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HomeHomes
Published: Wednesday, 6/20/2001

Expert helps cut the clutter

BY RHONDA B. SEWELL
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Deniece Schofield wants to help you get your house in order.

And Mrs. Schofield, an author, lecturer, and home-management consultant, says you don't need lots of money or an advanced degree to get organized.

“The key is to simplify your life and you have to have the desire if you're ever going to be organized,” said Mrs. Schofield, who is scheduled to lead “Getting Organized” seminars Monday and Tuesday in Toledo.

Mrs. Schofield, a frequent guest on HGTV shows, is the author of the books, Confessions of an Organized Homemaker, Escape From the Kitchen, and Confessions of a Happily Organized Family. Her approach to getting organized appears to be realistic. She said she's no perfectionist. In fact, she admits to once being utterly disorganized herself, and is a candid critic of all tips on organization that are beyond most people's reach.

Mrs. Schofield, a frequent guest on HGTV shows, is the author of the books, Confessions of an Organized Homemaker, Escape From the Kitchen, and Confessions of a Happily Organized Family. Mrs. Schofield, a frequent guest on HGTV shows, is the author of the books, Confessions of an Organized Homemaker, Escape From the Kitchen, and Confessions of a Happily Organized Family.
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“I get pretty agitated when I read books and articles on getting organized at home. Some experts seem to think we're all wealthy enough to be listed with Dun & Bradstreet or that we have the architectural skills of Frank Lloyd Wright,” she writes in Confessions of a Happily Organized Family.

Mrs. Schofield says her own lack of organization led her into a career involving order and managing clutter.

“I was terrible as a kid, I was so disorganized. And I hit bottom when the first of my kids were ages 4, 2, and I had a year-old baby,” she says. “I had to do something, but I was so discouraged. I didn't have any methods then on getting organized. I was just running around my home not accomplishing anything.”

She says her disorganization included clothes she forgot to fold in the dryer, dirty dishes left in the sink, a minefield of Barbie dolls throughout the house, and magazines piled up that never got read. She became more frustrated because she didn't have an organizing system.

“It gives me a headache to think about how it was back then,” says Mrs. Schofield, who, with the encouragement of her husband Jim, wrote her first book, Confessions of an Organized Housewife, in 1982. (She revised and updated the book in 1994, which included a title change to use the more modern term “homemaker” instead of “housewife.”)

So what led to her to get organized?

“I made a list of everything that needed to be done around the house on two notebook pages. I got all that stuff out of my head and put the pressure on paper,” says Mrs. Schofield, who still advises this simple method in her books and lectures. “Then you take one thing on the list and do it. Even if it takes you six months, be determined to get it done, and then you can gradually move on to the other items on your list.”

After you've begun to complete items on your list, Mrs. Schofield suggests developing work around the house into habits and creating a schedule for when tasks such as laundry are to be completed.

“Before I got organized, my laundry was always in a state of being done,” she says. “So I set up a schedule - I would only do laundry on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and Saturday was optional.”

She says it took almost two months before her system developed into a habit, but it worked and the laundry was finished.

“The key is to trust yourself and try things out until they work for your lifestyle,” she says.

Putting items back where they belong, posting activity schedules, throwing away unused items or giving them to charity, labeling drawers, and prioritizing chores are simple steps to home organization, Mrs. Schofield says.

Getting your home organized can lead to a more productive and healthier life, she says. “Having a disorganized home can negatively affect your relationships, the atmosphere in the house, your performance at work, your disposition, and your stress level.”

“My mother was June Cleaver, but we don't have time to be that way any more,” says Mrs. Schofield. “Still, why make your home cause you stress? Get it organized.”

Deniece Schofield will hold “Getting Organized” seminars at 7-9 p.m. Monday and 10 a.m.-noon and 7-9 p.m. Tuesday at the Quality Inn Conference Center, 2429 South Reynolds Rd. No reservations are required. Cost is $20 at the door. For more information, call (800) 835-8463 or visit the Web site www.DenieceSchofield.com



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