• Is clutter driving you crazy?
  • Do you feel like you’re drowning in stuff?
  • Do you have a hard time finding things?
  • Are you overwhelmed by paperwork?
  • Are you feeling stuck and frustrated?
  • Is the question “Where to begin?” cause for confusion or paralysis?
  • Do you wish you could turn some of your junk into a bit of cash…

If you answer “Yes!” to any of these questions, you could use my help.

I call myself a “simplified living coach” aka professional organizer.  An expert with over 20 years experience, I can help you simplify your life. Together, we will deal with the clutter.

I help you to improve how you interact with your stuff, so you can keep your environment peaceful and ordered. What I don’t do is go through your space and throw out everything – no giant garbage bags or dumpsters unless that is what you absolutely need and want.

  • You can keep things that are useful and/or bring you joy
  • Learn to love your version of “A place for everything, and everything in its place.”
  • Finally discover that you actually need less stuff and CAN live more sanely!

I adapt to your unique needs;  my system is very flexible. Be one of the many people I have helped to get UNstuck.

I now do virtual organizing! Learn more here.

I offer a free one half hour consultation on the phone, zoom, Messenger or FaceTime – with tips on how to get started on the path to a more ordered, peaceful environment.  Feel free to bring a friend or relative in on the call for the consultation if you want them to assist you in doing the work. Learn more about what to expect from the consultation here. 

Learn more about my rates here.

I can use  Messenger, phone, and FaceTime.  With today’s technology, it is very easy for you to get organized while I coach you from a distance. Many of my clients have a challenging time lifting and moving, and thus I encourage to get family and/or friends to help you. Or you can hire someone who you consider trustworthy and capable, and I can coach the person.

Call or text me at 479-313-0414 or email me at livablefutureproject@gmail.com

Please leave a voicemail if you call because I rarely pick up the phone unless I know the person who is calling.

You can find me on Facebook here.

I Can Now Help You Virtually!

If you are motivated, have a computer with internet access, the ability to take and send digital pictures, and a phone which has a speaker phone mode… YOU can take advantage of the NEWEST TREND in personal organizing and coaching:

Remote Organizational Support

Help is Available

Support is Sufficient

Friends & Family can Help

Your House, Your Home, Your Happiness

From Survive to System

Feel Joyous and Generous

I will show you how to:

  •  Let go of anything that does not bring joy or usefulness (see
  •  Help you figure out the best and most personally comfortable way to get rid of unwanted items. This can include: selling, donating, and recycling
  •  Find a place for everything – which may include a storage unit.
  •  Develop a labeling and container system that works for you
  •  Create easy to use systems to deal with papers and other items which regularly come into your environment
  •  Effectively use an index so you can find anything
  •  Learn how to establish good, on going organizational habits

 Continue on as an independent ex-disorganized person on your own OR with on going support from me and/or friends and family that I have trained to support you. Enjoy a home that is always peaceful, clean and orderly where you can easily find what you are looking for.

A JOYOUS, PEACEFUL FUTURE AWAITS: Words from a satisfied customer

“Because I knew that Patricia had assisted on one of the TV hoarder shows, I figured my space wasn’t actually quite as bad as that, so I didn’t mind sharing my long standing and worsening disaster with her. I started from a position as a skilled professional who helps other people with all kinds of problems but who was absolutely humiliated and embarrassed by my inability to cope with my own physical space, and frankly, the personal psychological pain and issues that disorganization represented.

I had my doubts about the amount of help chatting with someone in Arkansas by speakerphone while cleaning in NYC would be, but my sessions with Patricia have changed my life and my daughter’s for the better. It feels like a crushing weight is slowly and surely being lifted from my shoulders and my spirit.

Patricia NEVER judges, pushes very gently (but inexorably), and she is endlessly encouraging. Her system is practical, sensible, doable, and adaptable. The progress that has already been made after YEARS of increasing clutter and disorganization is hard to believe.

I’m one of those clients who will need to use the Simplified Living Coach “retainer” package for periodic and regular organizational “booster shots”. I’m just so grateful.

– Deb C in New York City

Simplified Living Newsletter May 14, 2021 Focus on Plants

The purpose of this newsletter is to help you to simplify your life in order to live life more fully. In these days where rising costs of food and other essentials are challenging our pocketbooks, eating the weeds in your garden can save you money. I am going to regularly (I’m not sure how often) send out this newsletter so that you can learn practical ways to simplify your life with a lot of focus on growing your own food and eating the wild edibles that flourish here in the Ozarks and most of the United States.

