Organizers to share how to clear out the junk

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While you're waiting for the tea kettle to whistle, straighten up a kitchen junk drawer or wipe off a shelf in the fridge.

If you're watching a show on television, sort a shelf of the kids' picture books or gather up some loose toys and contain them in a bin.

Making use of small blocks of free time is one way to bring a little order to your life, say members of a panel who specialize in organization.

Just in time for spring and the seasonal cleaning that often accompanies it, Cranberry Public Library is hosting an Ask the Organizer panel of professional organizers at 1 p.m. Saturday.

"It seems like a very timely topic," said Pat DiFiore, head of adult services for the library and coordinator of the upcoming panel discussion. She's expecting a good turnout.

Registration for the free program at the library, 2525 Rochester Road, can be made at 724-776-9100.

From how to downsize an empty nest and the best way to corral stacks of photos to choosing which papers to keep and which to toss, the potential questions for the panel of experts on organization and time management are innumerable.

Dorothy Clear of Conway, a professional organizer and owner of Clear Organization, said she finds many people need help "clearing away the clutter and finding the right organizing system" at home and at work.

"My tagline is 'simplify your surroundings,' " said Ms. Clear, marketing director for the Pittsburgh chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers, who will be one of the panelists for the upcoming program.

Joining her will be Marcia Semper, owner of Semper Organizing Solutions, or SOS, of Gibsonia; Sandra Lane, owner of Organization Lane LLC of Sewickley; and Connie Fortune, owner of Fortunately Organized of Indiana Township. The moderator will be Susan Lieber, owner of Leave it to Lieber LLC of Fox Chapel.

Ms. Clear noted that just about everyone can use a few tips to become more organized -- young couples who both work and who have children and just can't seem to keep the house in order; older adults who have raised their children and who have 'inherited' items from their parents and from their kids; people who are very well-organized in most of the house but who can't seem to tackle the basement or the attic; and those with health issues, physical or emotional, who hoard or who have waited so long to get organized that they're overwhelmed.

Among the biggest reasons to be organized, Ms. Clear contends, is this:

"It saves you time and it saves you money. You're not buying duplicate items because you can lay your hands easily on what you have."

She said she has seen an upswing in interest among seniors who are downsizing. "Empty nesters are moving into retirement communities and they need to decide what to keep and what to part with."

Ms. Fortune said she believes the single biggest benefit to confronting your particular organization "issue" is peace of mind.

"There's a priceless calming effect with finally tackling that issue that's been bothering you," she said.

A professional organizer for 10 years, Ms. Fortune said she's a convert who knows what it is to live in a disorganized way.

"I was messy in my youth. But, I turned it around and my life is so much easier," she said.

For those who can't attend the Cranberry program, Northland Public Library, 300 Cumberland Road, McCandless, will host a panel of other professional organizers in a program at 7 p.m. April 25.

neigh_north

Karen Kane: kkane@post-gazette.com or 724-772-9180.


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