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Before And After Photos Of My Organizing Genius

Now You See It, Now You Don’t —
Before And After Photos Of My Organizing Genius

No, I didn’t sneak into your home/office while you were out, and take pictures behind your back. (I’ve thought about it — and I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy. I go to great lengths to transform my clients’ lives. But I draw the line at breaking and entering.)

You Too Can Look Like This

Nor did I stage amazing closet/kitchen/workstation transformations (hoarder-crazy piles in the befores, magazine-spread perfect for the afters) for the sake of impressing you — I might try a lot of stunts to excite your admiration, but that ain’t one of them! These are real job photos from my real tribe of clients — organizing projects where I was particularly proud of the end result (not just the creation of orderly spaces, but the impact that change had on these people’s lives).

I’m sharing them for three simple reasons — so you can:

  • feel less embarrassed about your situation — and more comfortable asking for professional help (knowing that other folks struggle with exactly the same sorts of clutter frustrations you do)
  • better understand how I work — the kinds of questions I ask, the problem-solving techniques I use, down-and-dirty organizational tools I favor, and real-life systems I implement with my peeps
  • truly comprehend how much a few changes can improve not only your living/working environment — but also your stress levels, relationships, job satisfaction, and quality of life as a whole

Click on any photo for an enlargement — and if you could use a little of this in your life, gimme a holler!

Closet Conundra

These closets belong to a pair of perpetually-late-running, out-of-sight-out-of-mind medical service providers. (Translation — folks who need to look professional while routinely dressing in a hurry, but who are so overwhelmed with microscopic details at work that they can’t even begin to focus on organizational minutiae at home.) Needless to say, my goals for this storage revamp were “quick,” “easy,” and “obvious.”

Unfortunately, my favorite doc-couples’ way of keeping things visible/accessible was to toss stuff into random piles. (“It’s not working,” they complained. No surprise there!) But the basic hardware was solid — so just I tweaked their existing “system” a bit, to give it some structure. For example, rather than dumping bras, undies, and accessories loose on a shelf, I contained each category in its own neatly-labeled bin.

Hanging clothes were sorted by purpose, then color. Exercise-wear underwent forcible segregation from novelty tees (which were more “tv-watching” than “treadmill-sweating”), and assigned to foldy-stacks. Shoes found themselves corralled on a low shelf — belts/bags, hung on the wall. And the 6,300 ties heaped on the floor? An electric rack mounted in a chunk of wasted space at the far end of the closet!


Instead of leaping out of bed at ye olde ass-crack of dawn to waste an hour digging through the piles for a decent outfit (then getting to the office sweaty and frazzled and already exhausted before the damn day’s even started), my sawbones clients can now lay around in bed until the last possible minute — coffee in hand, old episodes of Doctor Who on the tube, yet STILL arrive on-time-and-cool-as-a-cuke for work!

Office Orneriness

Home offices pose different challenges than off-site job environs. Maintaining work/personal boundaries, segregating supplies, keeping paper from consuming your living space  — all made that much harder when you’re functioning out of a bunch of freaking bankers boxes! (And damn, but it took a lot to convince this client how vastly improved his existence would be if we gave his stuff a permanent place to live.)

My first priority was to make god-forbid-actual-use of the available space — adding a second desk (to create a more ergonomically-correct L-shaped workstation), installing a “fingertip” file cabinet, setting up a bookshelf (to hold reference manuals, binders, and a few favorite tchotchkes). Oh, and moving that unused cat-scratcher into a downstairs room more commonly-occupied by critters of a feline persuasion.


Supply storage was also key. Vertical racks for folders/envelopes/mailing labels, separate bins for data and electrical cords, stacking trays for printer paper and card stock — briefcases hung on the wall, memorabilia archived by year. Oh, and drawer paraphernalia sorted into divider-tray segments (instead of heaped together in one overflowing desk organizer). Easy-peasey-systematizey! (Of course that rhymes.)

Successful home office decor is about avoiding clutter (that’s why my client’s curios went bookshelfward, instead of onto a horizontal work surface). I was also tasked with displaying a family blanket, without draping the thing over a chair where it would get dirty — so I had it artistically framed and hung on the far wall. Now every time my client takes a computer break, he can spend some time with his grampy!

Bathroom Befuddlements

With new jobs, a wedding to plan, and no time for proper post-move unpacking, the best these clients could manage was to clutter their counters up with god-knows-what-all and fill every drawer/cabinet with a whole lot of miscellaneous. It may not look that bad at first glance (‘cuz most of the mess is hidden away) — but under the surface, we’re talking organizational nightmare. Good thing I love nightmares!