List of plants I sell: 

This article lists the plants that I will be selling at the Huntsville Farmers Market in the next few weeks. Each plant has links to articles explaining how to grow use these plants for eating and other purposes. Many of you saw these plants at my booth at the First Friday block party in Huntsville, and the Fair in the Square in Kingston. I hope this will inspire you to look deeper into the value of these plants. 

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Huntsville Farmers Market Updates 

I hope to be having a booth at Huntsville Farmers Market.

When I have a booth, I will have some free stuff. Cosmos seeds and Daylilies. Cosmos flowers are AMAZING. They attract bees and butterflies, grow all summer and through autumn, and grow well in poor soil. Here’s more info: https://permaculturenoosa.com.au/cosmos/

Daylilies are undervalued. This article describes 8 reasons to grow daylilies. 

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Longevity Spinach: Featured Plant

I just discovered a wonderful plant that is easy to grow and propogate, super nutritious, and has medicinal properties. I have these plants for sale. Longevity spinach, otherwise known as Gynura procumbens, is an amazing edible plant for many reasons which I explain in this article. I hope you will explore this information thoroughly because even if you are a beginner gardener, think you can’t grow anything, or you don’t have much space–longevity spinach is something I think you will definitely want to learn about and grow. If you are an experienced gardener, I think you will be excited about adding this to your garden.

Please read this very comprehensive article. 

………………

Recommended Videos to Learn Foraging

I have found Sergio Boutenko’s videos very helpful in learning about wild edibles. I’ve been tracking with him ever since I learned about green smoothies about 23 years ago. Serio’s mother, Victoria Boutenko, pioneered the green smoothie movement and Sergio started his journey to health by eating wild edibles on an extended backpacking trip he took with his family. His story is fascinating. I hope you will check out this playlist.

Wild foods are nutrient dense: Don’t pull the good weeds!

This article describes how wild edibles actually have more nutritional value than the plants we normally grow in the garden. Isn’t it ironic that we pull up plants that we consider weeds, like chickweed, lambsquarters, and dock, yet they are the plants with the most nutritional value! Here is an excerpt from this article: 

“Wild edibles tend to contain more beneficial nutrients like vitamins and minerals on a per-weight basis than cultivated foods (Milburn, 2004). This is attributed to a variety of causes. First, cultivated foods like vegetables have been selected for many generations for their size and hardiness rather than their nutritional value. All cultivated foods originated as wild plants, and over the long history of agriculture, likely starting around 12,000 years ago (Uekoetter, 2010), humans have saved seeds and hybridized plants to genetically select larger, easy-to-grow varieties. Such plants make for greater crop yields, but tend to contain fewer nutrients than their wild counterparts (Davis et al., 2004).”

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Foraging as a way of surviving hard times

I have heard stories of people who have been able to survive because of their knowledge of how to forage wild edibles. I find them encouraging and motivating. 

Here is one: https://nanaisfrugal.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/wild-food-foraging/

“Grandma Mama lived through the difficulties of WW1, the great depression, and WW2 but still had plenty of food on the table every day.  She learned about wild edible foods from her own mother and Grandmother.  Grandma Mama used wild edible foods to supplement the foods she grew in her depression era garden and also her WW1 and WW2 victory gardens.  Same garden, just different names for it depending on the years.”

Reading this inspires me to want to be like Grandma Mama–and share my knowledge of wild edibles and growing food with my children, and others who want to learn. 

……………..

Reviews of books about foraging. 

I’m researching the best books for foraging. This book has rave reviews. 

The Forager’s Harvest by Samuel Thayer:

A review is found here.

Excerpt: 

“The plant focused chapters are excellent. Sam provides useful detail on the foods generated from each plant. Detail he provides is based on experience. He includes an average of five to six photographs per plant with a range of three, like for sheep sorrel, to a maximum of 15, for wapato. This is far more than most other books (the book above is the only one with more) and the benefits are obvious. The photographs range from excellent to poor. 

Reading The Forager’s Harvest will make your life as a forager, more successful and more fun. While no book stands alone, Sam’s The Forager’s Harvest is an important part of any serious forager’s wild food library. Highly recommended.”

This video goes over recommended books.

“What books do you need for success foraging wild edibles? There are a lot of books and guides on the subject, some are good and others are not. These are the books you will need to succeed in foraging. They cover everything from identification, harvesting, preparation, and toxic look a likes. Books like Nature’s Garden, The Forager’s Harvest, Wild Edible Plants From Dirt To Plate are all a necessary ingredient to foraging successfully in the field. Don’t ever limit your books and guides to just one or two, make sure you have several! In this video we will go over 6 of the books and guides I wish I had when I was starting out ten years ago. If I had these books I would have had much more success in foraging wild edibles and medicinal plants, without all the trial and error.”

