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Natural Health Magazine spotlight

The following is the Editor’s Letter reprinted from NaturalHealthMag.com, February 2012, in which she shares her journey from clutter to organization with the help of Lori Gersh.

Making positive change all begins with understanding why it matters.

Happy new you

Most people who know me will tell you that I’m not the most organized person—that my house and office usually are a bit of a mess. Piles of magazines and papers, stashes of yarn and bundles of bags clutter almost every available surface.

But when my eldest daughter, Lily, was leaving for her second year of college, she motivated me to finally take control of the chaos. She inherited her dad’s neat gene—her room has always been shockingly clean—and, no longer willing to tolerate the clutter, Lily announced: “I can’t live here anymore; I might not come back next summer.” She said just walking into the house made her uncomfortable; it was even affecting her health. Then, she made a suggestion: “You’ve always told us to ask for help when we need it. Why not find someone to help you with this?”

It sounded simple, but I was afraid. I didn’t want someone to judge me or, worse yet, make me throw away things I’d been holding on to for fear of losing the memories attached to them. But I reached out to Lori Gersh (leaveit2lori.com), a personal organizer recommended by a friend. She showed up at my house and immediately understood what needed to be done. “It’s a great space,” she said. “You just have piles of delayed decision-making everywhere. You have no system. We can do this. And I’ve seen worse,” she added kindly. Our plan: Clear out the extra bedroom and make it an office, then move all the stuff into organized bookshelves there.

And true to her word, instead of throwing things out, Lori stacked stuff on the table and made me decide whether to toss or store it. No tears of nostalgia, no feeling overwhelmed. I didn’t have to throw out the silhouette of my youngest Maggie’s profile, or the drawings with “Lily ❤ Mama” on the back. They went into the memorabilia bin, which fits neatly under the desk in the office.

It was immensely gratifying. And life-changing. These days, I grab the mail, walk into the office and drop it on the desk, where a clear system awaits. No more scrambling to find a bill or permission slip. I can see my dining room walls—and floor—again. When Lily came home for winter break, she smiled at the clutter-free hallway and made plans for spring at my house.

As “Max Your Motivation” on pg. 62 reveals, finding out what motivates you is crucial to lasting change. Since I fit “The Lover” (the social people-pleaser) profile, realizing my daughter’s health and mental well-being were at risk pushed me to a first step, and having Lori at my side not only sped up the process, but also allowed me to talk it out. Whatever your goals are for the year ahead, figuring out what inspires you to action could be the ticket to your own personal transformation, too.

Here’s to a very happy new you (and me)!