More than one out of four Americans remarked that they would like to be better organized.
– Agency Sales Magazine
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Frequently Asked Questions

Subject: bill & clutter

August 22, 2006 - I have an ongoing battle with my husband and organizing bills, mail etc. that come into the house on a daily basis. The piles on our counter continue to grow and when I finally get fed up and put it in "his mail pile" he complains that it gets lost and he doesn't see it. Any suggestions?

Bills and Paper Piles are a very common area of struggle.

The next time you sort that stack, place close attention to the categories you're making. I bet they look something like this:

Trash/Recycle: These are ads, coupon fliers & junk mail.
Shred: Multiple credit card offers and other mail that is useless to you but may have personal info in it.
Bills: .... yep, bills go in that category
Mail that needs an action: Coupons you want to save, notices for a concert or event, invitations, solicitations that you choose to be involved in.

Now that you know what is always in the piles, set up a way to handle the mail before it becomes a huge pile. I teach people to sort mail over a recycle bin and next to a shredder. I also encourage people to MAKE A DECISION NOW about those misc. envelopes, catalogs and paper. If you notice when you've been sorting your piles, that you saved a lot of stuff that ended up becoming trash... predict that pattern, and make it trash as soon as it comes into your home. Being afraid to make a decision is the single biggest reason that mail accumulates.

Also, prepare a “home” for the mail that you do always keep...and bring the mail to that home each day.

Make a place that is JUST FOR BILLS. Do not put anything else in that spot or you will defeat the purpose and have to sort through papers (again!) just to find your bills.

Make a place that you keep mail that needs an action. Be ruthless about what you decide to spend your precious time on.

If you save coupons from BednBath or LinensNThings, but can never find them, clear out a spot just for coupons and as soon as the coupon comes, put it there.

People over estimate the time it takes to deal with paper as it comes in. A little time spent on the front end, saves hours of hunting and frustration on the back end. Take the time to decide about the mail, you will thank yourself later.

Of course, there are people who live with what I call "Continents of Paper" on their floors. When it gets that out of control, a professional organizer who has experience with paper management can come in and make order out of the chaos. I understand the fear and frustration that comes with facing that amount of chaos. There are organizers who love to help people who struggle with chronic disorganization, and if you or anyone you know is seriously overwhelmed, that is probably the best route to go. Thanks!

Subject: How does the process work?

January 07, 2007 - How does the process of hiring an organizer start? Do you do a free consultation? I need help and don't know where to start. I'm also embarrassed about having a stranger see my mess! Help?!?

Getting organized by a professional is an investment in your self. Sometimes it’s painful to allow another person to see a weak area that you have. Guess what? I have my own weak areas and am totally able to empathize with the stress that revealing weakness can cause.

But please don’t be embarrassed about our seeing your clutter. Think of this: we love to help people and are not judging you! When we see clutter, we get excited! We help find the root causes of it and we take action with you.

There is not a hint of shame about asking for help. In fact, you’ve made a huge progress step by taking the initiative to ask that question.

A consultation is a home visit, by me, and yes, I do charge for it. I spend an hour with you looking at your home and offering my expertise about how you could reorganize things yourself, or how we would organize for you. It costs my same hourly fee, $100/hour. You end up with a game plan or "blue print" for how to start organizing. I also give you the chance to see our portfolio of before/after photos, and I give you an estimate for the scope of work you are thinking about having us do. The next decision for you would be; do you do it yourself, or will you hire a professional to help you?

If you choose to hire organizethis to organize your home, the consultation fee is deducted off the invoice, and the consultation then becomes free!

During a consultation I look at things like:

1) Where is the main "brain" or office center of the home? The brain area it is a frequently used and very important space that people generally tend to devalue the importance of.
2) Where are papers being placed when the mail comes? How do you file important family papers?
3) What things do you loose track of easily?
4) What happens to the dirty laundry and the cleaned laundry?
5) Where do you put extra food and home goods that don't belong in the kitchen.
6) Is your garage working against you or for you? Is there room in there to bring items that no longer belong in the house, but that you need to save for later?
7) Where are the traffic jams (stacks and stacks of things) and why do they accumulate where they do?

You are on the right track! Remember that your own best thinking got you to the place that you are at, so maybe it is time to hire someone who has the patience and expertise to get you out of that rut and on track again! Happy New Year!

