Confessions of a Toronto professional organizer

When I arrive at a client’s home for the initial consultation, most often the first words out of their mouths is an apology for the mess. Such apologies are truly unnecessary! As a Toronto-based Professional Organizer, I hold no judgment when I inspect a home. Messes are what I do and unlike most people, I get excited when I see disorder. Also, I have no right to be judgemental! My own home is far from perfect. Just because I am an organizer, doesn’t mean that I am always organized.


Here is my confession:

1. My home does not look like it should be in a magazine:

I live by the motto that “people come to see me and not my home”. While I am in the middle of a major home renovation at present, and my home is in full chaos with dust bunnies winning the war, my home has a “lived in” look (before AND after the reno). This is real life and I firmly believe that for me and my clients, a house needs to be be functional for those who live in it – not perfect. Not all of us have cleaning ladies nor have the time to keep things in perfect order. A little disorder is actually good I think. Much like a handmade quilt where there is at least one aspect that is not perfect: a sign of true humanity. After all, we are not robots.


2. I have a junk drawer:

While it is fairly small, it is still a junk drawer. My husband and I share it and it is located in the centre of the home – the kitchen. We keep the BBQ lighter, gift cards, remote controls for things in the kitchen, elastic bands and twist ties, and the all-important lint roller that removes cat hair. I have given myself permission to have a junk drawer. The caveat is that I keep it relatively organized (not formally organized with matching storage containers and drawer dividers). It works for us, especially right in the middle of a home reno. To keep it under control, I purge it four times a year. As a professional organizer, I recommend this to many of my clients.

Lisa's junk drawer

My actual junk drawer


3. I have more stuff than I need:

I got married almost three years ago at the tender age of 45. This means my husband and I combined two well-established households and we have duplicates of many things. My stuff immediately went into the garage for storage and has stayed there during the reno. When the reno is done, we will have the biggest purge-fest of our lives! The key here is that my stuff is temporarily in storage. There is an end-date for this – a target for completion when we make decisions about what stays and goes. I am actually looking forward to it because I know it will lift a weight from my shoulders. Post-reno therapy!

I love my house, even during the current reno chaos and it is rarely is a perfect state of order. To keep my sanity, I follow a few simple rules that ensure I can find things when I need them:

  1. I make time at the end of each day to tidy at least one part of my home – even if it is just for 10 to 15 minutes
  2. I always clean up my home office desk at the end of a work day so that I can hit the ground running right away the next day
  3. If I can’t put something away fully at the time, I at least put it in the right room
  4. When I cook, I tidy as I go along, so that I don’t have a heap of dirty dishes at the end of the meal
  5. I do laundry in small batches throughout the week so that I don’t have an overwhelming  mountain to tackle on the weekend

Getting organized doesn’t mean the end result has to be perfection. Just getting started or doing a little bit every day and maintaining a “good enough” state of affairs is perfectly fine for most of us (because there are more important things in life to spend time on). If your disorder is a recurring problem for you and is affecting your ability to enjoy life, then you may need some help. Time to call in the pros and get back to being happy.