First step was to sort that linen closet jumble of textiles by job description (sheets on one shelf, blankets on another, towels on a third) — then size (wash cloths separate from hand towels, separate from bath). I also brought in a drawer system to make better use of the available space. And (let’s be honest) to prevent the future unconscious piling of miscellaneous crap on the floor — I know my clients!


My lady-client confessed that it took her nearly two hours to get ready each day. (Not in the least-bit shocking a revelation, when you see that bathroom counter!) Too much crap sitting out in violation of my sink-side rule — “only what you use every day, enclosed in easy-to-see-whatcha-got organizers.”  I removed the less-oftens, then organized the remaining jumble of toiletries using a “stepped” shelving system. No more laws being broken — with a set place for each item to live and everything in view.


The rest? Sorted into grooming (“hair,” “skin,” “dental”) and wellness (“cold/flu,” “pain relief,” “bandages”) categories, then set in divided sections within a drawer, or stored in bins under the sink — each rescued from less-effective utilization elsewhere. (Unless you insist on that Martha-Stewart-style-every-piece-matches-and-coordinates-with-every-other nonsense, I’m about repurposeful money-saving solutions.)


Almost immediately after I finished this job, the chick side of my client-couple came down with the flu. As her new fiancé popped his “caring for a cranky, feverish, stuffed-up female” cherry, he miraculously found every tool he needed (from decongestants to thermometers to hot water bottles) right at his fingertips. (I swear to god, I did NOT make her sick to test out my organizational systems — it was just a coincidence!

Dining Room Don’ts

This wasn’t a dining room, it was a storage unit — a place to dump junk coming in the door, junk heading out the door, mid-project-tackle junk that had no other home, you get the picture. Yet my client claimed to want to actually eat at the table. (More than that, to invite the homo sapiens for whom he worked over — and to impress them in a manner that would make them want to give their host a promotion.) Conflict!


Linens/serving pieces went in the buffet, crystal in the cabinet, and the rest found homes elsewhere. But an organizer’s job is as much about creating aesthetically-pleasing spaces as orderly ones — which is why I ended up recommending artwork that would strike the proper tone of sophistication, and selecting elegant knick-knacks to put on display. And that first suck-up-to-my-boss dinner party? A roaring success!

Garage Goof-Ups

I don’t usually organize FOR folks. I prefer to declutter and systematize WITH them — working alongside an actively-participatory-in-the-decision-making-process clientele. But on this day (when forced to choose between a cancellation and solitude), I threw out my principles in the name of making a buck. (Joke! What I did was a huge favor for a desperately-time-strapped client — and it all turned out smashingly in the end.)


I blended paint and recycled motor oil and consolidated plant food. I hung rakes and coiled hoses and stacked soccer cones for easy access. I made that-which-was-previously-hidden-under-piles-of-rubble visible. I threw away a literal fuckton of trash. And I turned a stack of old license plates (that there was no way in hell I could talk my client’s husband into relinquishing) into a right-brain-meet-left work of art.

Those damned plastic kayaks got donated (they were on a hit list even before we scheduled the appointment), and the rest was just a matter of me working my magic. I transformed a mish-mosh of garden supplies, recreational equipment, auto paraphernalia, and tools into a wonderland of order — prompting a literal squeal of amazement and disbelief from my absentee client, when she came home!

Laundry Lapses

I do love being handed a blank canvas upon which to paint my latest organizational pièce de résistance, like this new-home laundry room. Good news — aside from the few random items you see (and a single bottle of detergent in one cabinet), this sucker was dead-empty. Bad news — everything that actually NEEDED to live in this area was scattered throughout a variety of completely disorganized moving boxes!

I’ve seen worse — every inch of space wasted on “should reside elsewhere” stuff, vac attachments found in inappropriate locations (like someone’s underwear drawer), sideways-stored cleaning fluids leaking their contents everywhere. But this was my last organize-the-house-in-a-week room finished — ‘cuz it took so dadgummed long to locate (then relocate) the many homeless “utility” items belonging in said space.

I set up that roly-cart with pet supplies, made a spot for dining table leaves and a clothes-sorter by the washer, hung mops/brooms behind the door, designated a permanent dwelling-place for the vacuum, and assigned each shelf a job (guard clothes-washing supplies, keep paper towels safe, don’t let spray bottles escape, stop batteries/bulbs from throwing parties). Then I relaxed with a good book and a stiff drink!


