Grateful to Organize

As a professional organizer, you would assume that I am passionate about organizing. I am not—I am passionate about people. Given the choice between being at home and dealing with my own piles or going to Pleasantville and sorting out Mrs. Martin’s closet, I will chose Mrs. Martin and her closet every single time. I enjoy my own company but I know that story and at this point, I would much rather hear other people’s stories. Being with other people and helping them sort out their stuff gives me the opportunity to hear the stories behind their stuff.

I have the privilege of hearing people’s stories while helping them organize their homes and the stuff that contributes to or reflects those stories. Often they call me in to serve as a professional organizer because they have become stuck in managing everything they own. The stuff is often the outcome of the lives they have lived and the stories they have created within those lives. The stuff is a physical manifestation of their internal process, the choices they have made and the experiences they have had.

My work with clients then becomes about the unfolding of their stories, a discovery process for both the client and myself, their audience and often their advocate. In this role, I serve a useful purpose for them and I am honored to serve in the telling of their stories and when they get stuck, the reshaping of those stories, the management of their stuff, so that we have a better outcome, a more productive, useful and graceful home. Given that I am curious by nature, a good listener and love to help people find solutions to their challenges, this all contributes to a fun and satisfying work life.

Sign Up for E-News

A client’s story might start out about a closet and then it becomes about something more. Every story unfolds in its own way, in its own time. Sometimes the stories come tumbling out in a cascade of events and other times, the stories are revealed morsel by morsel over a period of months. 

Mrs. Martin holds back nothing as we sort and fold the towels from her wedding 60 years ago, revealing some of the events of her young life as a wife, mother and then a divorcee 20 years later. Later in the day, I’m sorting out the papers and bills of a retired professional and she shares a moment from her earlier life in Manhattan that reveals the contrast to her quiet older years here in this retirement community. I will not hear a detail like this for another month as we focus on the task at hand and strategize to maximize the efficiency and productivity of a life now restricted by the limitations of an aging mind and body. 

There is also humor in my work with people and their organizing needs. One instance of this was the day I was trying to schedule a series of appointments for Margaret, who I have written about before. She mentioned that she would like to schedule a doctor’s appointment but couldn’t remember his name. 

She said, “You know, the one that did the Cadillacs in my eye!?” 

I then said, “Mrs. Roberts, do you realize what you just said?” and then I repeated it. Margaret burst out laughing and I did, too. I then mention that I had seen this word substitution happen before and when it happens again, we were going to handle it with humor and grace.

Many people are worried about asking for help when they try to get organized because they are embarrassed about their messes. The truth is that some just don’t know how to be organized. Be assured that organizers have seen it all and we deeply appreciate the chance to be of service to you and your families. As one friend said: “If our clients weren’t messy, we wouldn’t have a job.”

Professional organizers are committed to a code of ethics to safeguard your trust and privacy and we are very mindful of that position. It is a privilege to be of service and we thank our lucky stars every day to work with every person who comes our way.

If you have any questions or would like feedback on your organizing challenges, please email or call me. It would be great to do a Q&A portion for this column. Your privacy will be maintained--just say it's Shannon in Shenorock or Nora in North Salem and we’ll take it from there! 

Happy organizing!


The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


What Is Cambridge Analytica?

Cambridge Analytica is a research organization. Apparently, it is funded by the Mercer family, second only to the Koch brothers on the liberal hit list. Both, through their philanthropy, spend millions on various needy organizations like hospitals. What makes them liberal targets is their funding of various conservative think tanks and candidates. I digress.

Cambridge Analytica used Facebook ...

‘Sister Act’: A Musical Like Nun Other

Of all the Broadway musicals I’ve seen over the years at Westchester Broadway Theatre, only a handful have elicited the noisily enthusiastic audience response I observed at the recent opening night of “Sister Act.”

There were outbursts of applause in the middle of some numbers, and several clever turns of phrase sprinkled in the dialogue landed squarely, to the delight of big ...

Seen Any Good Ol’ Movies Lately?

As I become more, uh, mature, I find myself enjoying older movies more than newer movies. The trio of films presented here for your consideration are three of my all-time favorites. They share great stories, great screenplays, great directing, great acting. They also have in common ratings in the 90s on Rotten Tomatoes, and a place of distinction in the National Film Registry, a highly selective ...

Privacy? LOL!

Author’s Note: Mom + Pop Culture are a couple of real characters. They could be you and me. Or not. Every so often, I eavesdrop on their conversations. Let’s listen in on what they’re saying right now about how Facebook fans are shocked—shocked!—that their privacy has been compromised, prompting them to rise up and exhort oppressed social media users everywhere to ...

Cleaning the Empty Nest

Part of the shock of being a part-time empty nester is when the kids come back to visit and I have to watch my house transform overnight from a pristine haven of OCD goodness to a place that looks like an explosion happened at Forever 21.

After my kids moved mostly out, I put away whatever tchotchkes they chose to leave behind and then I put on a hazmat suit and cleaned their rooms until they ...

Tipping the Scales in My Favor

As I was settling into bed one night, I happened to catch my husband out of the corner of my eye.

He was getting on the scale.

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I yelled at him. He jerked his head around and looked at me with alarm.

“What? I’m weighing myself.”

I jumped out of bed and yanked him off the scale. 

“You can’t do that now!” I ...

Doing Time in the Big House

“So, what did the doctor say about Dad?” I asked my mom over the phone.

“He has an incarcerated hernia,” she replied.

“INCARCERATED hernia?” I repeated.


“Why is it incarcerated? Did it rob a bank?”

“What? No.”

“Unlawful entry? Obstruction? Insider trading?” I ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, April 22, 9:00 AM

Yorktown Sports Complex, Yorktown Heights

Yorkville Sports Association (YSA) Draft Day

Giving Back Sports

Sun, April 22, 10:00 AM

Yorktown Sports Complex, Yorktown Heights

Yorkville Sports Association Preseason 50+ - 60+ ...

Giving Back Sports

Sat, May 19, 10:00 AM

FDR State Park, Yorktown Heights

BluePath Service Dogs 2nd Annual Walkathon

Giving Back

Houlihan Lawrence in Yorktown Welcomes Three New Team Members

April 10, 2018

Zef Camaj, brokerage manager, recently welcomed three salespersons to the team.

Marco Nogueras is an enthusiastic and dedicated professional who uses technologically advanced marketing techniques bringing the real estate experience to a new level. He values customer service and will ensure your goals are met while keeping you updated on current market conditions. Marco has spent the majority ...