SIMPLIFY and ORGANIZE – Organizer Beth Giles can show you how
By MAGGI WHITE for NW Senior and Boomer News October 2011
They say the secret to success is finding a need and filling it and Beth Giles has done just that – she works wonders with people “who have too much stuff.”
They’re either downsizing, or combining families, or haven’t cleaned out the garage in who knows when. Some are moving and don’t want to take all that “stuff” with them, or don’t need it, but they take a look at all they have and roll their eyes and plop down in front of the TV. Organizing can be overwhelming.
But if you’re good at it and what’s more, you enjoy it, it can be an occupation – and that’s what she found over three years ago after taking a year off from teaching high school students. After receiving professional training, she formed NW Organizing Solutions.
Senior downsizing is one of her specialties. She’ll be giving a talk at OASIS on that subject on Nov 3. She will discuss conquering clutter, organizing space, managing papers, restoring order, reducing stress and saving time or money. Giles works for both large and small areas, including small offices.
She recently helped a 93 year woman move from a two bedroom into a one bedroom unit at a retirement home and was stunned when the woman wanted moved a few of the boxes down the hall herself. “That’s what I enjoy. Meeting all kinds of people and helping make a difference in their lives,” said Giles.
Her work on moving or downsizing issues includes sorting possessions, disposing of items, creating floor plans, packing belongings for you, coordinating the move and unpacking and setting up. “I do everything but the move itself,” Giles said.
“Reducing stuff gives you a sense of freedom. I’ve had people tell me it’s like taking a 20 pounds off their back. It can become confining and restrictive. Each possession we have comes with a responsibility. We need the space for it, we have to maintain it, keep it up, dust it, polish it, and store it. When we become seniors, we can’t do as much so it’s determining what is important and what is taking over our lives. It’s hard to make those decisions. We have different needs at different times in our lives.”
Giles said “being able to bounce ideas off someone else who knows the right questions to ask,” can make the process easier for all concerned. That includes couples moving in together and combining households.
“When you are moving from 2000 square feet to 1000, half of what you have won’t fit. The clothing, the gadgets, the decorations. It’s a hard cut to do.” She told the story of a woman who had 75 vases in her collection and through the right interaction was able to cut it to five with her client feeling good about it. “We ended up on a positive note,” she said.
Giles does floor plans so people can visualize how their possessions will fit the space. She moves furniture around and shows them how much space is left to maneuver in the room. “People have a hard time trying to figure out how much fits in a room. By doing a floor plan and taping out the space, they can see how it would look.”
Giles said, “organizing is an efficient way of being effective.”
When working with more than one person, she points out that everyone thinks differently and there is not one way to resolve the issue. “
What she said she likes is coming into a home, sitting down with a person who is feeling overwhelmed, listening and relieving them of stress. “I’ve had some clients actually get up and dance, they feel so good, including kids whose rooms have been organized and who tell me, ‘now I can find my toys’”.
It was Giles’ husband Martin who suggested her new career by pointing out to her she had a talent for organizing. “I didn’t know there were professional organizers.”
She suggests people limit the amount of TV and computer time by giving themselves time limits and recommends the “1 in, 1 out” rule” for every time you bring a new item into your home, no matter what, by discarding one old for one new. She said there are other people who can benefit from your discards. “Remember that every minute of your day or every inch of your home dos not need to be occupied by something. Allow yourself time to relax and open space in your home to enjoy. She recommends errand lists to avoid making several trips and wasting time, as well as delegating responsibilities. “We have so much we don’t use or need.”
Clutter excuses are many: I might need it someday. I don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. It was so expensive. It might be valuable. I don’t want to just toss it. Her tips for an organized life include calendars, lists, making it easy for you to put things away, canceling all unread or unwanted subscriptions, setting aside a time each day to deal with daily paperwork, removing everything from your desks that don’t need to be there on a daily basis, and keeping a bin or basket in your car for items you need to return, drop off or deliver.
Giles’ website www.nworganizingsolutions.com includes newsletters and organizing ideas to simplify your life. She can be reached at 503 709-0791.