The best client-compliment I get is when something I’ve done to organize allows my peeps to work through a backlog of something ELSE on their own. In this case, it was a mountain of laundry which had been piled three-feet-high on the bed since they’d moved in a month before — and which miraculously disappeared over the course of a weekend, once they could lay hands on all their wash-day supplies!

Home Office Hassles

This run-her-own-business-with-zero-admin-help client had buried multiple surfaces throughout the house under piles of “stuff.” But she didn’t want to spend a penny on organizing supplies — screw the fancy-schmancies, she couldn’t even commit at a dollar-store-level. Fortunately, I found a plethora of under-utilized baskets, trays, and racks hidden amongst the weeds. And I stole ’em! (For a good cause, of course.)


After sorting all that paper into a meaningful filing system, I brought two horizontals together to create an everything-reachable, stretching-bending-reaching-hiking-across-the-room-free “L” desk. For the first time since signing her incorporation paperwork, my client had space for her computer, a place to store current projects, and plenty of room to spread out — she almost didn’t know what to do with herself.

Then came the office closet — little more than a gaping hole, a floor-pile and a bunch of wasted space. My solution? Go vertical! I “borrowed” a couple extra shelves from the garage, set up some spare stacking trays, and used drawer units to divide and conquer supplies. Everything at my client’s fingertips during work hours, hidden behind a door at then end of the day — bloody brilliant, if I do say so myself.


Issue solved, now it was time for a little desk-diving — and oh-my-god, was that top drawer a dumping ground! Batteries, stamps, stickies, pair of pliers (pretty much every homeless loose implement and random scrap of paper in my client’s life). I entered business cards into contacts, recorded (then tossed) napkin-notes — and gave each supply a logical home in the drawer tray I found hidden underneath.


One last cabinet. My client had a tendency to pile stuff loose on shelves, but it’s amazing the order you can create with just a few labeled containers — envelopes in a stand-up rack, some colorful photo boxes that were perfect for stationery, paper in stacking trays, file folders in big open cardboard boxes. Sometimes all it takes to make a customer happy is a cheapskate streak, a little creativity, and a sharpie!

Bedroom Botherations

“Before” is what the world looks like when you have a full-time job while also getting your masters, are too exhausted to care what your sleep space looks like — oh, and you don’t actually have the right kind of furniture for storing the things you own, so they end up all over the place. (I’m not joking — there weren’t even SHEETS on the bed. My client had been passing out every night on top of a pile of dirty laundry!)


“After” is what it looks like once I’d set up a laundry center for sorting dirties, installed a dresser (to store pjs and display “altar” items), created an entertainment center for late-night vegging, and hung artwork to personalize the space. My overworked client was amazed when she started sleeping better, awaking fully rested, and feeling more energized throughout the day — I myself was Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

Art Room Annoyances

My client’s college-age kid lived in her basement for years whilst pretending to work on a bachelors degree. But said child had dicked around long enough — Mama was reclaiming her space! Time for this baby bird to get the old nest-boot (hopefully with minimal gluteal damage upon landing). My job? Turn a millennial’s crash-pad into a chick-centric art studio for his ready-to-free-her-inner-Frida maternal unit.

Anything belonging to “Da Boy” (as I nicknamed him) was packed and moved off-site. As mom decluttered creative accoutrements, I got her to decide which projects truly filled her with passion (I’m talking jump-out-of-bed-like-you-woke-up-caffeinated-can’t-wait-to-start-work type fervor), versus those kept out of habit — meaningless malingerers hit the road, masterpieces-in-the-making were granted permanent homes.


I lined the walls with storage to avoid eating up valuable real estate that might be occupied by a visiting artiste. In addition to a piles-of-crap-free worktable (which this crafty babe had NEVER experienced), I cleared a ton of display space (for completed chefs d’oeuvre), created a cozy seating area (for inspirational reading/daydreaming), and returned the bar to its original purpose (serving horizon-expanding libations).

Cat Library Cantankerosity

When this child-free couple hired me to relocate them, they requested an entire room designed just for the amusement of their furbabies. (I wasn’t exactly sure what they meant, but I’m always up for a new challenge.) Well, it turned out to be half-cat-room-half-library — but converting two-dozen packed boxes of books into a feline-playground-cum-humanoid-reading-area became one of the highlights of this job!


