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Professional Organizer Is Restorer of Order

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Kacy Paide finds ways to trick her business-owner clients into taking aim at disorganized desks and overrun offices.

As a professional organizer and owner of the Inspired Office in Washington, she advocates for rolling open carts (as filing cabinets), open shelving and a clear vision of her client's goals.

"The whole thing is not organizing people's stuff, but getting them to take up new habits," Paide said. Despite her grand ideas of creating more beautiful, functional, inspiring offices, she knows she must start with small goals and persuade clients to write them down, mark them into their schedule and do them every day or every week.

She asks questions -- "Are there items you can't find?" "What do you need in your drawers?" One trick she uses: Clients commit to one task that must be done no matter what.

Paide, whose degree is in cultural anthropology, has been self-employed for three years and an organizer part-time for four years before that. While other organizers focus on seniors, families, downsizing or closets, Paide enjoys working for creative types who "blur the line between personal and professional," something she does, too.

Many organizers start in other careers; a few have passed the National Association of Professional Organizers "certified professional organizer" tests, but there are no government standards or licensing.

Paide has organized basements, bureaus and paper since she was a girl. Now she sees one or two organizing clients a day, in three- or four-hour blocks.

She's excited when they meet their goals. "There's only so much of my stuff that I can throw away, so I live vicariously through my clients," she said. -- Vickie Elmer

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