Imagine never having to look for car keys, cellphone, gloves. Being organized does that. It saves you time, makes life simpler, powers your day.
Professional organizer Jamie Shaner helps people declutter their lives. She tackles paper piles and tosses food-storage containers. Her business – Home Solutions of WNY – offers seminars, consultations and house calls to rescue those drowning in their own possessions.
Shaner wasn’t always so organized. The former accountant said she gets her organizational ways from her husband, Dick Shaner Jr., an advertising executive. Shaner, who is 58, lives in Williamsville with her husband. They have two grown sons.
People Talk: What is being organized all about?
Jamie Shaner: Finding what you want and where you want it. It’s different for everyone.
PT: How organized are you?
JS: Very, but I’m not obsessive compulsive. People ask me if my house is perfect. Well, no. We live in it. It’s not perfect but I can find what I want when I want it.
PT: Were you organized as a kid?
JS: No. I learned the benefits of truly being organized by marrying an organized person.
PT: As an organized person, when are you at your best?
JS: Running the household. I was an accountant before I was an organizer so I’m the person who pays the bills and manages the budget. I have a file cabinet. One drawer is for our rental property. Two drawers are for running my business.
PT: How do you avoid too many food storage containers?
JS: It’s all about need. You only need to store so much food at one time. Even if you host Thanksgiving dinner and send food home with everyone, you won’t need as many containers as you probably have. Get some nesting pieces. A couple of shelves in a small cupboard should handle it.
PT: What’s the next organizing trend?
JS: Young families who want less. I’ve worked with three families with young children recently who made the conscious decision to stop acquiring. Everything they wanted to get rid of, they didn’t want to sell it or consign it. They just wanted to donate it. They were done with excess.
PT: How much does your purse weigh?
JS: Is 5 pounds a lot? I got a small canvas bag I keep in the car for my store coupons, grocery coupons, sewing kit, tape measure.
PT: How many store bonus tags do you have on your key chain?
JS: I don’t. They’re arranged alphabetically in an organizer in the canvas bag. The only one I keep with me is from the supermarket.
PT: How important is time management?
JS: Very. Here’s an example. A stay-at-home mom had trouble managing her time. Her husband would get home from work and be frustrated to see the shower towels still on the floor, and the beds not made. She said the day got away from her. The solution is simple. Before you do anything else, you pick up the towels and make the bed, and then you start the day.
PT: How do you get your husband to pick up his towels?
JS: You pick and choose your battles. How do you get your boys to put the toilet seat down? I could do it, or I could find them and tell them to do it. How much energy do I want to use? Is it worth the battle?
PT: What can’t people get when it comes to organizing?
JS: Processing mail. The thing with mail is it comes everyday. Most people at the end of the day kick back and enjoy mindless TV. Grab a pile of mail.
PT: What are some chronic organizing problems?
JS: Misplaced bills that result in late fees. People who shop for Christmas throughout the year and forget they did. Linen closets. How many sets of sheets do you need per bed? Unless you have small children who wet the bed, two sets of sheets per bed should be enough.