Meet Joanna

Founder and  ” Declutterer Emeritus”


Having  officially retired from Breathing Space in 2011,   this page isn’t as important as it once was.     Breathing Space is now in the kind and competent hands of  Sue Venman! Before you read another word– if you want to know what I am doing now (in 2012) please visit me at  If you want to read about how I started Breathing Space in 1996 – keep on reading here.

I’d been on the search for someone who would keep Breathing Space in operation as the need for organizing help has only expanded.  I wanted  someone who would  not only  continue to care about the personal wishes and dreams of clients but  would also move Breathing Space technology into the next decade.   After a wonderful time working together with Sue  as a  team, part 2 of the plan has come to pass!  After 15 years I am no longer the owner of Breathing Space and am no longer involved in it’s daily operation.  Sue is calling me “Declutterer Emeritus”  a title I accept with gratitude.

Here in brief is my story.

Professional Organizer ?  Passionate spacemaker was and is a more accurate description.   For me this work was always  more about soul than straight lines, about making spaces that support your priorities and who you are, about  systems that you can rely on to get you through.

As far as how I got into this work,  you  might say that I started organizing when I was four. I’d spend hours building farms out of blocks, then carefully placing the little plastic trees and the  farmer family, plus horses, cows, chickens, ducks and admiring the result.

Joanna RueterAs a kid, I rearranged my bedroom every few months, and friends were always getting me to help them with their spaces.  During and after college, each relocation meant discovering a new funky place and seeing what kind of magic could be done on a shoestring budget.

When I became a daycare teacher and director in 1976, the classrooms got the same treatment.  Sometimes I’d  finish a day’s work contentedly straightening up a room or two in the doll house.  Can you believe it?   After my master’s in social work, my therapy office became the new ‘canvas’.  I loved hearing clients say, “Ahhhhhhhh- I feel better just sitting in here .”

Joanna in apartment

In 1996, my education, life experiences, and  space-making hobby turned into a business – Breathing Space!   Hurrah! In those days the idea was pretty unheard of  but as you know,  that has changed. Now Professional Organizing is a well known service.    It was the perfect work for me  —  where my belief that people CAN DO and my joy in creating comfortable friendly spaces  came together.

I wrote the mini-guide  Decluttering 101 after  seeing that  a very specific set of  actions did the job  again and again  regardless of who I was working with.   People are still contacting me to say  how helpful the guide is.   I’m so glad.

And now I am very lucky that Sue will continue to make Breathing Space  available to  you.    It really is possible to have a space that HELPS you!!! Don’t give up – call SUE!

Joanna Rueter

With all best wishes,

Joanna Rueter, MSW

p.s.  I  would love to have you visit me  at  You will  how it all fits together for me.