In 2004, while still working as the development director at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Cindy Bernstein met her first professional organizer at a party. “I’d never heard of the term before,” Bernstein recalls. “But when I heard what she did, I thought, ‘That’s the career for me.’” For nearly a decade now, Bernstein has run her own organizing business Aim 4 Order. “I called it that because I like the idea of ‘aiming,’” explains Bernstein. “I want to give people the message that I’m not about achieving perfection. I’m not perfect; my home is not perfect. But we’re all striving to be better.”
Why do people need a professional organizer—isn’t organizing something you should be able to do on your own?
Just like the people who think they should be able to lose weight on their own or pick out paint colors on their own, we all have our strengths and challenges. It’s okay to get outside help, especially when it’s with something that can be fixed.
What kinds of services do you provide?
I help people who are transitioning from one home to another. Sometimes I help people who’ve recently lost a spouse and are unfamiliar with bill-paying and medical records who need help setting up systems. I might help a young mom who can already tell that she’s not feeling in control and help her to set up a system to make the home run more efficiently.
What are some common mistakes people make when it comes to organizing?
People bite off more than they can chew. They tell me their closet is a mess, and pull everything out of it, but then they run out of time and throw it all back in, and it’s even worse than before. My advice is to spend 10 to 15 minutes a day finding things you can eliminate or give to charity.
Any basic tips on getting rid of things?
Ask yourself, ‘Do I love it? Do I use it?’ If you love it and use it, then hang on to it. If it’s just sitting, get rid of it. Another tip is to store like things together. If you look at the space these things take up and assign a square footage to them, it’s amazing how much living space we deny ourselves with things that just sit there.
How do you go about getting people to purge?
Professional organizers are supposed to be nonjudgmental, and that’s part of why people have us in their homes. People often feel judged by outsiders about keeping Kleenex from their deceased parents’ pockets. I’m careful not to do that.
What You Need?
Use these tips to achieve organization in your life.
Get rid of any blurry and duplicate photos to condense your collection.
Throw out games with pieces that are missing or mismatched.
Clearing out your closet can be overwhelming at first, but will lessen the clutter when done.
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