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Tuesday
Nov042014

Get the Inside Scoop on Life With a Professional Organizer

We’re wonderfully human and curious. We like to learn, understand, and get private glimpses of other peoples’ lives. With this collaborative post series, I usually ask my colleagues to respond to a question about the topic of the month. This time, I thought it would be fun to have them ask the question to a family member. I wanted to know (and I’m guessing you do too) what it’s like from the family member’s perspective to live with a Professional Organizer. I was delighted by the responses received from husbands, sons and daughters of my organizing colleagues Leslie Josel, Diane Quintana, Marie Potter, Seana Turner, Janine Adams and Ellen Delap. I couldn’t resist, so I also asked my family (Steve, Allison and Cassie) to give their take too. My gratitude goes to my colleagues and their beautiful families for being so open and for sharing your personal stories with us.

Sit back, make a cup of tea, and enjoy discovering what life’s really like behind closed doors.

 

What’s it like to live with a Professional Organizer? . . .

 

Lists, Lists & More Lists

What’s it like to live with an organizer?  One word:  lists. To-do lists. Shopping lists. Call lists. Lists on note pads. Lists sent by email. Lists on the blackboard. Lists on the backs of envelopes and on scraps of paper. Basically, everything gets written down on our house.  Lists are living, breathing documents that we live by. Lists are to be kept, updated, managed, studied and followed devoutly. And resistance is futile.”

Wayne, Leslie’s husband

Leslie Josel – ADHD Coach, Author & Speaker

 

Predictable

Living with a professional organizer is kind of boring in a good way. Things are always put away or at least where you think they might belong. In a word it is predictable.”

Andy, Diane’s son

Diane Quintana, CPO-CD®, CPO® is a Professional Organizer, Author & Presenter

 

 

Visual Cues

“Other than the obvious - having a house, life and paper in order - we have maximized every nook and cranny of a small home. If it must be known, we are subject to the testing of improved systems and new products. If I miss the tour of the new system or product, I might reach for something in its usual spot (creature of habit) and get a bit frustrated to find it's been relocated. Fortunately, there are visual cues that come with being married to an organizer - bins, baskets, labels and lists - so that helps. At the end of the day, it simplifies our lives and prepares me for the golden years when my mind goes!"

Chris, Marie’s husband 

Marie Potter is a Professional Organizer

 

Wonderfully Human

Living with a professional organizer- my wife, Linda- has been great (professionally and Oh, So Otherwise). Our house is not large, but under Linda’s guidance we’ve established a place for things that makes it easy to get back to a calm state after a project has caused items to be spread around, or after a party. At the same time, we’re not minimalists and we don’t have a sterile environment. We’re both collectors (I have the bigger stuff), but it all seems to nest together."

I get a smile the few times that Linda has misplaced something, because it shows no matter how well the system is set up, gremlins exist for all of us.”

Steve, Linda’s husband

Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® is a Professional Organizer, Author, Blogger & Speaker

 

 

Mess Management

“1. Everything has a place.

2. Everything is labeled.

3. You learn early on to close your door when your room is messy so she doesn’t get traumatized."

Bethany, Seana’s daughter

Seana Turner is a Professional Organizer, Blogger & Speaker

 

Full Circle Thinking

“I’m not a naturally neat person. And that’s not to say organization is about being neat, but I learned at a pretty young age what our household ‘mess’ tolerance was. As a visual-tactile person, having physical reminders around (of each of my dozen current projects) helped further my creative stim.

But Mom encouraged me to put things away as I completed each phase of a task. This ‘full circle thought processing’ has been instrumental in how I’ve learned to arrange my time, to-dos, and even keep my workspace… to the point where friends are surprised when I tell them I wasn’t always so organized!”

Allison, Linda’s daughter 

Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® is a Professional Organizer, Author, Blogger & Speaker

 

 

No Difference

“Living with a professional organizer is exactly like living with a professional dog writer or a public relations professional. In other words, I haven’t noticed any difference in living with Janine since she opened her organizing business nine years ago.”

Barry, Janine’s husband 

Janine Adams, CPO-CD®, CPO® is a Professional Organizer, Speaker & Blogger 

 

 

Joyful

I love living with a professional organizer because we both enjoy living an organized life. We are two peas in a pod.  No clothes on the floor, kitchen counters are clear, our home hosts others and our lives operate smoothly. We partner on many of the home responsibilities and work together in businesses. Each of us takes on responsibilities by our strengths and availability. We share calendars through Outlook and each Sunday evening have a family meeting to know what is going on for the week for each of us. Our collaboration and communication make the most of our mutual view of being organized.”

J.Q., Ellen’s husband

Ellen Delap, CPO® is a Professional Organizer, Productivity Consultant & Blogger

 

 

Bonus With A Twist

“I realize now, after many years away from home, living on my own and with roommates, how much I learned from my mom. There are things I do, daily routines, housekeeping quirks that I do because of her, because of the way she kept our house; clean, organized, with a little twist. I love the fact that I grew up in a house with a professional organizer. Yes, there were times I didn’t understand why we needed to do ‘the quick clean’ before my grandma came to visit, or why a To Do/Packing List was a necessity for every travel adventure (including weekend trips), but these small additions to my growing up have become extremely helpful tools as an adult.

