already boxed up so Mark was easily able to release those items for donation.

    Mark had a great attitude towards lots of his clutter.  He said, “Everything I need to remember my wife is in my heart and memory.  I don’t need these things around to do that.”

    In the end, we had 38 boxes of donations by the time the room was emptied just before lunch.  Twenty-eight of those were craft items.  A second desk in the room was deemed unnecessary and donated as well. 

    Photo credit Cindy Greenleaf

    Professional Organizers always bring one or several different types of tool kits with them to a client’s home, depending on the project at hand.  This includes sharpie markers, labeling machines and various types of tape.  Since we knew we’d be doing the blind removal and installation, two of us brought drills and screwdrivers as well.  Leigh even spackled some picture-hanging holes in the wall.  We wanted to be full-service in this office as we tend to be detail-oriented on the small things like that.

    Organizers do not ordinarily do things like spackle wall holes or take down or install blinds but we wanted this room to be completely finished when we left so we did those things here.

    Photo credit Cindy Greenleaf

    Mark’s readiness to release the items that he didn’t use or need made this an easy project for us Professional Organizers.   He had shown that by his prior actions and his attitude towards clutter, this was going to be a relatively easy project.  Clients may say they are ready but when faced with actually releasing clutter, sometimes it’s a different story.  Not so with Mark.

    Mark took this opportunity to sweep and mop the room just before lunch so it was a clean slate when we got to work after lunch.  Leigh gave that beautiful desk a once over with furniture oil, making it glow.

    Photo credit Cindy Greenleaf

    By noon, we took a short lunch break and with the decluttering done, got straight to the organizing and decorating of the room.  As a committee, we had discussed one potential space plan for the desk, file cabinets and bookcases before arriving there. So once the room was empty, Mark decided on how he wanted the room laid out.  We used furniture sliders to make it easy to move a bookcase around to see how it looked to Mark. 

    Terri, with a little assistance from Cindy, removed the old blinds and installed the dark wood ones which matched the window sill perfectly.  It took about an hour to get that done. 

    Photo credit Jane Hale

    Betty and Erica put together the Magazine files outside the office in preparation for the final bookcase placement.  Once that was determined, Mark had additional art he wanted hung so we got that up.  Leigh polished up the star of the show, the beautiful oak roll top desk Mark had.  The new lamp on roll top looked great and the new area rug completed the look. 

    Photo credit Jane Hale

    An antique child’s school desk sits in one corner awaiting a visit from his grand-kids. 

    In another nod to his wife, beside it sits a small trunk with key rings his wife collected from places they had visited in their cross-country drives in their Corvette.   With the Corvette model cars on the shelves, including a pink one in honor of his wife, his computer room was complete. It was his again free of the crafts and clutter there at the beginning of the day.

    Photo credit Jane Hale

    It took five Organizers about six hours to get the room complete.  So including Mark’s time before and during, it approached 40 hours of work that day to get the amazing After pictures shown here.

    Mark was as thrilled with the result as we were.  We checked in with him a couple weeks after we left him and he says the room is very productive and he loves it.  No clutter has crept in as he likes it so much. 

    Photo credit Cindy Greenleaf

    He also said doing that room has inspired him to tackle other parts of the house that need attention.  He continues to spend an hour or two in a room and loves the momentum this Room Re-do has given him to continue decluttering in other areas of the home. 

    As for us Organizers, it was very fulfilling to give a very deserving man a productive Computer Room that was all his again.  Plus working as a cohesive team of Professional Organizers is always a fun day.

    Here’s the link to the Detroit News article:

    Participating Professional Organizers were:

    Terri Closs, As You Wish Organizing, LLC

    Cindy Greenleaf, New Leaf Organizing LLC

    Erica Herker, Erica Organizes

    Betty Huotari, Logical Placement LLC

    Leigh MacReady, Re-Nest LLC

    Sponsors include Studio Z Architecture, Momentum Construction LLC, and Joe Tiberi Agency. 

    Chapter Member Sponsors include Need to Organize LLC, As You Wish Organizing LLC, Logical Placement, Nia Spongberg Organizing and Coaching, and Re-Nest. 

    Business Partner Sponsors were College Hunks Hauling Junk and Frisbie Moving and Storage. 

    We thank them all for their generous financial donations which enabled us to do this inspiring project.

    This article was written by Cindy Greenleaf, Professional Organizer and Owner of New Leaf Organizing LLC

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