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Closet Dreams

From Baltimore Magazine Home Gardening Guide, May 2003

Getting your home better organized can help reduce stress and save space.

By Christianna McCausland

You have your day programmed to the minute in your Palm Pilot, your kids’ lunches packed the night before each school day, and your office outfits selected five days in advance. To the casual observer, you seem so organized. But admit it. You have a few dirty little secrets. That one closet is so crammed with abandoned clothes you’re afraid to open the door. There’s that perilous stack of paint cans in the corner of your unnavigable garage, just in case you decide to revisit the color scheme you had in the bathroom in 1985. And then, of course, there’s the basement, a nightmarish labyrinth of discarded furniture, toys, hurricane lamps, canned food, and unused exercise machines who purchase probably helped us all avoid recession in the 80s.

The truth is time-stressed Americans are becoming disorganized. And because it’s often easier to buy a new widget instead of going through the basement to find your old one, it’s getting worse.

“We are messiest wherever the public won’t see it,” says Sherry Sansing, owner of a Baltimore franchise of California Closets. “If you can shut a door on it—the garage, the pantry, the basement or a closet—it’s probably messy.”

One of the many schools of organizational thought is the Feng Shui method, a system for arranging one’s surroundings in harmony and balance based on a 5,000-year-old Chinese philosophy. Part spirituality, part organizational therapy, Feng Shui is experiencing continued popularity.

“In Feng Shui, clutter is seen as representing postponed decisions and an inability to move on,” says Carol Olmstead, a certified Feng Shui practitioner and owner of Feng Shui For Real Life. “I tell my clients, ‘Nothing good comes into your life if you don’t make room for it.’” Feng Shui is not about slapping a few mirrors on the wall, buying some faux Asian artifacts and adhering to Eastern religious practices. Olmstead explains that using a Bagua (a chart used to map areas of the home or office to determine where objects should be located) she can assess an area and translate the ancient philosophy into contemporary tips that use your common household items. Her tips include purging spaces of clutter and properly using good storage space.

If you need serious help to get organized, here are some resources;
National Association for Professional Organizers, 770-325-3440
The Maryland Association of Professional Organizers, 44-838-5078
The National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization

© Copyright 2024, Carol Olmstead