D.C. area professional home organizer discusses her job
Organized by Marcie | Washington, D.C.
"You know how some people have always known that they're going to be doctors or lawyers?" says Marcie Lovett. "I've always strived for order." Lovett started her career as a personal organizer after years of helping friends organize their homes and offices. "I thought to myself, 'Hey, I could make a living doing this,'" Lovett says. Since then she's been helping Washington, D.C., area residents and professionals through Organized by Marcie.
When do people realize they need professional help?
"People usually call when they're having some sort of life change. They might be moving, changing jobs, having a baby or ending a marriage - anything that affects their life in a large way. For some people, it's just having company over. Usually, it just gets to where people can't take it anymore, and they call me and say, 'Can you come tomorrow?'"
What has been the hardest organizing job so far?
"The biggest challenge was a client who said, 'Just get rid of everything. I want everything to go.' And then she just left it up to me. I thought 'I can't just throw all of this woman's things away.' She had stuff in duplicates, triplicates, multiplicates, and she had several homes. I just screened out the excess in a way that made sense and boxed everything up."
What's been the weirdest thing you've found in a client's clutter?
"I found a towel in a boy's bedroom closet. Thinking that it might just be a towel that he had tossed in the closet, I picked it up and rocks tumbled out. Turns out it was his rock collection all wrapped up in one of mom's good bath towels."
What tips do you have for better organization?
"Whatever you bring into the house, get rid of something that you already have. If it's Tuesday and you're bringing in that day's paper, Sunday's paper should not still be on the dining room table. If you get a new issue of a magazine, throw out an old one. If you buy a new suit, throw out some old article of clothing."
Are most people embarrassed by their clutter?
"People are often embarrassed, but they don't realize what I've seen. I've seen some really horrendous homes. Some homes look magazine-ready, but tidy doesn't mean organized. People have habits of hiding things in closets, under beds - keeping a 'secret' mess."
What's the most common form of clutter?
"Paper, without a doubt. We get too much paper: the daily news, weekly or monthly magazines, paper you bring home from work, junk mail and the paper your kids bring home from school every day. You should have a system to prevent piling your papers into stacks and throwing together important papers, like bills, with unimportant ones. Also, open your mail over a recycling bin or trash can."
Which room is the hardest to organize?
"The kitchen. It's not just for cooking; we use the kitchen for cooking, eating, paying bills, homework, socializing - it's a multipurpose room."