Breast cancer survivor and clutter clearing author learns to walk her talk

Clutter clearing cancer coping author and motivational speaker We can learn to live our priorities fully (and not just surviving or getting by on a day to day basis) by clearing out the distractions and focusing on what is important to each of us, our families, and our lives. Cancer Survivorship Coping Tools: We'll get you through this by Barbara Tako, two-time cancer survivor and published author and motivational speaker on the topic of clutter clearing. For updates on this new book, click here.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Interview with a professional organizer: Jennifer Ford Berry

Today I interviewed Jennifer Ford Berry of Organize This Life in western New York to get her professional organizing insights for 2010.

How and why did you decide to become a professional organizer?
    I started organizing professionally 8 years ago in Charlotte, NC.  I had just had my first child and was sad to go back to my full time corporate job.  About 3 months later I was laid off due to cut backs in the company.  At first I was scared but then I realized it was a blessing-I would be paid to stay home with my baby girl!  While I re-evaluated my life and asked myself what I was passionate about.  The one answer I kept coming up with was organizing!  I started a website, a business and a weekly newsletter based on my passion.  I am living proof that if you do what you love, the money will follow.

How long have you been doing it? 
   All of my life for friends and family and professionally for 8 years.

What is the funniest/strangest response you've gotten when you have told someone what you do for a living?  
   "People actually let you in their house to look at their junk"?!

What are your favorite techniques for clearing clutter?  
   I always Toss first.  Then I sort.  I believe this makes it less overwhelming for clients because there is less to sort and they already feel good about making decisions to let things go.

What are your top three suggestions for getting organized?
   1) Always try and use what you have for storage (containers, baskets etc).
   2) Less is More!
   3) Baby steps. Conquer one area of your life at a time.

If someone is struggling with staying on track with their organizing systems, what do you suggest?
  Write down a step by step plan.  Ask a friend for help or better yet call a professional!  Go easy on yourself, organizing is not something that comes easy to everyone.

If a home manager is struggling with lack of organization and clutter from spouse or children, what are your ideas to help them? 
   Implement a family chore chart.  This will only work if deadlines and consequences are in place.  For example:  the bathrooms must be cleaned by Saturday morning.  If they are not cleaned by then ____________ will not get a ride to their friend's house.  This way your expectations are clear and the family member knows exactly what you want from them.  No confusion, no arguments.  When a chore chart is in place everyone can easily read what needs to be done and they can help out when their schedule permits throughout the week.

Anything else you would add/suggest as we start the New Year?

   My advice for starting the new year off on the right foot is too forget about "resolutions".  Sit down and ask yourself what your vision for 2010 is. This is a snap shot of what your life would be like if it could be anything.  Then list your top 10 priorities for your life. (these should coinside with your vision) Then write down your goals for the upcoming year: what do you want to accomplish?  Now grab your planner and take a good look at it.  Schedule steps toward your goals.  Remove time wasters that don't honor your priorities and goals.  Only YOU can decide how you use the 24 hours you have been given each day.  And only YOU can make this the year you shine!

Jennifer Ford Berry is the author of the best selling book: Organize Now! a week-by-week guide to simplify your space and your life.  Organize Now is available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, Lowes, Books A Million, Kinkos and other independent stores.  Jennifer is a professional organizer and speaker.

Find Jennifer at:

  Twitter: organizethislif

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