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Thursday January 12, 2006
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Pro organizer tackles clutter a room at a time
Melinda Anderson moved her home organization business, Southern Home Organizers, into downtown Dacula.
Melinda Anderson moved her home organization business, Southern Home Organizers, into downtown Dacula.

By Shelley Mann
Staff Writer
shelley.mann
@gwinnettdailypost.com

Piles of papers. Piles of laundry. Piles of toys.
Clutter rules most of our lives, and sometimes the mere prospect of “getting organized” is overwhelming.
Melinda Anderson is the cluttered housekeeper’s own personal Superwoman. The professional organizer will come out to your house and, for $50 an hour (the sixth hour’s free), she’ll take on that most menial of household tasks, organization. She’ll organize your filing cabinets, your kitchen cabinets, your home office or anything else you can imagine.
“People are so busy, and you can’t always ask your sister or your best friend to come help you tidy up,” Anderson said. “Six hours with somebody working to get everything tidied makes a huge difference.”
The Dacula mother of two recently moved her business, Southern Home Organizers, out of her house and into an office in downtown Dacula.
Anderson admits her services aren’t as aggressive as those featured on the popular HGTV show “Mission: Organization.” On that program, homeowners are forced to empty the entire contents of their house onto the lawn, where they’re either tossed, sold or kept.
“People ask me, ‘Am I doing to have to throw away all my stuff?’” Anderson said. “You don’t have to throw away anything if you don’t want to.”
Anderson will use any containers, cabinets or wall units her clients have already bought, or she’ll help them pick out products to fit their home. Sometimes, the solution is simple. Adding a second row of shelves in a closet gives people twice the room to hang shirts, skirts and blouses.
Organizing things by category and by purpose is the system that makes the most sense to Anderson. She’ll tackle a home office by sorting office supplies by whether they’re used for writing, fastening or taping, and she’ll put all the glassware in one kitchen cabinet and all the metal pans in another.
“If you think about it, when you go into Target, all the small appliances are in one area,” Anderson said.
Anderson fell into her organizing gig by accident. She and her family moved seven times in 11 years thanks to her husband’s job. With each move, she’d pack everything up and unpack everything into a new house.
After a while, she started seeing a pattern in the way she’d unpack. She always put the plates by the stove, so she could avoid using serving dishes to transfer food to the table.
“We should set stuff up so we can do those routine things,” Anderson said.
She has a few techniques she recommends to almost every client. Her own personal filing system is an innovative way to tackle the endless piles of paper that flow through every house.
Anderson fills a file holder with about 10 daily files, and any piece of paper that comes into the house that day should be filed in one of the folders. The categories are simple, and tailored to each specific family — to do, to pay, to attend, to read, coupons, projects, receipts, things to hold onto.
At the end of the month, she moves everything she still needs from that box into a filing cabinet and throws the rest away.
“Paper comes in and you have to do something with it,” Anderson said. “It can snowball quickly, and if you don’t open your mail every day, you can start missing appointments, paying bills late. It’s a problem.”
After taking the time to get organized, it’s important to stick to the system, Anderson said. Some clients schedule monthly checkups to make sure the system is still working. Others prefer visual reminders of what they should be doing.
“Sometimes, people will ask me to tape a digital picture to the inside of the doors of the cabinets we organized,” Anderson said. “That way, the husband or the kids will know this is where things go when they’re helping put away the dishes.”





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