I set up three shelves (fiction/general-non/reference) and arranged their titles dewey-decimal style — god bless seriously anal-retentive clients! Pictures were hung. A cluttered collection of fridge magnets was displayed artfully on a decorative metal sheet. Then reading chairs at either end of the room — and a tabletop chess board for those rainy afternoons when you feel like flogging someone else’s bishop.


Once people-needs were met, it was time to address facilities for the family’s purr-verts. I relocated two large climber/scratchers into the dormers — then in-front-of-and-around, created a wall of slide-outable (in case someone puked or hid in an inconvenient spot) empty packing boxes, carved with tunnels and turrets and crenellations. I will take the sun-lounging-before-I’d-even-finished as a compliment.

Kitchen Klutter

There’s nothing worse than a chronically-crapped-up kitchen. (Actually I can think of a LOT of worse things — being forced to wear someone else’s dirty underpants, waking up to discover a cockroach in your nose, having paramedics find you naked an unconscious on the floor next to an oversized sex toy. But you get what I mean.) Good thing I know how to fix that problem! (Kitchen — not sex-toy-cockroach-underpants.)

As you can see, square-footage was not the issue. This client had plenty-big room to move and groove — she just wasn’t utilizing her storage as effectively as she could have been. There was a lot of “one-or-two-completely-dissimilar-items-tossed-randomly-on-a-shelf-or-in-a-drawer-and-the-rest-of-the-space-wasted” syndrome going on here. (Hence, the piles of stuff all over the countertops. And stove. And floor.)

Of course my first priority was to create distinct bodies of meal-prep-and-consumption equipment, each nearest the point of use. Dishes and glasses (doubling how many mugs the cabinet could hold with an inspired use of cup hooks) mid-sink-and-dishwasher, food containers near the fridge — and an AM-station (containing coffee, tea, and related appurtenance alongside oatmeal and bars) directly above the keurig.

Next, maximize those weirdly-shaped bottom cabinets! The lower shelves were perfect for less-often-used appliances, but those too-deep-too-tall upper ones encouraged “flat-stacking” — creating a good-luck-trying-to-find-the-pan-you-need ordeal. (Which I cured with a vertical baking-implement rack.) And under the sink? Commonly-accessed tools hung inside cabinet doors, loose cleaners confined to open bins.

Then I played the same game with my client’s drawers — segregating mixing gadgets from measuring, opening from sealing, supplements from first aid. Got her to let go of dupes, disposables (those take-home condiments/napkins/plasticware that breed when you’re not looking), and “better-idea-on-paper-than-in-reality” gizmos. While consolidating six mismatched silverware sets into one solid collection. Yay!

Last-not-least, da pantry! Spices alphabetized, bulk stuff in air-tight containers, snacks in a door rack, every can visible, loose serving-size snacks and packets in open baskets, stacking tater/onion bins — heaven. And when my client told me that meals now made her smile (actually, that simply walking into her kitchen and not seeing crap sitting out everywhere had her grinning like a fool), I was happy.

Storage Unit Shenanigans

This is what a tendency to stash away things you no longer use (rather than evaluating their usefulness and cleaning out the excess) looks like. Good news — I know exactly the right kinds of annoying questions to ask, to help any client clean out. Even better news — it’s a great deal easier to decide that something serves no purpose in your life, when it’s been sitting in a box in the basement for two decades!

A goodly bit of this nonsense was obsolete multimedia (my journalistic-storytalesmith client had an absolute crapton of old a/v recordings). With a little bit of distance, a whole lot of perspective (and zero possession of machinery that would play reel-to-reels or 8mms), she was able to choose a small less-than-10%-selection to be converted, and lose the rest. (The e-waste recycling people LOVED us that day!)

The remaining containers held everything from baby clothes (donated) to yearbooks (put in the library) to photos (prepped for scanning). If it was decorative and loved, it got displayed. Old journals would be incorporated into my client’s storytelling. And anything belonging to children was boxed for them to either take back home with them or discard on their next respective visits. (Free ride’s over, once you hit 18!)

Craft Room Complications

Another tabula rasa — my fave! In her old apartment, this client was forced to cram miscellaneous artsy-fartsies in wherever she could make them fit (needles and thread in her nightstand, fabric stuffed under the bed, paintbrushes in a bathroom drawer, embellishment tin on top of the fridge). But now, she had a whole room for consolidated craftiness — and it was my job to make this a spectacularly creative space!


