Where the heck did I put that file? Don’t I own any tape? OMG why do I have so much tape? These are just a few examples of the things I struggle with in my home office. I love that I primarily work from home. For me, I can’t imagine it any other way. Personally, I feel I’m more productive without the distraction of other people, and it’s a bonus that I can work in my PJs. I hear they frown on that in an office setting. Plus, my assistant is a six-pound YorkiePoo named Koa. He needs his space as well.

For years I’ve had this fantasy about a clean, organized and put together home office. One where I knew where everything was. A space that inspired creativity. When I moved into my current home a year ago, we set my office up, then reset it up, then did it again, then moved it around again. Nothing was flowing or working, and it was a mess.

Fortunately for me, I met Tonka Bay resident and professional organizer Michele Dudley of Reyestone Organization. Dudley and I sat down to talk about what a professional organizer does and doesn’t do, and why. Simply, she helps individuals and families free up a ton of time. This made so much more sense to me after she did my office.

I realized that I don’t think twice about seeking out professional help from accountants, doctors or lawyers. If I was having issues with getting and staying organized, why not consult with a professional organizer? Dudley has multiple certifications as an organizer. The first thing she does is a consultation in the space you need help with.

She went over my work habits with me, how my mind works in terms of organization, and what my needs really are for the space. She came back to tackle the job and that is when my jaw dropped. The woman is a work horse! I’ve never seen someone get so much done in such a short period of time. She made sure I know that I should take a break whenever I needed one, that she knows not everyone works at her speed.

Dudley had a system for taking everything apart and putting it back together again. Never in a thousand years, would I have been able to get through everything she did on my own, never! What I was missing was a system for getting organized and also staying organized. I was so overwhelmed by all of it that I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. What Dudley does is she customizes systems for each client, because we often think differently. She clears the forest of clutter that doesn’t need to be there, so the remaining trees can thrive.

Dudley showed me how to handle things as they came in, in a way that wasn’t overwhelming when I got really busy. Sharing your mess with her was a vulnerable experience but one void of any judgement. She was there to educate, empower and help me, and she did.

By the time she was done, I had a clean, organized office that was set up for efficiency. It was my fantasy office. There is even a space for my six-pound assistant. He has his own little space next to my desk where he loves to hide out and enjoy his bones.

The true test of my new organized office came in the following weeks. Could I really keep it organized using what Dudley taught me? Well, I did and without much effort. The tools I was missing before she provided for me. Now I have a system.

You can learn more about Natalie Webster and her adventures in the Lake Minnetonka area at WebsterEffect.com.

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