My journey from chaotically disorganized teenager to fairly well organized (most of the time) adult turned a corner in 1986. I was married to a family doc in residency who worked 92 hours a week; I was a full time Masters of Divinity candidate; had two daughters, aged 4 and 2 ½; was active in my church and local homeless shelter; and pregnant with my 3rd daughter. I needed a full time nanny – FOR MYSELF!
One day, indulging in my favorite hobby of puttering in used bookstores and buying books that I’d never have time to read, I came across, Confessions of an Organized Housewife. I thought long and hard about whether I could buy a book about housewives (I’m also an adamant feminist), but when I cracked it open, the possibility of having my life back in order jumped out.
From this delightful book, I learned that my ability to create clutter wherever I go doesn’t have to lead to stress-inducing chaos. With the guidance of its author, Denise Schofield, I learned, step by step, to tackle my piles, create systems that the children and I could maintain, and reclaim a life of (relative) calm. I’ve never looked back.
In the intervening years, I have developed a variety of strategies to keep my family, and in the last 10 years, my business, gently organized. I say gently because I strive to always be kind to myself. Knowing that I’m not a born organizer, I recognize that when life becomes stressful, for whatever reason, it shows up first in physical chaos: I’ll lose my keys, misplace the phone bill, refuse (yes, refuse!) to do the dishes and leave my clothes in heaps on the floor. Because I have worked hard over the years to put into place systems that, if not self-perpetuating, are at least well-established, nothing gets too out of hand. I’m able to pick myself up, whisper a kind word of consolation and then put myself back on track to maintain the order that I have worked so hard to establish.
Since the first days of my journey to professional organizing in Lancaster, PA, I have worn many hats: minister, spiritual director, family center director, office and business manager for both allopathic and holistic practices; along with wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. Our family moved to southern Vermont in 1987, where we added 2 more daughters to the brood.
After becoming a single parent 12 years ago, I retrained as a life coach specializing in Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Over the past 12 years I have worked with hundreds of adults and college students, both individually and in groups, to develop realistic goals, better manage their lives and acquire strategies to help them succeed in their personal and professional lives.
In 2009 I began looking at ways to expand my business. So many of my coaching clients needed basic organizational skills along with the goal setting, accountability and support that I offer through coaching that I approached Joanna to see how we could collaborate. It didn’t take long before we both realized that we could offer more together than we could apart. We continued working together until Joanna retired in 2010.
To this work I bring a deep understanding of and compassion for the disorganized person. I have also experienced, first hand, the transformative power that comes with becoming organized. That journey to organization is best done with support, and I love to accompany individuals as they take steps along that path. It is inspiring, joyous and a heck of a lot of fun.
I look forward to many more years of working alongside other brave souls who have decided to be kind and loving to themselves and their families and along the way, maybe even have a consistent place for their keys!