For many years I have watched PBS stations as well as popular talk shows including Oprah, focus on the topic of CLEARING CLUTTER.

I am pleased to introduce Margie-Lehnen-Holtz, the founder of CURB THE CLUTTER.  Margie is an expert in this area. She has helped thousands of individuals understand their “clutter” patterns and reorganize their “clutter issues” with phenomenal success. Her passion for understanding how to get possessions, paper work, clothing, and “stuff” organized and back under your control is a talent she has developed through years in retail management. Margie is brilliant when it comes to problem solving…. Especially curbing the clutter in your life.

LifeWithJessica welcomes Margie – CURB THE CLUTTER.

As I promised, I will continue to bring the best to you.

 

Exclusive Interview with Margie Lehnen-Holtz

“Curb the Clutter”

Question 1.

What is your definition of “a disorganized person?”

There are some people that have “short term situational disorganization” and clutter that is the normal result of grief, illness, having children and other life changes.  This can lead to an “ongoing pattern of disorganization”.  These individuals tend to have most of the flat surfaces in their home covered with a variety of belongings ranging from mail to laundry and everything in between.  They usually don’t stick to one specific item on each surface.  They also tend to spill on to the floor as well, which I found out recently to be a new mainstream word, called “Floordrobe”.

 

Question 2.

What got you interested in helping people lessen their clutter habit?

I worked in retail management for over 10 years and found that it was necessary to be organized to run an efficient business.  I am naturally a helper and problem solver.  One of the best moments in my work is seeing my client’s reaction. Their satisfaction can be huge for something as simple as removing clutter from their desktop.  I work hard to create a system that THEY will want to use.

 

Question 3.

What is the first step in helping a person lessen clutter in their life? And, when do you say, “The clutter is now gone.”

The first step is identifying the most challenging area in their home or office.  This happens with a question and answer session that I usually conduct in the first meeting.  Then we get to work.

Saying “The clutter is now gone” doesn’t come so easy for some people.  I find that I usually have to come back periodically to check up or even assist them in getting back to where it was when I left them last.  This is not true for everyone though. I have set up systems for clients and have never had to go back because they have kept up the system.

 

Question 4.

If one’s parents had a propensity to clutter, does that affect the habits of their children? Give us some examples

From my experience, most of the time the answer is, yes.

I have a client who has two sons that are about 2 years apart.  The first son is a lot like her, in that he is very artistic and tends to hold on to belongings longer and is what I call a piler, meaning that he, like his mom, has messy piles on his desk and all over his office.  He has more emotional attachment to his belongings.  The second son is the opposite and I would say a lot like his dad.  He doesn’t have an emotional attachment to his belongings and has shown to not be very sentimental about his childhood memories and belongings.

 

Question 5.

Give us some examples of people who clutter, and how you help organize or toss away unnecessary belongings? What is an “extreme” example versus a “mild” example of clutter?

One example I could give you is a client who is dealing with an illness and is a single mother.  She was bringing items into the house and over time ran out of space to put these items and just didn’t have the energy to deal with it and create a place to put them as well as purging along the way.  I came in and physically helped her bag up donations and garbage, as well as help her improve her spaces to stay organized.  Also, a lot of what was given away was her son’s toys and clothing he had outgrown.  I find this to be very common with client’s who have children of school age.

My extreme client was a single man who was diagnosed with diabetes at a late age.  He was barely surviving in the environment that he was living in.  He has a one bedroom apartment and almost the entire floor, except for the kitchen and the dining room, were covered about 1 to 2 feet deep of his belongings.  This job took 3 people 3 days to clear out and was only done to get it back to a livable state.  Pictures below are of his living room before and after.  (The carpet in the after picture has not yet been cleaned. Our job with this individual had been accomplished… to clear the clutter.)

A client who was not so disorganized was a woman who just needed some fine tuning of her garage. When I walked in I wasn’t sure if there was anything I needed to do, but she had me go through all her built-in cabinets and reorganize and purge items, to make it more functional. I have never had to go back. She loved how I helped her and the end result.

 

Question 6.

Are women more likely to clutter than men, or vice versa, or, is the habit regarding clutter equal in the genders?

I have both men and women clients.

 

Personality traits that I find to be helpful in this business are:

  • Patience
  • Non judgemental
  • Unflappable
  • Understanding
  • Sympathetic

My services:

  • Organize all areas of the home and office
  • Set up systems in those areas
  • Computer organizing: email, desktop, files, etc.
  • Computer lessons for the basic user – I work with mostly Seniors and consider myself to be very patient with them during this process
  • Financial organizing – open mail, pay bills, manage Quicken, tax prep
  • Paper management – mail, files, filing, setting up file systems
  • Travel research and booking

Thank you for this opportunity to be an expert on your website.