Well-known mountaineer and writer Jon Krakauer once wrote that one of the reasons he climbs very dangerous mountains is to free himself from “the accumulated clutter of day-to-day existence.” Focusing singularly on the task at hand, “something resembling happiness actually stirs in your chest,” he wrote.
Maybe rather than risking his life, Krakauer could have hired a professional organizer such as Jill Prevatt, who knows all about eliminating “accumulated clutter.” Prevatt started her company, Arrange Professional Organizing, in September of last year, “but I’ve been organizing for years,” she says, “my friends, family, that kind of thing.”
Professional organizing is a mainstream business with its own trade and accrediting organization, the National Association of Professional Organizers.
While Prevatt’s business is dedicated exclusively to residential organization, there are also companies that visit corporate offices and put everything in order.
Though it’s a nice side effect, an aesthetically-pleasing living space is just the facade of true organization, according to Prevatt. The real benefit, she says, is no more lost time.
“When you need to find something, and you know exactly where to get it every single time, that [adds] hours to your day,” she says, adding that organization also unclutters the mind: “It is clearer, and you can focus on things other than where you put that missing thing last.”
Like installing a new garage door or put a deck on your roof, the process starts with a consultation, usually less than an hour.
“I leave with information…and I come up with my recommended plan,” says Prevatt. “Then we schedule the next session, where the actual organizing starts.”
According to Prevatt, anyone can be organized, even though “some people think being organized is something they can’t do.”
As in fitness, one source of this mentality is the unrealistic image of perfection found in the media.
“People see gorgeous pictures of homes that have been prepped for magazines and think that’s organized, but it’s not,” she says. “Organization is not about being perfect; it’s about finding what works.”
While people live their lives in varying states of disarray, Prevatt says that many of her clients are working mothers who, though they know and love the satisfaction of being organized, have fallen off the wagon due to a lack of time.
“Most people I deal with are ‘situationally disorganized,” she says. “There are different levels of being disorganized, from ‘I want to sort through my bedroom closet’ to ‘I have hoarding issues and I probably need not only an organizer, but a therapist or something like that.”
In her interview with the Guide, Prevatt was willing to offer readers some simple tips for being more organized:
A place for everything
“Probably the biggest thing is just finding a place for everything,” she says. “When you come home with your keys in your hand, have a place to put them, and don’t do anything else until you do it.”
“Small changes can get you motivated to move on to bigger projects,” Prevatt says.
One in, one out
“Don’t bring another thing into the house until you remove something,” she says. “Disorganization can be a combination of not having a place for things, and also having too much stuff.”
by Erik Zygmont