Chicago organizer helps homeowners take back control

Chicago organizer helps homeowners take back control

by Paul F. P. Pogue

Linda Goldman yearned for a new path in life after 17 years in the human resources field. The revelation emerged literally in front of her face. "I've always been very organized, so I would end up reorganizing my kitchen or redoing my files while I was thinking about what I was passionate about!" she says. "I read an article about professional organizing and knew what I wanted to do with my life."

She opened Altogether Organized in Highland Park, Ill., in 2002 and has since acquired certification from the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers. She currently works with two employees.

The key to the job comes in helping people find the specific solutions that best fit their lives. "It's all about the client, not what's going to work for me," she says. "You're a collaborator and consultant. People are overwhelmed when they call us, and we help them understand that it's a matter of strategically learning where to start and figuring it out one step at a time. We're a cheerleader in that regard. Our job is to let them know, 'Yes, you can do this.'"

Angie's List member Lauren Klayman of Highland Park, Ill., learned this firsthand when Goldman helped her move into a recently purchased house.

"In the six hours we worked together, we accomplished more than I could have in six months!" she says. "She easily directed me to conquer a mountain of boxes. At the new house, Linda was more than willing to get down and dirty, emptying huge shelves of items the previous owners had left behind."

Goldman says her business encompasses many kinds of organizing, including moving into and out of homes and helping family members sort through homes after a parent passes away. "It can be very emotionally charged to go through all these things," she says. "It's easy to feel lost."

The greatest reward, she says, comes from a job well done. "You can tell right away you've helped someone in a very tangible manner," she says. "They're able to take control of their environment and live the way they want.”

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