I’ve been using the book Arkansas Wildflowers by Don Kurz. I really like the colored pictures which are helping me to identify plants when they flower. Learn more here. 

Recommended Videos to Learn Foraging

I have found Sergio Boutenko’s videos very helpful in learning about wild edibles. I’ve been tracking with him ever since I learned about green smoothies about 23 years ago. Serio’s mother, Victoria Boutenko, pioneered the green smoothie movement and Sergio started his journey to health by eating wild edibles on an extended backpacking trip he took with his family. His story is fascinating. I hope you will check out this playlist.

……………………..

Simplified Living Coach Services: Organizing (decluttering, downsizing, moving and systems development) AND plant identification and selling

I am developing a new service: Helping people simplify their lives by harvesting the weeds in their garden and identifying other wild edibles. I can come to your home and help you identify your wild edibles in your yard. I can also supply plants that some consider weeds, like lambsquarters, curly dock, and plantain. In addition, plants like mint, comfrey, bee balm, and mullein are super easy to grow and have a variety of purposes including medicinal uses. 

I am a professional organizer with over 2 decades of experience.  If your main need is for my organizing skills,  we can take a break and take some time to look at your wild edibles. 

Check out what people say about me here.  Learn about my services here. 

Contact me at livablefutureproject@gmail.com or message me on Facebook, or text 479-313-0414

Longevity Spinach: A Miracle Plant

Longevity spinach, otherwise known as Gynura procumbens, is an amazing edible plant for many reasons which I explain in this article. I hope you will explore this information thoroughly because even if you are a beginner gardener, think you can’t grow anything, or you don’t have much space–longevity spinach is something I think you will definitely want to learn about and grow. If you are an experienced gardener, I think you will be excited about adding this to your garden.

First, I want to explain something: 

The reason that I have so many articles about plants is because I am developing a new service: Helping people simplify their lives by harvesting the weeds in their garden and identifying other wild edibles. I also am supplying plants like longevity spinach, mint, comfrey, bee balm, and mullein. These  are super easy to grow and have a variety of purposes including eating,  attracting bees and butterflies and using for medicinal purposes. 

I can come to your home and help you identify your wild edibles in your yard. I can also supply plants that some consider weeds, like lambsquarters, curly dock, and plantain. I am a professional organizer with over 2 decades of experience.  If your main need is for my organizing skills,  we can take a break and take some time to look at your wild edibles. 

Check out what people say about me here.  Learn about my services here. 

And now for the article…..

……………………………

I learned about longevity spinach about 3 weeks ago, when I was planning to sell plants at the Kingston Fair in the Square. My friend, Robert, who introduced me to the plant, encouraged me to buy 50 starts in order to sell them. They are all planted in small pots, and growing well. I will probably be selling these plants at the Huntsville Farmers Market (I’m still trying to decide if I should have a booth there.)

As I research longevity spinach, I am amazed. Scientific research shows that this wonderful plant has so many medicinal properties, including helping to alleviate symptoms of cancer and diabetes. I especially like the fact that it is mild tasting, super easy to grow, can be propagated from cuttings, grows prolifically all summer, can be eaten raw or cooked, and can be raised as a houseplant during the winter. This author shares a host more about this miraculous plant and I highly recommend starting your learning by reading this article. 

Here is a excerpt: 

“Longevity spinach is a highly-nutritious green edible and is sometimes referred to as a superfood. It is rich in vitamin K, polyphenols, flavonoids, and other valuable nutrients. People often grow it for its medicinal qualities. Longevity spinach can be eaten raw in salads and smoothies, sauteed or steamed like regular spinach, or boiled in soups and stews.

According to One Green World, the perennial plants are hardy in USDA zones 9-11, but you can grow them as annuals in almost any U.S. climate. I garden in zone 6, and I successfully grow longevity spinach outside from April through October.

Longevity spinach doesn’t have many pests in the U.S. I personally have never had any trouble with pests aside from the occasional bug hole in a leaf, but I’ve heard that some gardeners have experienced minor bug damage from beetles or aphids.”

……………..

This is a great video. She shares about the health benefits and how to propagate the plant. 

Here is an excerpt from the  description of the above video: 

“Longevity Spinach (Gynura procumbens ), the benefits are in the name!  When you plant this incredible treasure in the right zone, you can have evergreen perennial greens feeding your family and providing the much-needed biodiversity of nutrients in your diet.  It is super important for the wellbeing of your gut health to eat from a variety of sources and when you know that no pesticides have been added, all the better.  

