Stash your stuff

Two of the most popular New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight (just 5-10 pounds) and declutter your office or home. However, come March, you decide you look good with those extra 5 pounds and not being able to find some important document or file is no big deal.

But those documents and files are a big deal to Renee Ursem, a professional organizer at Get It Together, a Las Vegas-based professional organizing service.

“Clutter isn’t just about stuff, it’s about what the stuff represents,” she said. “Just like with eating, it’s not the mashed potatoes but what those mashed potatoes represent. I’m able to ask questions with an objective eye because I don’t have any connection with that stuff. Many clients believe I’m going to make them throw their stuff away. I don’t do that. I simply ask, and they decide.”

As with any major project, the most difficult part is getting started. Professional organizers suggest starting with just five minutes one day to get something done, then another five minutes the next day and within several days an entire cabinet, room or closet can be completed. Once that is accomplished, Ursem thinks the person she is consulting will function more effectively because an aspect of their personal life has been organized.

“I begin by asking what they want to do with the space we’re looking at,” Ursem said. “Some people have abandoned the room because it has become so cluttered and they’re overwhelmed and just don’t know where to start. I’ve seen piles of paper on the floor to the point that filing cabinets and closets are inaccessible. That’s why I usually start with the floor. The room started out right but just got out of hand over time.”

And the clutter in Las Vegas is no different than in New York City, Chicago or Naples, Fla., according to Christine Ruggiero, a professional residential organizer for The Lakes Professional Organizer in Las Vegas. She has assisted people across the country who tell her she seems to understand how the unorganized mind works.

“Organizing is not a static state,” she said. “It’s never done because life is messy. I tell clients they need to schedule regular cleanings of their desk or garage or bedroom. It will keep them from getting overwhelmed all over again.”

Ruggiero has learned that one man’s junk is another person’s treasured memory.

“There is something I refer to as cellular memory,” she said. “It means that when you touch a particular item, no matter what it is, even an empty matchbook, that item brings into focus a certain memory or moment of great significance. I may suggest that something be removed, but when the client touches it, that precious memory returns and the item stays.”

And since that item is staying, Norine Rudolph can assist in protecting it. Rudolph is general manager of The Container Store in Las Vegas.

“Our customers are looking for solutions to their organizational challenges,” she said. “They are frustrated by being disorganized and seek us out for answers. Our answers are our store products, which we call solutions. They’re called solutions because they can help with the smallest of storage problems to the most intimidating.”

Those challenges can range from clothing, utensils and collectables, to the many papers and receipts one collects leading up to tax season. Rudolph’s suggestion is to start with the biggest challenge.

“The one area that is giving someone the biggest headache is going to take the most time,” she said. “But once accomplished, everything else falls into place and nothing seems so major after that. Our customers are anxious to share before and after photos with us and how we helped them. It’s not just a Band-Aid application that we suggest, but a complete solution.”

Those solutions also are needed by snowbirds wintering in their recreational vehicles. According to Rudolph, RVers come in all the time because they encounter the same clutter problems that one finds in any home.

“One of the differences with RVers is that we help them organize vertically,” she said. “They collect stuff as they travel around the country, but their space is limited. That’s not a problem as we have solutions no matter what the size of their RV.”

Rudolph said her company’s website has a link, Expert Tips and Ideas, that lists a host of recommendations for homes, offices, and yes, even recreational vehicles.

For more information, contact The Container Store at 702-712-4801 or; The Lakes Professional Organizer at 702-280-2743 or; or Get It Together Organizers at

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