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Terri Stephens

Terri Stephens, CPO, CRTS

Certified Professional Organizer®
Certified Relocation & Transition Specialist®




(678) 513-6585

Ways We Can Help
When Grief and Organizing Intersect
Clearing Out a House after a Passing
Negative Emotions that Keep Us Stuck

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You can save money. You'll know what you already own, eliminating the need to buy duplicate items. A professional organizer can help you find the perfect organizing products for your space and lifestyle, so you stop wasting money on things you don't need or won't work.


You can become more productive and efficient. A professional organizer can create order and structure out of chaos. You'll receive systems that work for your dominant learning style, your lifestyle, your needs, your challenges, and your dreams.


You'll have a positive self-image and ditch the shame. Once your home or office is neat and tidy, you won't feel embarrassed to have guests visit. The guilt will fade away as you take pride in your surroundings.


You'll have a healthier environment. Physical and emotional clutter obscures your surroundings. An organized home and office is more easily cleaned. Lose the clutter and cut down on time spent moving piles of paper and stuff around.


Your stress level will decrease dramatically. When you can find what you need, are on top of your to-dos, and arrive on time, you'll feel calmer and have more peace of mind. No more feeling overwhelmed by life -- you'll be the one in control.


You'll discover more time for yourself. When you're organized, your days go as planned, and you get a lot more done. That leaves more time to indulge in a little "me time."


Your energy will shine. Clutter is a mask and a professional organizer can help you take off that mask. Once the clutter is removed, you can showcase your talents, skills, and personality and have the life you deserve.




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Faithful Organizers



"Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go but rather learning to start over." 

~ Nicole Sobon



December 2012



The holiday season can be a challenging, and sometimes sad, time of the year for many people. As a professional organizer, I've been behind closed doors in countless homes and have witnessed it firsthand. High expectations, family drama, exhaustion, money concerns, and even grief can cloud what should be a happy time. This month's newsletter focuses on taking steps to begin to let go and move on, especially when life has thrown you some blows and your emotions have you feeling stuck.


If you're reading this and can relate, my prayer is that God's healing presence and grace would surround and comfort you, especially during this holiday season. 


Until next time,  


Terri Signature




Terri Stephens, CPO, CRTS

Real Order Professional Organizing, LLC
(678) 513-6585



CompassionAs a professional organizer, there are times when we encounter people who are coping with devastating loss and grief. The loss may include divorce, family illness or miscarriage, or death of a loved one or pet. Sometimes it's the loss of physical abilities due to illness, accident, or old age. Or it could be the loss of security from losing a job or home due to a natural disaster, as so many have experienced with Super Storm Sandy.


So what can a professional organizer do to help grieving clients get their house and lives in order? First and foremost, a trained professional is sensitive to the stages of grief: Denial and isolation, anger and blaming, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. However, even if the loss occurred many years ago, sorting through the physical possessions can still trigger strong emotions.


While never easy, keep reading for some ideas and strategies that can make this process a little less painful.



There's no right or wrong time to tackle this difficult, often paralyzing, project after a loved one or friend has passed away. Some people let the house sit for years, while others are able to purge the belongings quickly, almost as a form of therapy.


Whatever the timing, the best approach to this sensitive situation is to tackle one room at a time. For most people, it's wise to focus on the less emotional spaces like the kitchen and main living areas first, move on to the storage areas of the home, and then tackle personal areas such as the bedroom and bath.


Separate out the trash and donations and remove those from the house first. If there are multiple family members, they may want to split the remaining items in the home. A simple method is to put post-it notes on the furniture or possessions each person is interested in. Of course, if more than one person wants an item that will have to be worked out amongst the family. For items of high value, an appraisal can ensure that family members are treated equally and there are no hard feelings.


Another option for clearing out a house is an estate sale, operated by dealers who will organize the sale and hold it in the home. However, to make it worthwhile, there must be a good deal of high quality items to sell. Some estate sale companies offer a "clean sweep" sale, where they put out everything in the house for sale, even jars of old nails, old tools, canned goods, etc. If an estate sale is a consideration, don't donate anything, as even the smallest items could bring in a few dollars. Dealers take a percentage of the total proceeds as a commission, usually around 50 percent. Any items remaining at the end of the sale are usually donated, the house is swept clean, and is totally cleared out. In my experience, estate sale professionals work very hard and are worth their weight in gold!



Compassion Wordle


Without doubt, negative emotions contribute to emotional clutter - those self-defeating thoughts and feelings that keep us from reaching our highest potential in life. Emotions such as guilt, depression, self-doubt, worry, unforgiveness, and toxic people can clutter our psyche and suck the life out of us. Here are some quick tips about letting go and opening up to a whole new world of happiness and possibilities:


Consciously choose your relationships and take the time to nurture those that are open, relaxed and natural. Let go or limit time with difficult people who are takers, who suck up your time and energy with negativity, stress and guilt.


Remember that you teach people how to treat you - stand up for yourself and use direct, non-confrontational language when someone is disrespectful, unkind or abusive.


Replace guilt with self-acceptance by taking responsibility for your mistakes and making amends, whenever possible. Learn to forgive yourself.


Resist thinking negative thoughts about yourself and your abilities - boost self-esteem by listing all your good qualities and being thankful for the gifts you were given.


Take positive steps and persevere in accomplishing your goals. Even small steps in the right direction can have a powerful influence on your emotions.


Worry is a state of indecision. Seek solutions and take constructive action as soon as possible.


When you feel upset, practice a simple stress management technique - go for a walk, breathe deeply, and concentrate on something pleasant.


Instead of mentally replaying your hurt, seek out positive ways to get what you want. Learn to look for the love, beauty and kindness around you.


Laugh every day and recognize daily blessings to replace worry with optimism and gratitude. Look to God for guidance and wisdom.



DiningMost of us recommend restaurants, movies or mechanics to our family and friends. When you recommend Real Order for professional organizing, we want to thank you with a $25 gift card to Red Lobster or Olive Garden - it's your choice. A minimum of four hours of organizing services must be purchased to qualify. To redeem your gift card, simply notify us of the family or friend you are referring to us. Bon appetit!


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