I set up centers (pairing activity-appropriate workspace with tool storage) to suit each artistic endeavor — arranged in a triangle, for ergonomic back-and-forth movement. By-the-window sewing chair, machine table in the corner, and every color bobbin wall-mounted within arm’s reach. A fold-down fabric-cutting-and-ironing area. And a stencil-painting-bead-stringing-glitter-gluing extravaganza against the wall!

The closet became supply central — filled with labeled bins of fabric, yarn, embroidery, paper-craft (plus a couple magazine-holders’-worth of instruction books, and a dedicated spot for hanging alterations-in-process). Most importantly, I made sure my client was surrounded by her favorite mementos, so she’d always have something inspirational at which to look while tackling projects (and using proper grammar)

Basement Blight

What you see here is a dumping ground filled with whatever wouldn’t fit in the main upstairs of my client’s house — unpacked moving boxes, too-small and off-season clothing, holiday decorations, dysfunctional furniture, duplicate kitchen apparati, and an assorted miscellany of unwanted junk that got stuffed into bins rather than being dealt-with. (In other words, your typical American basement!)

My goal was to turn this jumble of impedimenta into a functional guest suite for visitors. After cleaning out the moth-eaten sweaters and old National Geographics, after creating a set home (under the stairs) for luggage and (in the attic) for Christmas/Hanukkah stuff, after repairing the fixable and discarding the irreparably broken — I found the perfect tools for doing just that, hidden under a lot of mess.

I waved my transformative wand — and voila! One wing became an entertainment area (complete with futon, tv, and previous-gen x-box). Next to that, a sitting parlor (hope chest full of guest blankies/towels — keurig, mugs, and basket of k-cups on the converted night-stand next to it). And around the corner, a bedroom (with plenty of air-mattress-floor-space for the family’s half-dozen minor-aged nephews).

My client’s jaw hit the floor when he saw all those previously-destined-for-donation heirlooms actually put to good use. Even better, he played host to the traditional week-long holiday-family-free-for-all for the first time ever. And best? Kinsfolk who’d congregated for nog and latkes could be stashed away in a cozy little hibernation-station (far from the main living area), when they’d had enough “togetherness.” Perfecto!

Breakfast Nook Bamboozlement

It’s hard to serve healthy meals, when your casual everyday dining area looks like this. It’s a challenge to enjoy quality time together around the table, when every horizontal surface is covered in clutter. (It’s also nigh-on-to-impossible to pay bills on time, avoid missing paper-driven deadlines, or have any idea where that important document is — when you’re trying to manage your life from a desk covered in piles!)

Turns out the first step in fixing the breakfast nook was, well, organizing the damn kitchen (since a good bit of the mess you see actually belonged in a cabinet or drawer) — so there’s that. I also found a lot of “use-all-the-time-but-ain’t-got-a-set-home” type objects — staplers and scissors, sticky notes and tape, extra keys and a box o’ checks. One drawer-divider later, we were in bidness! (Organizationally-speaking.)


The next part involved going through that massive desk-pile, separating “reference” items (like warranties and mortgage statements) from to-dos — and getting those into, well, files. I also set up a sort-daily-then-empty-once-a-week system for incoming action items. And when my client got an early-bird conference registration fee for the first time ever thanks to my to-do-tackling method? That was a good day.

Living Room Let-Downs

These relocation clients hooked up the tv, settled onto the couch with a bag of chips, then promptly gave up on the rest of this room. They owned some cute decor (still in boxes). And fun entertainment stuff (also still in boxes). Eventually, they hoped to have people over (ones who might like to sit on chairs, play games, converse) — so my job was all about turning semi-functional squalor into an actual living space.


As with books in the cat library, we needed more dvd-shelves — although I stuck with a genre-then-title sequencing system this round. (Apparently dewey-decimal is video-overkill. Who knew?) Rearranged the furniture to create a central “gathering place,” a cabinet for board games, a bin for remotes, and a holder for the nerf gun/darts (used to shoot at idiot-box commentators and politicians during the nightly news).


The organizational systems ARE spectacular. But the crowning glory here is room ornamentation. I sifted through unhung artwork, chose a selection of knickety-knacks for shelf-display, and plotted out an adornment scheme — assortments of geekabilia and life-mementos, clustered into harmonious groupings (that elicited squeals of delight and the exclamation, “You made our house a home!” from their owners).

Junk Closet Jumble

There’s nothing wrong with having a junk close. But this junk closet was REALLY junky — all sorts of random stuff piled at least three levels deep on every shelf, no rhyme or reason to anything’s placement, a mish-mosh of cleaning/repair/recreational items thrown together because they had nowhere else to live. However “junk” doesn’t justify clutter. As I told my client, even “miscellaneous” items can be organized!