This makes for a great, low, dense groundcover best suited for full sun or part shade.  This plant is also easy to share and propagate from cuttings, bringing more sustainable solutions to bring edible landscape options to your community.  I have found this variety to be easy to grow and care for, making longevity spinach an excellent plant for the beginner gardener.”

“Its leaves have a mild raw flavor to be crushed and put in smoothies, soups, or teas. They may also be used in sandwiches or salads as a nutritious snack. The very best method is to eat it raw, but the possibilities are infinite. Use it in any manner you’d use any other leafy green, and you’ll be able to enjoy these health perks.”

………………………..

This video describes health benefits and emphasizes how you can grow it easily and all parts of the plants are edible. Short, sweet, and inspiring. 

Here is another short video extolling the virtues of longevity spinach which includes this link that proclaims the scientific studies done on the plant. 

………

This article talks about the high protein content of longevity spinach, how they grew the plant in containers, their favorite ways of eating and other helpful tips. 

https://www.gardensall.com/longevity-spinach/

………

Well, I could keep going in my research but I must get out into the garden so I can prepare a bed for my vertical garden where I will be growing squash and cucumbers. Maybe I will try growing some longevity spinach in the bed since this plant likes some shade. I love to experiment. 

Happy gardening to you! Let me know what you think in the comments below. Is this a new plant to you? Do you have a desire to grow it?

Edible weeds and other useful, easy to grow, edible plants

The purpose of this post is to teach people about how to simplify their lives using wild edibles and other easy-to-grow plants

This website offers comprehensive information about how to identify wild plants and what they are good for. Included in this wealth of information which includes pictures and videos includes how to identify hazardous plants. https://www.ediblewildfood.com/edible-weeds.aspx

The following plants are ones that I am selling at the Huntsville Farmers Market. Even if you have these plants growing in your garden or yard, you can now more easily identify them and thus include them in your diet. 

Chickweed: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/chickweed.aspx

Clover, Crimson: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/crimson-clover.aspx

Dandelion: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/dandelion.aspx

Day Lily, Orange: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/mullein.aspx

https://www.ridgedalepermaculture.com/blog/perennial-plant-profiles52

Dock, Yellow: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/yellow-dock.aspx

Henbit: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/henbit.aspx

Lambs Quarters: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/lambs-quarters.aspx

Lemon Balm: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/lemon-balm.aspx

Mullein: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/mullein.aspx

Plantain, Broadleaf https://www.ediblewildfood.com/broadleaf-plantain.aspx

Purple Dead Nettle: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/purple-deadnettle.aspx

Sheep sorrel: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/sheep-sorrel.aspx

Spiderwort: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/spiderwort.aspx

Violet, Wild: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/wild-violet.aspx

Yarrow, common: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/common-yarrow.aspx

Wintercress (Yellow rocket): https://www.ediblewildfood.com/yellow-rocket.aspx

Wood Sorrel: https://www.ediblewildfood.com/wood-sorrel.aspx

These plans are not wild, but they are super easy to grow, edible, and a

Comfrey: https://www.tenthacrefarm.com/comfrey-uses/

Hastas: https://www.narrowpassagepermaculture.com/hostas-for-dinner/

Mint, Apple https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/mint/growing-apple-mint.htm

Mint, Red Raripilla https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/edible/herbs/mint/care-of-red-raripila-mint-learn-how-to-use-red-raripila-mints.htm

Spinach, Longevity

Very comprehensive article: https://www.gardensall.com/longevity-spinach/

Chicory: Wild Edibles series

One of the best ways to simplify your life is to learn about, cultivate, and eat wild edibles.

Here is a great article about Chicory. This plant grows so easily, and some think it is invasive. I like an abundance of chicory in my yard. The blue flowers are lovely, and there are so many uses for this plant.

My friend Robert saw this plant growing in a gravel driveway. He thought it might be something worth cultivating. I am SO glad that I dug up the plant and planted it in pots. There were many roots tangled together.

I had never noticed the plant before. Now it is growing all over our yard in abundance. It loves to grow in cracked and crevices.

Here is an excerpt from the following article:

Edible PartsAll parts are edible. Eat the young leaves (usually bitter) as a salad or boil to eat as a vegetable (boiling removes some of the bitterness too). Cook the roots as a vegetable. For use as a coffee substitute, roast the roots until they are dark brown and then pulverize them.

Other UsesSome Chicory contains oils which are effective in eliminating intestinal worms and parasites (all parts of the plant contain these oils).  It has been used to treat gallstones, sinus problems, cuts and bruises, and improve bowel movement.  Chicory is also an excellent substitute for oats for horses (due to hits protein and fat content).

