Valentines Day and Organizing?

You might not think those two topics go together but I have to disagree.

We just had a fun weekend.  On both days we worked in San Francisco for male clients getting their houses organized before new partners could move in.  In some ways, the clients were very different – one lived in a very modern apartment block and the other in a charming, craftsman-style home – but both homes were cluttered.  Luckily, they were determined to make their homes welcoming for the women they love.  They donated and tossed a huge variety of items to prepare to start a new stage of life.  It seemed like a physical manifestation of the phrase “making room in your life for new experiences”.  Surely this is the best declaration to make on Valentines day?

We left both jobs tired – but delighted with what the clients accomplished.   Making transitions is what we enjoy most about this job.

Organized Garage

Before - you can't even walk into the garage

Before – So dis organized, you can’t even walk into the garage

After - Work bench accessible and organized

After – Work bench accessible and organized

Ok – I admit I’m a sucker for a well organized garage. The above was said by a very motivated client last Saturday. We cleared out his garage, assembled shelving and boxed and labeled for hours. We sent 3 SUVs full of donations off to support other people and we filled a small dumpster with trash. A good day’s work as you can see in the attached photos.  Our clients were a young couple with a toddler and they had wanted to organize their garage ever since moving in but . . .   Enter Omnibus Organizing!  We came with hats, gloves, mallets and sharp knives and did battle with the clutter. At the end of the day, our client said “you made our dreams come true”


Before / after shots

After – you can find what you need and park in the garage.

Reflections on Thanksgiving

Yesterday, I enjoyed a lovely family gathering.  I hope you were able to spend your day with loved ones.

Before dinner, one of the kids went around and asked each person to list a few things they are grateful for and put the slips of paper in a basket.  After dinner, we each pulled a slip from the basket and read the list aloud.  We had fun guessing who had written which list and smiling over the suggestions – frequently nodding as someone listed something you too felt grateful for.

I’m sure you are thinking “what does this have to do with organizing?”   Well, many of my clients have filled their homes with excess purchases and very few of the lists included anything the person owned.  They all included universal values like “Friends, Family, Health and Interesting Work”   No one said “the shoes I scored at Marshalls” or “the jacket I found at Costco”.  Admittedly, the 7-year-old included “crayons” but she also declared herself thankful for “the Earth and Nature” which many of us wished we’d included too.

So I guess my reflection is that I’m so lucky to do this work.  Organizing frees my clients so they can truly enjoy the important things in life.  It is an honor and a privilege to work in clients’ homes helping them remove road blocks.  Seeing a client find the time and energy to pursue new goals once we’ve removed the clutter is so rewarding.

Now I”ve written this, I’m going to follow REI’s call to action and HEAD OUTSIDE

Making room in your life

Many times, I’ve seen clients declutter their home and gain new jobs, hobbies or even lovers.   Just this month, I received a note from a client from a year ago with similar news.  “Guess what? I am moving again! The good news is that I am in love and my boyfriend and I just bought a house together.

Anyway… Packing made me think of you. In fact, I am feeling incredibly grateful to you, because you changed the way I look at my possessions and my living space.

When you unpacked and organized everything for me, you helped me throw away a lot of stuff I didn’t need. You also organized my cabinets and drawers in such a way that there was a place for everything, and if it didn’t have a place, it might make sense to toss it.

It might sound a little overly dramatic, but you changed my life. The order outside helps my order inside of me. I feel calmer and less anxious in a clean, open space that is uncluttered because it is unburdened by things.

As I’m packing, I’m employing some of the methods you showed me. I have “like” items in Ziplocs within my boxes, so they will be easy to put away. All office supplies in one Ziploc. On the other end, I can remove them all at once and just transfer the bags to their new places in my new home. I no longer have “junk drawers,” you see. I have items sorted and in tidy bags instead of all tossed together. For some reason, this gives me intense satisfaction.   . . . . .  Anyway, thank you Joy.  You sparked Joy into my home and changed the way I live and it’s a really positive thing!   So I thought I’d give you the update, since I am moving exactly one year after moving here. It’s the “where are they now” episode. Ha ha.”   (B.B, San Jose)

It makes me very happy to have helped her live a better life.

Liberating a Guest Room

I had a great 4-hour session this morning helping a client whose guest room had become a catch-all room.  She was motivated by a garage sale being held by one of her favorite charities so was able to let more than 50% go.  After decluttering, we re-packed and labeled the remainder and the room now feels 3 times as big and bright.  The before/after shots say it all


5 things to STOP hoarding in 2015

I was recently interviewed by

“our leftover bolts and stacks of sticky notes rarely (never?) empower us to conquer complex problems. If we’re honest, they really just clutter up our lives.”  read more HERE

Thanks to journalist Tammy Kennon (who explores the universal truths of being a tiny human on a glorious planet) for making the interview process so productive.  Talk to her @TammyKennon.