My Professional Organizer

1398209847A place for everything and everything in its place.

It is a good rule, but not one we follow.

Our rule goes more like this: multiple places for everything and anything might be in any one of them.

For instance, take something as simple as a screw driver. It might be hanging on the peg board in my shed, or it could be tucked in the kitchen junk drawer, or perhaps resting on a window ledge near where I used it to repair the garage door.

Whenever I am missing a screwdriver, I check these places.

Whenever I can’t find it there, I ask my wife. If she does not know where it is, I accuse her of losing it. If her denials seem credible, I accuse the cats.

They have been known to bat things down the heat registers.

If none of these avenues yield a screwdriver, I purchase another set. I figure sooner or later, by shear volume, one is bound to turn up.

This strategy is actually the best and beats the ‘everything in its place approach’, at least for screwdrivers.

Pliers are a different story.

I can never find a pair of pliers now matter how hard I look and no matter how many pairs I purchase. There is something about pliers that refuse to be found.

“We need to get organized,” I told my wife shortly after accusing her of losing my pliers.

“You need to get organized,” she told me after I had lost the pliers she bought me earlier in the day.

“We are hopeless,” we both admitted to each other.

By recognizing we are hopeless, we took the first step to recovery. By admitting we couldn’t do it alone and required a higher power, we took the second step, so we hired a professional organizer.

Her name was Cheryl.

Cheryl is an amazing lady who has always been a mystery to me. Her work is in high demand, but you have to wonder how she makes any money – because from all appearances, the bulk of her work goes to charity.

She donates most of her organizational services to worthy causes, primarily at the silent auctions that are popular in the Almost Iowa area.

So at a fundraiser, we won a bid on her services and Cheryl showed up on a Monday.

“This is going to take until Wednesday,” she told me.

“Is that going to cost extra?” I asked, suspecting that I just discovered how she makes her money.

“Not at all,” she said. “It is all for charity.”


“If you feel that I have put in extra work, write another check for the fundraiser.”

Wow! That was sweet.

So Cheryl got to work. She found all my screwdrivers and stored them back on the pegboard and added labels so that I would know where each one goes. She also located the pliers, the can opener and a vacuum cleaner.

She found six garage door openers, four pairs of my reading glasses and the lawn mower that I have been looking for since we moved in.

Stan had that and Cheryl ferreted it out.

All in all, we were thrilled with Cheryl’s work.

Until I couldn’t find my power drill.

I looked everywhere. I checked the workbench in the shed, the junk drawer, the window ledge in the garage, my bed side dresser, the basement shelves and Scooter’s pen.

When I asked my wife where it was, she just shrugged and said, “I don’t know, call Cheryl.”

So I called Cheryl.

“It is in the bottom big drawer of your tool cabinet,” she said.

“Thanks,” I told her.

“This is the fourth time this week you have called me.”

“I know,” I said, rather sheepishly.

“Call me anytime. It is all part of my service,” she said.

“Thanks,” I repeated.

“But that part of my service is billed separately.”

Suddenly, I realized how she made her money.

Author: Almost Iowa

55 thoughts on “My Professional Organizer”

  1. Funny story! Reminds me of the time hubby was on a ladder in the kitchen. He climbed down and started YELLING at the kids and me, “Where is my tape measure?!! We all denied even seeing his tape measure. He huffed and gruffed awhile and climbed back on his ladder, only to find his stolen tape measure. We have never ever let him live that down. These Iowa carpenters sure are cranky. Thanks for the giggle.

  2. This one made me laugh out loud, Greg! I’m a pretty organized person, and now I’m thinking that maybe I should look into a career in that field….

    1. While I respect organized people and admire those who make a living doing it professionally, I question its value. I mean……you can’t organize inherently disorganized people. The best you can do is more efficiently organize, the already organized. Everyone else is hopeless. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  3. Cute story. I know a couple of women who claim to be professional organizers, but I dunno that they are doing anything more than finding a way to use their OCD for profit. How they make their money, I couldn’t say– but I like your take on it.

    1. OCD for profit

      Is nothing more than a factory assembly line. When I worked in the foundry, I watched people who were full-blown OCD pump out molds like no one’s business. They were in heaven.

  4. Cheryl got you! Usually if you accuse someone loudly and demand your item back, it appears just before you come to blows over the accusation.

    1. That might work with others, but I once watched Cheryl toss a full grown Hereford into a cattle trailer. I resolved never to get on her bad side.

  5. Spoons. In our house spoons of all shapes and sizes walk and hide. The kids believed we had a spoon monster lurking. Spoons vanish. Everything else is my fault.