My research on chicory reveals that this plant is amazing. And the flowers are beautiful. I highly recommend getting this plant started in your garden.

Getting ready for an estate sale after my mom passed away

I found this article in the first blog I started to share about my organizing jobs. Because I enjoy this kind of work so much and hope to get jobs helping families deal with their relatives possession when the relative dies, I wanted to share this story.

When my mom died in 2006, I flew out to San Diego, California, to help my siblings clean up and organize her belongings. There was a lot to do! My mom was so much loved, and I felt so touched by the kind things that people said about her at the memorial service. She collected a lot of things because (like me) she thought they might be useful to someone, or she might be able to sell it at the flea market. I was so glad she saved a bunch of stuff I was glad to have–like letters from when I traveled in Asia.

There was about 40 years of accumulated stuff to deal with. I felt so grateful that I could join my brother and two sisters, and their spouses and friends, to work together on a huge job. I let my older sister take the lead and supported her in mainly getting rid of the stuff that needed to go in the dumpsters. We filled 3 of the largest dumpsters that were available. I call this action “picking the lowest hanging fruit first” It was easy to decide what the trash was because things were obviously damaged by water damage that had occurred in two of the rooms.

I was happy that my organizational skills were utilized during that time because I could clearly see the order which needed to happen. I saw that things were going to be delayed if I didn’t intervene, and fortunately I did so with enough tact that all went smoothly. I wasn’t the professional organizing consultant–I was part of the family. The situation could have been awkward.

With the years of organizing experience I had under my belt, I had learned to I honor a clients needs. Even if what they want does not seem efficient or logical, I will only gently make suggestions, but I won’t push my agenda on them.

In a sensitive time like helping someone order a relative’s possessions–someone who has died or will be going to a nursing home–I am happy that I have my nineteen years experience of practicing non-violent communication. I have learned the profound impact that empathic listening has on people. Tears and grief will come up during this sorting process-and this certainly happened with my family. Anger came up, too. I feel grateful that my practice in Non-violent Communication came in handy for conflict resolution as well as grieving. I had a lot of unresolved issues with my siblings, and we had a reconciliation during this process which was beautiful.

After 3 days of clearing the house of trash (at times there were ten people working!), plus getting ready for the memorial service–most of the trash was cleared out. My older sister decided what were the things that needed to be given away or saved. After the memorial service, my siblings left for their distant homes (except for one who lived near by), and I was left alone for 6 days to get it ready for the estate sale. Here I was, all by my lonesome, in a house with five bedroom, three bathrooms, a family and living room, and thousands of knick knacks and decorations. To top it off-every room was filled with boxes of stuff that needed to be gone through.

The first thing I did was take a day off. I was blessed to have use of a car in San Diego. I visited some dear friends which was comforting.

After my day off, I was refreshed and ready to tackle what might be an overwhelming job for most people. For me, it was an exciting opportunity. I just love sorting!

I stayed up all night sorting boxes because I just could not stop. It was a fantastic experience. I made a box for each of my siblings, plus other boxes for things like correspondence, photos, business, high priority, and low priority. I sat in the living room surrounded by these boxes, and I went through the history of my family and my life. I was so glad to have this job. For some reason it is my nature to be able to have huge seemingly impossible jobs, and feel excited and stimulated.

I just could not stop sorting, seeing box after box of stuff emptied and put into places where they could be useful. Of course since this was my own history, I stopped and read stuff–but if I was doing someone else’s sorting, I would have gone faster because I don’t read their papers except to decide what to do with it.

Some people need me to pre-sort their stuff, just as I was doing with my mom’s possessions. This really helps people who see the sorting process as daunting. I can get the papers, especially, into categories that make it easier and faster for my clients to make decisions. I check in with clients to see if I can throw away things like junk mail, but I don’t throw away anything which gives clients confidence that they won’t lose anything precious.

My siblings came back on Friday, and I was so thrilled to show them the results of my work. As my brother walked through the front door, he was so happy (and a bit shocked) to see that the whole place was ready for an estate sale. I had even taken the time to clean the house, and it smelled much better than it did when we first started working. My sisters were excited and pleased as well!

That night, after a nice dinner together–the first we had shared all together in about 25 years–I sat them down with their boxes. It was like Christmas! They looked through and found letters, cards, special photos, report cards, and childhood art work. I had left out the most special and precious items and we all looked at them together. I felt so close to them, and they felt so thankful for my hard and caring work.

