Thursday, May 29, 2014 in Stories
I thought I’d begin with the story of how I got into the field of organizing. It started when I was very young. My mom told me the tale of my first day in Sunday School. At the time, I was probably about 2 or 3 years old. When she came by to pick me up after the service, the teacher took her aside and remarked, “Mrs. Massena, you must keep a very clean house.” Mom thought, “Uh-oh, what’s she been up to?” The teacher continued, “Adele went around the room, methodically collecting all the dust bunnies to give to me.”
Well, that doesn’t happen anymore. Augustus The Cat produces fur bunnies on a daily basis; I can’t keep up with him. I do keep an organized home, but I vacuum for company. Recently, I saw a quote I liked on Facebook (where I seem to get most of my information these days): “If you want to see me, come any time. If you want to see my house, give me two weeks’ notice.” Sound advice.
Back to my childhood. My room was very orderly; my bed was always made. In my closet, my clothes were lined up in a specific order. Tops progressed from sleeveless through short-sleeved to long-sleeved, with each type in rainbow order. Ditto for skirts, dresses, shorts, and pants. My toys were also kept neat. Barbie™ was an immaculate housekeeper, even when wearing her sparkly black evening gown. My mother may have had to remind me to complete my chores, but she never had to tell me to tidy up.
In high school, I joined the Library Club. I was in organizer heaven. All those volumes in numerical order according to the divinely inspired Dewey Decimal System! And the novels were, of course, in alphabetical order by author surname. It was hardly surprising that my first paying job, aside from babysitting, was in the school’s newly built Library & Resource Centre, reshelving the entire collection along with my friend Nancy. It took us only six days; Mr. Everingham had chosen his two assistants well.
Later, while at teachers college, I took a part-time job at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Library Science Library, located at the northern end of the appropriately nicknamed “Fort Book.” I also studied School Librarianship, eventually earning my Specialist certification through additional in-service courses at York University and Queen’s University. Again, I worked at a library to help pay my tuition. The difference was that the Education Library at Queen’s used Library of Congress Classification. I enjoyed my work, but I will never become a fan of LCC creator Herbert Putnam. To quote Wikipedia, “LCC has been criticized for lacking a sound theoretical basis.” Indeed.
Fast-forward to 2011. After many years teaching adults (and organizing the textbooks in the stock rooms), I was laid off due to declining enrolment at the private learning centre where I was working. As a result, I decided to consider a different career. Television shows such as Neat, Clean Sweep, Hoarders, and Hoarding: Buried Alive, had always appealed to me. I thought, “I can do that!” So I surfed the Internet, discovered the Professional Organizers in Canada, practiced on my Dear Ole Dad, and in due time, Arrange My Place came to be. I had found the job I was born to do.