Professional Organizer Tips – Interview with Peter Walsh

Hey Collectors, and Professional Organizers!

It’s GET ORGANIZED Month! And in spirit of being a Professional Organizer I wanted to share this blog post from the past. I interviewed Peter Walsh in the beginning of my career and STILL find his advice helpful! Here’s the scoop:

You may have seen this handsome Australian American on the TLC hit show “Extreme Clutter”, or heard his enchanting voice on the radio. He is a compassionate helper, an amazing organizer and absolutely the kindest for allowing me to interview him on our blog. Folks, let’s get a round of applause for Peter Walsh!

Peter Walsh

Rachel:  At this moment in time, who would you most like to get (free) advice from and why?

Peter: Hmm – great question! I’d like to get free advice from any social media guru and I’m sure there are things in that domain that I could be doing more effectively.

Rachel:  Define success and name a few people you think are successful.

Peter: I think that many people forego success and happiness because when it arrives it doesn’t look the way they expected it to look. I think success has to be defined as being firmly in the present with a balanced and reasonable set of expectations. From this perspective, then, success is something that is first achieved internally and not assessed by external criteria. So, for me, another person’s success is determined by them, not by me.

Rachel: I’m a new business owner trying to grow my organizing business. What are 3 things you wish you’d done differently when you first started your organizing business?

Peter: I wish I’d spoken with more professional organizers to get some broader perspectives on the profession. I wish I’d embraced social media earlier and more aggressively.

I wish I’d realized that 20% of a job usually takes 80% of the effort.

Rachel: By my standards you are a very successful person; a brand. Would you share some of the types of support you have in place to keep the Peter Walsh brand going strong?

Peter: Sure – I have a very clear vision for my brand, what it is, what it represents and how it presents itself. I call this ‘brand intention’. I don’t do anything that doesn’t align with that. I answer every email that comes to me myself. I delegate wherever possible. I make every effort to work with and to employ people who are much smarter than I am.

As well as his work on TV he has written a few best-selling books about clutter and organization. His first (and favorite) is “It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff”. He is now also designing some cool organizational products and hosting a national radio program. This all keeps him busy when he is not travelling or helping people turn their clutter and chaos into calm.

Peter Walsh And 10 Tips To Declutter Your Home!

How to Keep Your House Clutter-Free

Tackle messes one room at a time.

When you buy something new, practice the “in-out rule:” For every one new item, get rid of an old one.

Create intimacy in the master bedroom. Remember that improvements in one room can spread to the rest of the house.

Make cleaning up fun for your kids.

Create a vision for the room you’re cleaning.

Teach your kids how to sort.

Use a hanger system to determine which clothes you wear most.

Ask yourself if you really need something. If you hesitate, you don’t.

Establish a “magic triangle” in your kitchen between the stove, refrigerator and the sink. Keep the items you use most in that area.

Identify useful utensils with the cardboard box test.

This information was featured on the Oprah show.

Are you interested in becoming a professional organizer? Not sure where to begin?
Rachel Seavey offers experienced business coaching that will help fast track your career into the world of becoming a professional organizer. Email Rachel directly at, or for more information and rates check out our SHOP page.

Self care during the holidays

Hey Collectors! Many times when I work with people they do not have good self- care. They beat themselves up over their clutter or disorganization. They may become anxious or depressed and let self-care slide.

The holidays can be very stressful, so now is a great time to implement a self-care routine if you don’t already have one. Especially if you get anxious or overwhelmed or upset during the holidays, now is the time to be gentle with yourself.

When we take care of ourselves, we are less likely to fill our lives up with things or feel the need to fill a void through shopping. When we love and are good to ourselves, we want to declutter and have our place feel good. When we take care of ourselves, we will make our doctor appointments or see our therapist.

I am a fan of having a plan in place. I would suggest that you write down all the ways you can take care of yourself. Take it a step further and write it down on your to do list or on your calendar.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be huge. I think a lot of times we think we need to go spend a day at the spa or spend lots of money to make self-care count. We don’t. Sometimes it is the little things that can really have an impact.

Here are some of my favorite ways to take care of myself during the Holidays or any time of the year!

1. Get a massage. Low on cash? See if there is a school in your area where students need people to practice on.

2. Take a walk. Being outdoors can really rejuvenate your spirits.

3. Take a hot bubble bath. A good soak is good for the soul.

4. Be silly. Whether you do a silly walk, make silly faces or act silly with a friend, lighten your mental worry with silliness.