  6. Hahaha! Great ending. You crack me up!!😂😂😂
    Hubby seems to think I’m Cheryl. I’m starting to wise up and pretend I know nothink!

  7. LOL the ending… brilliant. Way to go, Cheryl! Although we might need someone like that pretty soon. The junk drawer is always the first place I check for lost stuff, but that just seems to be the vortex into the void. There are many things I toss in there that I never see again!

    1. Everything that goes into the junk drawer passes through a singularity from which there is no return. Physicists talk about this in reference to black holes, but where do you think they got the idea?

  8. So funny! For us, it’s hammers. I also figured that if we’ve bought 40 hammers over the years, they would stop getting lost. Everywhere we look, there should be a hammer, right? No such luck. I have one hidden in my gardening supplies for my personal use. My husband is out of luck.

    1. I have one hidden in my gardening supplies for my personal use.

      Perhaps you have opened the door into one of life’s great mysteries. Could it be that the disappearance of our stuff is the result of us hiding things from one another – and by chance, hiding them on ourselves?

      Now where did I hide the pliers?

  9. Time to go back to: “multiple places for everything and anything might be in any one of them.”

    Add-on business is how consultants survive in the wild. It used to be my specialty.

    1. I once worked for a major construction company and could not figure out how they made their money. Their bids came in at less than 1% profit, when the cost of money was 4%.

      One day, I asked, “How do you do it?”

      The answer came back quickly, “Change requests.”

  10. Peggy and I keep buying new storage sheds. Then there is the sunroom and the pole barn we have added to our property. This is not the answer to losing things. Final line to Lego Movie 2 that we watched with our grandkids on Tuesday: “Honey, where are my pants?” –Curt

  11. Oh, man, I love Cheryl.

    In our house, whenever Randy can’t find something, he will ask me. For example, he was looking for the extra garden hose the other day so he could climb the steep roof to try and melt ice dams with hot water. After poking around in his mess of a garage, I suggested that perhaps the hose was located above in the rafters storage section. Yup, I was right.

    I only wish I’d hidden the ladder in a snowbank given, when he placed it on the house and began his climb, it slipped from under him. I am thankful I did not witness that event. I just hope it scared him enough to take all OSHA approved steps to ensure his safety next time. I know there will be a next time. He is stubborn.

    1. Does this conversation sound familiar?

      “Do you know where my pliers is?”
      “Sure, it is on the living room table where you left it.”
      “I knew that….”
      “Then why did you ask?”
      “Habit, I guess.”

  12. I told my husband that I need a secretary (AKA organizer) or an extra room. I got “the eye,” but he’s as bad as I am. He brings things home “to fix” then recycle. Four extra office desk chairs here right now!

    1. I know exactly where he is coming from. I am not sure, but I think I have a couple of old VW bugs in my shed. One day, I will get to working on them….I mean, if I really have them. They could be in the junk drawer. We have a big junk drawer.

  13. If it only were a matter of losing things inside the house, that would be one thing. But if someone who works at various job sites suddenly finds herself missing a scraper (screwdriver, sanding block, can of acetone), it might pose a challenge even to Cheryl. Most of the time, I can visualize my way back to what’s missing, but there have been a few times over the years when I’ve gotten a cheerful call from a customer who knows me really well, asking, “Have you been missing a Pro-prep scraper?”

    1. About three months after our contractor hired a crew to frame our addition, I found a battery charging set with three batteries behind a sheet of plywood in my shed. I called the contractor and got the phone number of the crew leader.

      “Man, I have been looking for that thing for a couple of weeks,” he said.

      Couple of weeks?

    1. We have lost larger and more vital things than vacuum cleaners and lawn mowers; it is when we lost the back porch that we knew we had to contact Cheryl.

  14. Timely post. I was just corresponding with a person about an antique quilt and went to her website where she sells her professional organization services. She charges $30-40 per hour depending upon how many hours you sign up for. You better label and store that drill so you can find it the next time without calling Cheryl. 🙂

    1. I’m a techie, so I am thinking of developing a phone app that would find your stuff. The only problem is, I keep losing my phone. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  15. I couldn’t afford Cheryl…I agree with buying more of everything, though. I have at least three of most things; One is broken , one is loaned out and I can’t find the other one.

  16. It sounds like Cheryl will be able to retire early with you as a customer.
    That being said, I am uber organized and know where everything is at any given time. My husband loses everything, everyday. Tools? Forget about it, they’ve been swallowed by the abyss. Which is why I have my own girlie toolbox he is not allowed to touch. I always have pliers.

    1. Which is why I have my own girlie toolbox

      My wife has a pink paisley set of tools that I never touch. Whoever came up with that idea was a genius.

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