The only place left to sort and clean was my mom’s bedroom. My sister wanted us to do that together. I let her be in charge, as I would with any client, and yet I also offered gentle suggestions. A lot of tears were shed, and we grieved her passing as we had done throughout the whole time we had been working together. And we also celebrated that she was free from all this stuff. We believed she was in a better place.

I feel so deeply fulfilled and joyful that I had these skills to offer to my siblings. She saved those things, hoping that they would be useful, and some of them were. I wish I could have been able to inspire her to use my services before things got out of hand. I’m just glad I was able to help when I did.

I have helped a number of clients who needed help sorting through things that belonged to a loved one who had died. This is such an honor, and I deeply appreciate that people entrust me with this sacred task.

A recommendation for the 4 hour decluttering blitz: “I can highly recommend Patricia for her absolutely amazing skills to help one get organized”

Patricia helped me declutter in a huge way. After single parenting children and working full time and several moves, my closets and drawers were stuffed. The disorganization in the background overwhelmed me and I didn’t know where to start.

Hiring Patricia just for four hours got me started on sorting out what I no longer need. Her positive attitude and support were amazing. Her energy and attitude are inspiring. Even after the initial session she supported me to continue to move forward and within a month I got so much more done.

I have much more to do but the absolute hotspots are no longer there. What a relief! And I have many empty drawers and with time I’ll be able to go through the remaining boxes. I can highly recommend Patricia for her absolutely amazing skills to help one get organized again. Thank you!

We decluttered 4 rooms and a closet in 4 hours! The 4 hour decluttering blitz

I enjoyed recalling this experience with Silvia. My client gave me permission to write this with a name change.

Silvia and I had an initial consultation where she gave me a virtual tour of all the places she wanted to declutter. Before we started the job, Silvia wondered where she would ever find the time to declutter. Making the commitment to spend just 4 hours felt doable to her.

Having this virtual head start helped me to be even more supportive when I arrived in person a few weeks later. We sped through the various rooms working efficiently yet being light-hearted about the process and accomplishing our goal of decluttering her whole house in four hours. 

We started in the room that was bothering Silvia the most–the office. I set out boxes that were labeled with super sticky post it notes. The categories included undecided, get rid of, important, flat, and misc. Super Sticky post-it notes, with the official name being “Extreme Notes” are one of my secret weapons. Each of these categories here. 

Being able to quickly label something as well as change the label easily cuts down on many minutes. Since my goal is to help clients save money and time, those minutes are important. 

Normal post it notes fall off easily when they are moved about, so Extreme Notes, which have a waterproof and extra-sticky backing, are perfect for the job. 

Silvia’s main challenge was that the drawers, cabinets and closets in her house were filled up with mostly unneeded stuff. Clutter easily got piled on surfaces and finding homes for the objects she needed to have easily accessible was impossible. 

We quickly boxed up the hidden contents of drawers, cabinets and surfaces. Silvia laughed so hard when she saw how much stuff came out of small spaces. The whole office space (which was also her spacious living room) was filled with boxes of things that came out of drawers and cabinets! Her laughter was infectious, and I joined in and had a good belly laugh! 

I have seen this situation over my past 20 years of professional organizing. The amount of space that is taken up by objects taken out of a closet in order to put it into order seems a lot larger than the size of the closet. 

With my sorting system, this overwhelming amount of stuff can be packed up quickly and stacked in an out of the way place in a way that is surprising compact.  

After 3 hours of work, Sylvia got the hang of how to sort things, and she was able to work on her own while I did this task. 

After we completely decluttered the office (surfaces and all drawers and cabinets), the kitchen was the next priority. Although our goal was to go through the whole house, we wanted to make sure that the most important areas got attention. 

Silvia stood on a ladder and handed me items which were on a high, deep shelf. This kind of task is time consuming and tedious, so having a helper can save so much time and energy. 

Although I didn’t want to take too much time to sort things, I did decide to put old birthday decorations into one box since there were so many.   She knew she was not going to keep much of the decorations so keeping them in a category meant that box would be able to be sorted quickly. 

except for “important–keep out.” My clients almost always find things and happily exclaim, “I’ve been looking for this!” I encourage clients to set these items in one place, rather than put them in a box, so they can prioritize finding homes for or attending to these items. With the clearing of storage spaces, it is much easier to find homes for these precious items. 

Silvia quickly realized after emptying a very spacious cabinet that she could put food that was taking up precious floor space.  I handed her the items and she put them right where she wanted them. 

Cleaning out large drawers was easy because Silvia was able to dump everything in one box.  She found just a few things she knew she wanted to keep. This box, labeled “kitchen” would be easy to sort later. 

