Professional Organizer wants to set you free from clutter

Professional Organizer Mary Ellen Vincent helped the Westport Center for the Arts get its art supplies under control. (This is the before picture. See the after picture below). This weekend, Vincent and other Professional Organizers will be offering free advice at a Cut the Clutter event at the Goodwill store at 8929 Wornall.

How would you know you would be a good Professional Organizer? Perhaps, like Mary Ellen Vincent, you went over to your friends’ houses as a child and cleaned their rooms for them.

Organizing comes to Vincent instinctively.  And for the past five years, she’s turned her passion into a small business. The Roanoke resident joined up with the National Association of Professional Organizers and started Organize Me, her home-based business.

On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Vincent will be in her “Ask the Organizer” booth. She and other Professional Organizers in Kansas City are holding a free Cut the Clutter event at Goodwill Industries, 8929 Wornall. Goodwill will take donations of electronics, clothing and home decor; Habitat Restore will collect building materials, repair supplies and furniture; ProShred will shred paper; and Harvesters will have barrels available for food donations.

“It’s a skill. It’s a talent I was given,” Vincent says about her ability to turn chaos into organization. “I have a good understanding of spatial relationships, and I’ve read a lot of books about organizing. Through the years, I’ve also gotten to know which tools really work and which don’t.”

Vincent has found she can give her clients great peace of mind just by telling them their clutter is not unusual. She then helps them figure out what they can do on a regular basis to be more organized. She either does the cleanup herself or helps the client do it. She says there’s always a little bit of therapy involved. For example, Vincent says, most people fall into one of two categories:

The “everything out” type of person: These folks believe if they can see all the pieces of paper they need to do something with, for example, they’ll remember to address them. The problem, she says, is that when there are so many pieces of paper, it’s hard to see any of them. This applies to more than paper.

The “everything away” type of person: These folks often stash away all of their unfinished projects in a cabinet, storage closet or basement. While their homes look perfectly organized, they’re really just hiding from projects they should be finishing.

Vincent suggests a happy medium between the two approaches.

The “after” photo at the Westport Center for the Arts. Vincent used extra shelving, tubs and boxes for a makeover of the art supply area.

One unique aspect of Vincent’s organizing business is her passion for finding a way to recycle almost anything. She can help people keep piles of books, hazardous waste, batteries, and metal out of landfills. Her preferred donation site is Goodwill Industries. “They do a really good job,” she says. “I tell people they can take their old computers and electronics there and recycle them for free. My clients don’t have to fix things or take them to the dry cleaner before donating them – just take them to Goodwill, and Goodwill will know how to reuse or recycle the item, and the client gets a tax deduction.”

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