5. Share your smile. Sometimes sharing your smile with someone can make a huge difference in their day. It also makes you feel good.

6. Shake it off. Get up and dance. Get your heart rate up and boogie.

7. Name all the things you love about yourself. If you get stuck, ask a good friend or family member to tell you what they love about you.

8. Eat a healthy meal. Get a yummy chopped salad or salmon and broccoli. When we fuel our body with the good stuff we can see it.

9. Help someone. When we help others, we feel good about ourselves. We realize we do have things to offer to people.

10. Read a book about something that interests you or you have always wanted to know about.

There are many ways to get self-care and this is one small list to get you started. Write down all the things you would like to do.

What are your favorite tips for having good self care during the holidays? What are your biggest challenges for taking care of yourself? Share in the comments below.

Are you too overwhelmed with clutter to have take carae of yourself? Would you like caring, compassionate professionals help you declutter and get organized? Do you need to spend less time on clutter and more time on you? Collector Care can help you whether you are a hoarder that needs a complete overhaul or you simply need a few rooms organized.

Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email to schedule your free 30-minute consultation and learn about how we can help you!

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How to help your loved one who hoards

Hey Collectors! When we work with clients, many times we also work with their families, whether it is a spouse, child or parent. When someone you love hoards, it can be incredibly frustrating. You love the person but you also might be going a bit insane trying to help them clear their clutter.

It doesn’t have to be a family member; it could be someone you are dating, a friend or a neighbor. You are most likely concerned about their safety and what you can do to help them. I know you are coming from a place of concern and you want them to be healthy and happy.

home of a hoarder

Here are five tips to on how you can help someone you love that is a hoarder:

  1. Be non-judgmental. Instead of verbally attacking or ridiculing the person, try and understand what they are going through. Are they battling depression? Physically incapable? Try and understand why they are having a hard time.

  2. Suggest therapy. A lot of the reasons why people hoard and hang onto things are because they have been through something traumatic. When they are able to release the trauma and emotions, it will be easier to let the physical clutter go.

  3. Hire a professional organizer. By hiring a professional organizer, you have a non-objective party. Your loved one feels like they have a fair chance to explain their side and express their concerns.

  4. Offer to help. If your friend is disabled or elderly, perhaps they need help picking up garbage and taking out the trash or help with laundry. Try and find some simple tasks that you can do to help on a regular basis.

  5. Listen. Perhaps you are only hearing a defensive response to your judgmental calm. By listening to why this person feels the way they do and why they are in the place they are, will help you better serve them. A lot of times we plan what to say next, or talk over someone because we are frustrated. Try and listen.

Rachel Seavey Owner of Collector Care Professional Organizers

I also wanted to include five things NOT to do to your hoarder. If you do any of these things, most likely they will continue to hoard, and possibly shut you out of their life.

  1. Judge. You might think your friend is gross, out of their mind, etc. You don’t have to share that because it isn’t helpful. They are already going through a hard time. Tough love does not help a hoarder.

  2. Arranging a clean up while they are away. Unfortunately, I hear this story all of the time. This only makes the person resentful, angry and more likely to hoard more to replace what you tossed and maybe a bit for spite. A client shared that being cleaned out while she was in the hospital was one of the worst things she ever felt. She compared it to being raped in college and felt absolutely violated.

  3. Throwing away stuff when they aren’t looking. Sure, it’s tempting, but it doesn’t stop their behavior and doesn’t really help. If and when they catch you, you might not be allowed back in.

  4. Call a professional organizer or clean up on their behalf. I know you would like to tell me to go on over to your mother’s house and clean it. I do virtual coaching and advising, but will not, and hopefully no other trained professional will, work with someone who hasn’t personally invited me over. You have to get your loved one on the same page and can’t just arrange help for them. If you do, it makes it awkward for everyone involved.

  5. Call the police. Unless your family or friend is in immediate harm or danger, always allow them to clean out before enforcement is involved. A lot of the times they will be bombarded with fees and fines, and you could force them into bankruptcy.

Is someone you love a hoarder? Have you tried to help but haven’t been able to make any progress? Would you like to know how you could help them once their clutter has been removed? Collector Care can help you work together as a team and reduce your stress.

Call Collector Care at 925.548.7750 or email to schedule your free 30-minute consultation and learn about how we can help you!

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