Having a “get rid of box” where we put recycling, give away, and even trash, was much simpler than trying to haul around 3 different boxes. I have discovered that the less categories we have, the faster we move. Silvia would periodically quickly clean the trash out of the box. 

We needed to prioritize because of our limited time. Silvia would look into a drawer or cabinet and decide whether or not to empty this space. If it seemed too time consuming, she would say, “later.” For the most part, we ended up emptying the drawers and cabinets.  

She decided to take 5 minutes to reorganize under the sink when I suggested that she put some things in plastic containers she had purchased. It wasn’t perfect, but it was much better. The most important thing is to keep moving, and not get hung up on any one area. Refining can take place later. 

The only area that needed to be sorted in the dining room was what Silvia called “her hidden cabinet.” She had not looked into the cabinet for years, although she knew it was mostly crafts. As she pulled out a huge amount of crafty stuff plus some games, I filled a box and labeled it “crafts.” Silvia imagined how fun it would be to play games when her sons came home to visit, so I kept the games out of the crafts box and she put them back on the shelf that now had space. 

Having a variety of sizes of boxes is essential. I was glad that Silvia had followed my advice and bought a combination of plastic bins and boxes. She didn’t have time to look for many boxes, so she did buy plastic bins. If you are going to store items in a place where dampness, cold, rodents or bugs can invade the containers, plastic bins might be the way to go. 

I brought some boxes with me. I have never experienced having too many boxes! Since speed is of the essence, searching for the right-sized box is not a good use of time. 

We spent two hours decluttering 3 rooms. Silvia decided that her bedroom was next. One drawer had a large variety of items, mostly electronics, which were easily put into a box. 

The bottom drawer had tools and manuals. Removing the manuals and putting into a small bin left enough room for Silvia to be able to get to her tools. 

With 90 minutes to go, I knew we needed to look at the staging area where she would be storing the boxes to sort. Taking out some large items and putting them in the garage was quite easy. We did a tiny bit of re-organizing in the garage in order for these things to fit. 

Silvia gave me permission to reorganize some things in the bedroom staging area. We were going to have a lot of boxes to store there temporarily. As I went around the house and gathered up the boxes that had been filled, Silvia continued to work on her closet. Getting boxes of old memories off of shelves so I could put them in the sorting room made space for items that Sylvia used more often. 

 We were finishing strong! Sorting and letting go of clothes was something Silvia knew she could do later on her own. The goal we had was to get everything else out of the closet so that she could easily move around in the space. We did it! The floor had been almost entirely filled up, and now all was clear. 

I knew it was a risk to tackle the closet and to stay within the 4 hour time frame that we agreed upon. I could have stayed later so we could get more work done, but I like to stay within the 4 hour goal because then my client can see the light at the end of the tunnel and stay within their budget. This also motivates us to go a little bit faster. 

Once the whole closet was decluttered, Silvia put the things back that she wanted to have easily accessible. I swept the floor which had some papers and miscellaneous still cluttering the space. I put those things in a box.I do not throw anything away without permission! Of course the dirt went into the trash. (Okay–I don’t ask permission to throw dirt away!)

I had prayed a lot before our session that things would go smoothly and that we could accomplish our goals in record time. And we did! It was just a few minutes past the 4 hour mark, and we could declare the job completed. We both felt such a sense of satisfaction. Kitchen, living room/office, dining room, bedroom, and bedroom walk in closet got decluttered!

The day after our blitz, she messaged me, happy and proud that she got rid of two big boxes and a bag of plastic bags. Before, she dreaded the idea of having to spend her precious time doing this work. Now she was excited to sort since the task seemed less daunting and more doable. 

A few weeks later, Silvia messaged me saying that she needed some coaching about how to sort the rest of the boxes. I gave her a few tips, and she took them and ran with them. Because her son was coming for the holidays, she wanted to have his bedroom (which served as the sorting room) in tip top shape. Silvia messaged me with pictures to show that she had sorted all the boxes and the bedroom was better than when we started. 

During our session, Silvia felt a lot of emotions. This is typical. My clients often feel a whole range of emotions including shame, regret, sadness and fear.  

She decided to set aside the emotions, knowing that at some point she could process them. The priority was to get the physical job done. And clearing out all this stuff actually helped her to feel more energized and stronger so the emotions did not control her.

However, if Silvia had wanted to do some processing while we were working, I could have supported her. I have the ability to listen empathically and help people move quickly through their feelings that are blocking them from moving forward. 

Knowing that Silvia benefited immensely from our combined efforts left me feeling very satisfied, fulfilled and happy. I love my work, and feel so grateful that I have this talent. 

