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Home organizing: The pros can help you take stock and take charge of the clutter


From reducing stress to better sleep, if a well organized home is among your January New Year’s resolutions now might be time to take action and tackle your clutter.

According to “mess equals stress” and chaotic spaces can actually be harmful to your physical and emotional health. You may find it hard to start or finish projects or your mind may wander when constantly faced with a room full of visual clutter. Too many “knick-knacks,” disorganized paper piles, unfolded clothes, toys or other household items, can all become visually distracting.

While Marie Kondo taught millions how to de-clutter their homes — and their lives — “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” (2018; Simon & Schuster) by Margareta Magnusson and made into a popular Peacock steaming series in 2023 — takes a deep dive and lists the benefits you’ll discover while taking charge of your stuff.

Do an inventory. Be honest about clearing out and getting rid of items you don’t like, use, want or need may be revolutionary to many saddled with years of their own possessions — or those they’ve inherited — but it is also satisfying and worthwhile.

Swedish Death Cleaning is a gift you give to those you love.

The death cleaning philosophy is to pare down possessions throughout adulthood so your heirs or survivors won’t have to deal with the mountain of things you left behind.

Laurie Palau, owner of Simply B Organized in New Hope, said hiring help can make a big difference when the idea of cleaning up and clearing out becomes overwhelming.

She said there are three main types or “buckets” of professional organizers:

  • Those who don’t have time to do it themselves and have the disposable income to hire help.
  • Those who don’t know how to organize their things and don’t have any healthy models to reference.
  • Those too overwhelmed by the prospect and tied to objects by fear, guilt, sentiment or other strong emotions and they don’t know where to begin.

“I think people gravitate to something that resonates with them. “It’s like hiring a personal trainer when you don’t have the motivation, discipline or the accountability to do it yourself,” Palau said.

Types of professional organizers

Palau recommends interviewing and researching prospects before hiring a professional organizer to ensure the relationship is a good fit from the start.

Look for organizers that specialize. Some might be new move specialists and can help you with your current home to sift and sort possession so clutter doesn’t follow you.

Other professionals can help at the move destination to set up closets and pantries in the new home and get your next chapter off to an organized start, Palau explained.

Some organizers prefer to work on a recurring basis to tackle projects at a slower progression and help clients establish organizing habits they can maintain.

When interviewing professional organizers, talk about your goals and expectations.

“Be really clear about the needs and make sure the organizer is the right fit,” Palau said.

Benefits of hiring a pro

While a professional organizer can whip your unruly closet, office, bedroom or other home spaces into shape they can also add value because they serve as a third party to handle items that may be inherited, or have been part of an earlier version of your life.

“We’re completely objective. We’re not dealing with the emotional components of emotional clutter…those things that paralyze us from moving forward. It neutralizes those issues,” Palau explained.

She suggested finding a pro with a specialty for those with inherited objects they want to shed so informed decisions can be made with confidence.

“You don’t know what you don’t know and having someone come in and can tell you or point you to a specific person, for example, who can tell you the value of various items — this is huge,” Palau said.

“An organizer can help with resources of where things can go for donation, recycling or to be sold. A professional should have an arsenal of resources that can put you in touch with experts in that area,” she noted.

The National Organization of Productivity & Organizing Professionals offers online resources for finding a professional organizer or productivity consultant in your area. Visit

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