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NAPO - National Association of Professional Organizers

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Home Organizers Can Tackle Your Mess, 2/14/13
Meredith Low

It’s that time of year again: piles of snow outside, great piles of clutter inside. Mail, receipts, and magazines sit on your kitchen counter and desk. Make-up, hair products, medicines -- new and old -- compete for space on top of the bathroom vanity. Clothes you no longer wear squeeze out the ones you really need in your closet.

Dorothy Madden with Carol and Mike Hirsh
Organizer Dorothy Madden of Penfield, right, organized the office, as well as other areas, in the home of Carol and Mike Hirsh of Brighton. Photo by Kate Melton.

You’ve tried clearing out those piles before, only to have them reassemble, like backyard weeds, weeks or months later. The secrets of successful organization elude you: You have no routines, rules or tools to get started or to decide what’s worth keeping. You feel too bored or anxious to sort out and organize the cluttered areas of your home.

Fortunately, a small platoon of local home organizers is ready to help you reclaim your space. Many of them say they’ve always had an ability to put things in order; a few will work with compulsive “hoarders” as seen on the television show by that name.

Dorothy Madden of Penfield is a professional home organizer who started her business, Organize It! in 1997. She works in homes both elegant and modest, and finds a similar challenge in both.

“Regardless of lifestyle, cleaning up clutter is all about making decisions,” she says. “Clutter is simply postponed decisions.”

Her forte is helping people organize paper and electronic documents (email and MS Word documents, for example.)

Madden recently worked with Carol and Mike Hirsh of Brighton, helping them relocate their shared desk to an alcove where it fits perfectly in their remodeled home. She helped reorganize the contents of their desk drawers, where office supplies now have new homes. File folders for Carol are blue, her favorite color; Mike’s are red, so each can be readily identified by category. ...

5 Tips to Start Organizing
By Dorothy Madden of Organize It!

1. Start in the area that bothers you the most.
2. Mark a start time and date on your calendar.
3. Snap "Before" and "After" pictures for inspiration, motivation to maintain it.
4. Assemble helpful supplies - boxes, bins and markers.
5. Make it fun! Listen to your favorite music, set a timer, and go!

Reprinted with permission of, Rochester, NY