Get the Inside Scoop on Life With a Professional Organizer
Tuesday, November 4, 2014 at 9:05AM
Linda Samuels in Wonderfully Human, family, friends, home, joy, lists, mess, organized, responsibilities, simplify, travel, visual cues, workspace

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



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 




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!





Article originally appeared on The Other Side of Organized by Linda Samuels (
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