Marlene’s Story (or M.C.’s story)

Marlene said the two words we hear from most people growing frustrated with clutter and disorganization: “Overwhelmed” and “daunting.” It was like facing a room that has become the dumping ground for anything without a suitable spot. Where to begin?!

She needed help getting her home organized. All the things scattered about made her private sanctuary feel chaotic and out of control. Her day job, school and theater productions left her with no time to spare. Often, at the end of a long workday, she headed straight to school or the theater.

The clothing clutter and disorganization turned into a time-suck. It was a struggle to be prepared for the next day.

She wanted and needed help. A friend introduced her to Jordana Turcotte, the professional organizer behind Simply You.

It could be uncomfortable to have a stranger going through your mess, your very personal things. But Marlene instantly connected with Jordana who was approachable and personable. The energy level sparked between them.

Just how much can you get done in four hours?

Nonetheless, Marlene wondered if Jordana can achieve much of anything in four hours, given the enormity of the project before them. “It was too daunting to me to ever be done,” she said. In the initial four-hour meeting, Jordana did her thing and provided actionable recommendations without judgment.

After the first session, Marlene described the experience of working with Jordana as magical. It played out like a fairy tale. Like the scene in “Mary Poppins” when Mary made all the toys and clothes march to their proper places.

Jordana accomplished a lot in the short timeframe. From the way Marlene was talking about the experience, you’d think Jordana waved a wand and magic happened.

As a result, getting ready for work was a breeze. The changes made it possible for her to just grab her papers and take off. Going to school or the theater after work has become less harried. “You don’t have to think — you can grab and go with a smile,” she said. Jordana gave Marlene an invaluable gift – the gift of time.

One size does not fit all — finding a system that fits your life

Chaos rears its ugly head when your life lacks of a system for addressing clutter – be it mental, electronic, clothes or just plain extra stuff. The difference between staying organized and seeing chaos return is understanding the origin of the clutter and creating a system to address it.

Every project, big and small, involves assessing the project and building a system that fits the client’s lifestyle and floor plan.

  • Jordana did much more than clear the clutter and help find the perfect spot for things. She identified and addressed bottlenecks in the system to help keep everyone on track. One time, Marlene returned from vacation and didn’t unpack, which presented an opportunity for a mess to bud if not nipped. The women talked it out together to understand the cause behind it, figured out the solution and the unpacking commenced.
  • Not-so-silly little things like keeping umbrellas near the door instead of on the other side of the house saved time. Small changes like this added up to notable time savings.
  • With the silverware organized and the place settings in its right place, planning parties grew easier. “Jordana knows me well enough to make decisions for me,” Marlene said. She purchased a décor-like box to display priceless mementos. Since the two don’t cross paths much, she left notes for Marlene about what she did.
  • The couple held a big party complete with caterers. Her ability to think the little details allowed Marlene to spend more time with her guests instead of running around and managing the party because Jordana thought of everything ahead of time. For example, one creative touch she added was tying bottle openers onto coolers with ribbons – thinking ahead and saving time in searching for openers when they need them. There was no feeling of panic on the day of the party.
  • Delving through the knickknacks, Jordana grouped them to create themes. One knickknack shelf turned into a practical yet touching shrine to honor the memory of Marlene’s deceased parents.
  • Sometimes Marlene finds a note with suggestions from Jordana. “You have a lot of long-sleeved turtlenecks. Maybe swap some. When you buy something, get rid of something!”

The causes for chaos and clutter vary by person. But all causes can be remedied with the right approach and system, as these personalized solutions have given Marlene a sense of calm in being better prepared, and the precious gift of more time in her day. She no longer ran into the panicky last minute situation of “Oh, I forgot this!”

The value of getting organized

According to Marlene, there was never any sticker shock. Jordana was up-front about the pricing. The free one-hour consultation showed Marlene that she would be very comfortable with the process, and with Jordana. After the first session, they worked together on a monthly basis. Sometimes more often when there is a big event or party coming up.

Like most clients, she purchased time in 10-hour blocks. Jordana always told Marlene how much she has remaining. Marlene said, “I ask her, ‘Do you need more?’ so she doesn’t stop!!”

Jordana familiarized herself with Marlene’s life and created a system to match. Marlene said that the professional organizer “walked the talk”, as it was evident from the way she worked and carried herself that she was very organized and “Zen.” That and she was a wonderful person to be around socially too.

“She can do anything I throw at her. It’s daunting to me, I get overwhelmed. And she comes up with ideas and solutions,” Marlene said. “My response is ‘Work your magic, go for it.’”