Here are the kind words that Silvia shared with me soon after our time together:

“Patricia helped me declutter in a huge way. After single parenting children and working full time and several moves, my closets and drawers were stuffed. The disorganization in the background overwhelmed me and I didn’t know where to start. 

Hiring Patricia just for four hours got me started on sorting out what I no longer need. Her positive attitude and support were amazing. Her energy and attitude are inspiring. Even after the initial session she supported me to continue to move forward and within a month I got so much more done. 

I have much more to do but the absolute hotspots are no longer there. What a relief! And I have many empty drawers and with time I’ll be able to go through the remaining boxes. I can highly recommend Patricia for her absolutely amazing skills to help one get organized again. Thank you!”

I forgot to take a picture before this closet was put into order. But trust me, the floor was almost completely covered with stuff, and it was very cluttered. Within about 1/2 hour we got the closet into tip top shape by removing things that were not needed and putting them in the holding space.
I needed to get the closet of the holding space in order as well. I didn’t take a picture of the before situation, but with a little bit of work, I was able to create lots of space in the closet for storage.
This is what the holding space looked like before I got things quickly in order so we could fit all the boxes to be sorted in this rather small space. The client’s son would be using the room in a few months, so she had time to sort.
One of the things I am good at is transforming chaos into order quickly. I was able to, with Silvia’s permission, pack everything up for her to sort later. I tell my clients that won’t throw anything away, so my clients feel confident that if I pack things up, they will make the decisions.
We packed the holding room full of boxes to be sorted. Silvia was able to sort through them in about a month after our decluttering blitz. She got rid of or found homes for everything, including the things that were already in the holding room. She was so happy that she could get her son’s bedroom ready for his holiday visit, and she sent me this picture. I did give her some tips on how to sort through the boxes which she appreciated very much.

I got to help with a hoarders show!

Well, I was only on the program, Hoarders Buried Alive, for about thirty seconds–but a few friends saw the show and asked me, “Was  that you on that program?”

About 6 years ago, I was fortunate to be on the show because the lead organizer who got the job asked me to help with organizing the estate sale. The producers wanted Michael to get just one room in perfect shape. I got to do something that was much more fun.

My assignment was to go through the rest of the house and get it ready for an estate sale.  You can read a brief article about the show here You have to pay to watch the show on Amazon, but if you want to, you can find it here, episode number 9.

I am reposting a version of an earlier article because I have been reviewing my recommendations. One client said that since I had helped with a hoarder’s TV show, she could probably trust me with her home. And the memories started coming back.

I was glad to be given the big challenge, since I love to tackle big jobs.  The client had filled a gigantic basement full of mostly high quality furniture and items that were sellable. The upstairs was stuffed pretty full of stuff also.  His problem was that he was great at buying, but not so good at selling. In addition, he needed to go through a big stack of boxes which had been packed by professionals when his house flooded. He had no idea what they contained.

I could hardly walk through the basement when I first arrived. My first step was to simply try to make some paths.  Why I enjoy such a challenge–I have no idea–except for the fact that when I unlock the code, I feel so satisfied.

Once I created places to walk, I had the supreme joy of putting items that were similar together. This made it easier, of course, to sell things. As I kept moving things around in a logical way, more space opened up so that similar items could be displayed in a more accessible and attractive manner.  

As I made more room in the basement, I was able to bring things from the upstairs in order to make more space in the rooms on the first floor. I helped pack up items which were going to be displayed outside on the day of the estate sale. Fortunately, it was a beautiful day!

I know it takes a lot of time to really bring one room into shape, especially a kitchen which is piled high with odds and ends.  So while the lead organizer worked away at her one room, I kept pushing my own limits and getting closer to the goal of being prepared for the estate sale with thousands of items needing to be dealt with. I spent minimal time with the client because he was busy with other things, and my main job was to get things out in the open so he could easily decide whether or not he wanted to sell something.

Mike was able to make those decisions, and the estate sale was a success. Since the producers did not want to pay me, Mike gave me items as a trade. I was able to hire someone to sell the stuff on Ebay so I was able to get paid. I still have the very high quality vacuum cleaner that I earned.

I enjoyed helping the production crew set up and make even more necessary space for cameras and equipment.  The producer wanted to film the day of the big estate sale, and I was fortunate to be in the production briefly when I came to the client to ask a question.

I have a dream that some day I will be able to facilitate the transformation of a hoarder’s home demonstrating some of my unique methods, and showing how friends and family can help to do the job with maximum compassion and efficiency and minimum stress and emotional break down.

I feel so grateful that I had this opportunity. It was exciting to be a part of a big television production!