I don't know where I’d be without my mom, without the lessons she’s taught me. I attest what I’ve learned to her being an exceptional mom. Being a professional organizer was just a bonus.”

Cassie, Linda’s daughter

Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® is a Professional Organizer, Author, Blogger & Speaker 

 

I don’t know about you, but I really loved hearing from the family members of my colleagues. Living with organizers runs the spectrum from normal to predictable to fun to life changing and everything in between. Were there any surprises here? I’d love to hear your thoughts (or your families.) Come join the conversation!

 

 

 

 

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Reader Comments (17)

linda, this is a hoot!! I love hearing from all the family members. Just a great read and a fun post! And as a side note, it seems my hubbie is really the only one who threw one of us under the bus! never said I was easy!

November 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Josel

Leslie- Wouldn't say Wayne "threw you under the bus." I loved what he said about your love of lists. Wonderful! And did you notice the glee that my husband gets when I "misplace" things. It just shows you how human and fallible we all are. Glad you enjoyed the collection. Loved hearing all the stories and perspectives.

November 4, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

This was so much fun to read! I love reading what other organizers' family members think about the organization in their homes. Thank you, Linda, for putting this great post together!

November 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiane Quintana

These were very fun to read. I love Linda's husbands reference to the gremlins.. yes, we all have them! And ellen, you lucky girl with a husband who is of "like mind." VERY fun post, Linda!

November 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSeana Turner

What a funny post. I enjoyed the answers they put a smile on my face, but I'm not telling you why other than I'll make sure someone in home read it.

November 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNacho Eguiarte

Stellar post and great read as usual!

Many thanks for the inclusion and for collecting these insights ... brings a grin of recognition!

November 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarie potter

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this! I don't know how you keep coming up with these interesting questions, Linda. Thanks for including me!

November 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJanine Adams

I love this Linda, my family were nodding along with most of it as I was reading it to them, especially the lists. LOL

November 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJill Robson

Lin, this was a fun post, and I appreciate that you asked for my thoughts about living with you as an organizer. You took a big leap of faith... :)

November 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSteve Samuels

How fun to hear from all of you! It's like coming home to a big party. So glad you stopped by to add to the conversation.

@Diane- Glad you had fun reading about other organizers' families. Me too.

@Seana- Yes to the gremlins. Keeps us grounded and compassionate.

@Nacho- Nice to know this post made you smile. If you get more feedback on the home front, hope you'll stop back to share with us.

@Marie- Grinning…a good thing. So glad you loved the post. It was really fun putting it together.

@Janine- Thanks so much. Love how one simple question can generate so many diverse responses.

@Jill- So nice that you shared this with your family. Love how they were nodding along, especially about the lists. Seems to be a theme here. Where would we be (us organizers) without our lists?

@Steve (aka, Honey)- I suppose you're right that this could have gone horribly wrong. But as you said, I hoped for the best and everyone delivered (including you.) Thank you for being my partner and for the tremendous support you've always given me in all areas (organizing and otherwise.) I'm a lucky woman.

November 4, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

Loved this post! This time of year is all about families to me. Having each family share their experiences is fun and enlightening.

November 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Delap

This was a very fun post! Ellen and J.Q. sound a lot like my husband Scott and I!

November 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJanet Barclay

@Ellen- So glad you loved the post and am so happy J.Q. shared with us too. It is a special time of year with family (holidays and all.) We're looking forward to having our family together for Thanksgiving. Love baking, cooking, dancing, eating, and hanging out together.

@Janet- Looks like you and Ellen have found your perfect mates! With the families I work with, I more often find partners with different organization styles and preferences than similar ones. And those differences can be a big source of conflict and stress.

November 5, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

So true! Whenever I do a presentation for seniors, I always say, "Imagine what it's like for my poor mother to have me as a child!" which makes them laugh.

Yes, we are predictable, routine-loving, order-reinforcing, list-making creatures. But you wouldn't want us to be any other way.

November 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarcie Lovett

Marcie- What's fascinating is that while as organizers have many similarities (love of lists, routines, order) we're also so different in how that shows. The longer I'm in this industry, the more interesting it is to discover what brought us here. Some struggled with organization, have learned those skills and now help others. Some were "born organized," and have used their natural skills to help others. And hopefully in the best case scenarios we're using out skills (natural and learned) to make the challenging parts of life a bit less stressful so that our clients, family, and selves can focus on what's most meaningful.

November 8, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

I'm sure in my house it's more a case of "the cobbler's kids going without shoes!"

November 10, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterValentina Sgro

Val- I'm guessing you're not alone. At the same time, I know you've got some incredible organizing systems in place. I've watched you in action for the past year plus as ICD President and can attest to them.

November 10, 2014 | Registered CommenterLinda Samuels

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