Getting organized a snap with help

On any given day, people are bombarded with e-mails, snail mail, telephone messages, bills and a growing "to-do" list.

The information coming in can be overwhelming.

Professional organizers - a service rising in popularity nationwide - help individuals sort through such information and set up personal filing systems, all the while giving helpful tips and advice on improving management skills.

A handful of Sequim-based professionals offer such assistance to both corporate and residential clients, specializing in a wide variety of services.

Whether it be moving, downsizing, improving time and data management or even transforming the garage from a storage unit to a place to park the car once again, professional organizers are there to help.

"It's proven that organized people save time and money and reduce stress and frustration levels," said Brenda Spandrio, owner of Ambiance Solutions and a National Association of Professional Organizers member.

"There is no right or wrong way to get organized, but a professional organizer will take an objective look at your space and guide you through the decision-making process on what to keep, what to toss and where to take action so you can reap the overall benefits of being more organized."

Rock bottom came for Spandrio about 20 years ago.

"My life was a disaster," she said.

"I constantly missed important deadlines because I did not have a system in place to stay on top of projects; I wanted it to be different but did not know where to start."

After contacting a professional organizer, Spandrio got her "ducks in a row," so to speak, and made it her personal mission to help others do the same.

"Balancing a checkbook is no longer on par with the idea of going in for a root canal but has become a monthly, 10- to 15-minute routine," Spandrio said.

"The bottom of my inbox sees the light of day on a regular basis and I can lay my hands on any filed information within a minute or so."

Judith Engstrom, owner of Peace of Mind Organizing and fellow National Association of Professional Organizers, specializes in senior services.

She reorganizes living spaces to accommodate physical limitations, takes inventory and packs items in preparation for putting a house up for sale for families after a loved one dies.

"Seniors often have a hard time downsizing because of their emotional attachment to items," Engstrom said.

"Their belonging may represent a lifetime of memories or they feel they are the keeper of family heirlooms. So it can be very hard for them to get rid of things they don't really have room for anymore."

Taking an impartial but sensitive survey of a room, Engstrom is able to sort through and reorganize items to make seniors' lives easier.

Bonnie Bacon, also a National Association of Professional Organizers member and the owner of Natural Order of Things, agrees with Engstrom about seniors having difficulty downsizing and reorganizing.

"Sometimes seniors don't realize everyday activities and household chores can be made easier just by adjusting the setup in their homes," she said.

Bacon specializes in helping people through emotional organizing tasks, such as regrouping after a difficult divorce or transitioning for the elderly.

Cherie Hendrickson and Linda Keyte, co-founders of Simply Creating Order, strive to "help people simplify their lives in this complex world to relieve stress and give them more time for enjoyment and relaxation - not to mention saving money."

Hendrickson and Keyte, sisters-in-law, recently received certificates of professional development from the Professional Organizer Training Institute of Portland, Ore.

Besides organizing space - like garages and kitchens - they offer clients wardrobe consulting.

Much like a personal trainer creates custom workout plans for clients depending on their lifestyle, diet and health, professional organizers reorganize and develop organizational routines unique to each person's needs and wants.

Four foes of clutter

Four professional organization services available in Sequim:

_ Ambiance Solutions, owner Brenda Spandrio. Call 681-7341 or go online to

_ Natural Order of Things, owner Bonnie Bacon. Call 670-5560.

_ Peace of Mind Organizing, owner Judith Engstrom. Call 582-9635.

_ Simply Creating Order, owners Cherie Hendrickson and Linda Keyte. Call Hendrickson at 477-3515 or Keyte at 461-2897.

Reach Ashley Miller at

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