You're an artist AND an organizer??? That's so weird...

I hear this a lot. I used to have a hard time explaining it, too. These days I see a whole lot of logic and balance in my two-sided career. There's a yin-yang thing going on. A symbiotic relationship.

Here are some things that make it work:

1) As a reuse artist, I collect—and receive from friends in every direction—a vast amount of stuff. In fact, one of my express aims is to keep usable stuff out of the landfill. I appreciate and plan to use this stuff, or at least make it available for the people who attend my workshops and camps to use. But it's not very usable unless it's stored in a way that I can find it when I need it. Therefore, I get CONSTANT and NECESSARY PRACTICE putting my own stuff in order, and that keeps my organizing muscles in shape. (Unfortunately there's no magic wand for this.)

2) I have an eye for seeing possibilities.

That's what creative people do, right? They see what isn't there but could be, then make it—whether "it" is a painting, a dance, a business, a new iPhone app, a story, or a piece of music. When you hire me to help you organize your space, I come into it looking for the possibilities. How can we put these things (pieces of furniture, storage containers, decorative objects...) to work for you? How can we increase the "flow" of your space? What do we need to move, get rid of, or repurpose? I'm an organizer with an artist's eye, and your space is my canvas—or rather, the surface for my next assemblage. But we're going to do it in a way that makes sense for YOU, that's customized to YOUR needs and lifestyle. If it doesn't fit your life, you won't keep the system in place after I leave.

3) My organizing clients appreciate my efforts to keep their stuff out of the landfill. Nearly all of us have an over-abundance of belongings these days, regardless of our income level. Stuff is cheap. On the surface that's a good thing, right? Maybe... until our stuff starts to own us. Until it oppresses us by getting in our way, distracting us, creating extra work to store it or move it or figure out how to use it or what to do with it or remember why we even wanted or how it got there. (And that doesn't even get into how our stuff became so cheap in the first place. Check out The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard for more on that:

Because I will haul away my clients' stuff and find other uses for it—I'll donate, consign, or use the darn stuff myself in art projects—it makes it easier for them to let go of it. Who really wants Auntie Lois's hand-crocheted afghan to end up in a dumpster? And isn't that one reason we hold onto things that we don't use: Because we feel bad trashing them?

Yes, some of those cast-offs become my art materials, and we're all ok with this. True, I'll need to figure out how to organize and store them in the meantime...