I hung brooms/mops on the door, then set up a series of small baskets and lidded tubs to hold loose items — lightbulbs, batteries, cleaning supplies, you name it. (Oh, and I also convinced my client that she really didn’t need 3,500 empty shopping bags.) The result was less junk and more easy-to-find-when-you-need it. (Oh, and also an awesome article written about me and my organizational prowess in Style Magazine!)

Sleeping-Space Suckage

This client’s bedroom was buried under years of accumulation — decades of dropping random stuff in a pile had created an official archaeological dig. This job was a textbook example of “ripple effect” (each homeless item prompted relocation, which led to the designation of a newly-formed storage space, which required additional decluttering). Lengthy process, but the final transformation was flipping amazing!


Said domino-clutter included a wardrobe-mess that was oozing its way into the bedroom. After purging six boxes of outdated-too-small clothes (not to mention innumerable bags of trash), I scootched rarely-worn items to the far ends of the rod — leaving faves within easy reach. Outfits hung by season/color/occasion, shoes lined on the shelf above, and accessories in a handy-dandy drawer unit — c’est magnifique!

I’m showing you one of my earliest organizing gigs. I literally set this bad-boy up more than two decades ago. But I kept in touch with my client, and she recently popped back up to remind me what a life-changing difference this revamp made. Apparently, her closet has stayed some-approximation-of-this-tidy ever since — and even now (nearly a generation later) she’s STILL able to get ready in 15 minutes of less. Woot!

Workspace Weariness

This client hired me to organize her entire office — every desk, every drawer, every common area. It was a case of too-much-paper-meets-not-enough-room-cum-many-supplies-paired-with-completely-inadequate-storage. By the end of my tenure, I’d repaired a half-dozen broken workspaces, a supply closet, and the main document processing area — I’d also helped the company double its customer-load and profitability.

This cubicle is a prime example of everything that wasn’t working — absent other organizational options, the desk had grown stacks, the floor was sprouting banker’s boxes, and a jam-packed bookcase spilled loose papers everywhere. Said mess was a chronic source of professional embarrassment for the owner (not to mention the problems caused by misplaced documents that had been swallowed by the pile).

I bought a cabinet with doors to hide away smaller equipment, set up a document sorter for “fingertip” forms, and brought in lateral cabinets to create some damned filing space (which got those freaking boxes out of the way) — moving blank paper to stacking trays also freed up shelf space for important reference notebooks. My client literally teared-up at the sight of never-before-seen carpeting and a desk-top!

But the problem of “more stuff than space” continued. I sent ten-years’-worth of old financials to a records storage facility — then a quick categorical-sort of supplies, inventory list posted on the wall. (No more employees wondering, “Where are the pens?”) Oh, and did I mention the procedural manual I wrote? The one that eliminated service delays and time waste, improved workflow and the company’s bottom line.

Tool Troubles

This client loved to build and “tinker,” but could never find what she needed for that next project — I’m sure the hardware-gadgets-and-everything-else piled into an overflowing toolbox (and no space in which to spread out) had nothing to do with that. Oh, and then on the other side of the room, lawn-care equipment strewn about the floor. No system or sense of order — a handyperson TRAINWRECK.


She was also baffled about how to organize a room that lacked “real” walls, lamenting the cost of having to finish the basement (just to create some order). That’s when I stepped in which my think-outside-the-box mad problem-solving skillz — and installed a sturdy space-saving hook system that could be attached to each wooden support with a heavy-duty screw. (It now holds gardening tools and cleaning supplies.)

Weed-whacker and fertilizer-spreader under control — I then hung a pegboard (with each implement’s home clearly outlined), installed a workbench (table saw and large power tools nearby), and separated hardware (like nails and screws) into labeled clear plastic drawers. And the toolbox? It now lives under the sink — reserved for just those extra hammers and wrenches she regularly uses in other parts of the house.

I returned a year later. Not only was my client’s woodworking area still clutter-free and looking spectacular — but she’d found the time (and known where to locate the right equipment) to build herself an entire library full of bookcases, which we organized just as beautifully as her tools. And when I needed a flat-head screwdriver to adjust a shelf in her closet? In my hand in less than 30 seconds, thank you very much!

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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One Response

  1. Jackie says:

    Those photos bought back memories. Love you girl!!!

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