Subject: Kitchen

January 11, 2007 - Are there any products that can be purchased at a local hardware store you'd recommend for kitchen organization?

We use many items from hardware stores as well as Bed,Bath&Beyond, LinensNThings, and The Container Store. Look for organizational products that make use of vertical space and wall space. Our most frequently used items are kitchen cabinet organizers for stacking plates, “stepped” shelf extenders for spices and canned goods, wall organizers for pantry items, plastic bag savers, pull-out drawers for deep pantry shelves, and wall organizers for cleaning supplies. We also install hooks, magnetic boards for message centers, and many other convenience items. REMEMBER the S.P.A.C.E. principle when organizing: (by Julie Morgenstern of Organizing from the Inside Out) Step 1: S Sort (categorize what you are organizing) Step 2: P Purge (get rid of stuff you don’t use) Step 3: A Assign a location (put things back closest to the place that they are used) Step 4: C Containerize (Find the appropriate way to contain what you’re storing) Step 5: E Equalize (maintain what you did)

Subject: Becoming an organizer

March 24, 2007 - Hi Teine - Do you have any info on how I could become an professional organizer? I would love to get into this field. Do you have any advice for me on this and do you need employees? Thanks for your help!

Advice to a Potential Professional Organizer. The organizing profession is surging in popularity right now. People are becoming aware of our industry due to the increased television exposure by shows such as “Clean Sweep” and “Mission Organization”. Experienced Professional Organizers (PO’s) can charge over $75/hour. That high pay level is attracting qualified organizers who are willing to leave a successful career and start out on their own as an Organizer. Unfortunately unqualified, greedy and unskilled people are also attempting to join this prestigious field. For those who are just starting your business, read Get Organized now! The Ultimate Guide for Professional Organizers By: Maria Garcia, she also has many ready-to-use forms to help keep track of your business. Her website is: I hope this will give you some direction. Being a professional organizer requires much more than just being a personally organized person. You need to have emotional & practical skills for working closely with people. You also need to be able to tolerate disorder with out getting angry or uptight. I am always eager to interview a potential organizer. If we do not have a spot open immediately I save your information and call you when we’ve grown and are ready to hire again. You would start off at a training level and then move to your level of skill and competence as quickly as you are qualified. I suggest you visit the website and search the words “become and organizer” to learn even more about this field. Thank you for your interest! Teine (pronounced Dana) Kenney

Subject: Help me conquer my clutter

May 09, 2007 - Hi Teine,
Do you come to Claremont, CA? It's about 35 miles east of L.A. I just started my own business and I can't think because I have so much clutter surrounding me and I don't know where to start. My biggest challenge is paperwork (mail, filing, etc.) & laundry. If you don't come to LA COunty, is there anyone you could recommend?

We do travel to Claremont! (We travel all over the West Coast actually.) If you are not able to pay the slightly increased travel premium, you could find a local organizer by searching your zipcode at the website. Click under "Find an Organizer" and enter your needs into the search engine. Paper and Laundry are such common areas of clutter. Don't feel discouraged, you are not unusual! Not knowing "where to start" is also common. The project is usually so big that it needs to be attacked as a whole, and not in tiny blocks of time that most people have. That's why making the investment to hire an organizing company is so smart! You get liposuction for your clutter! Call me if you need any help! Teine (pronounced Dana) 805-480-9818
Expert: Teine (pronounced Dana) Kenney

Subject: tired of the headaches

May 14, 2007 - im in desperate need of organizing mylife im to young to have this kind of problem.i have never been organized , but its really starting to be a hinderence, i can get organized but have trouble staying organized can you help with that?

You sound like you are suffering from "Chronic Disorganization", which really just means that despite all your attempts to get organized, you can’t, and.... it’s getting worse over time. You would be comforted to know just how much company you have. I believe that the United States is suffering from a silent epidemic of disorganization. People have been afraid to admit that they are confused and overwhelmed by all their stuff. They keep quiet about asking for help because they are embarrassed and also have no idea that professional organizers exist. Of course we can help you! We start with a one-hour consultation, and then go from there with an organizing plan. The first step is a radical, thorough de-cluttering and organizing. The follow up is regular appointments with an organizer who sits one on one with you. If you are interested in learning more about your predicament, visit the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization, NSGCD. They are at You can call me anytime and schedule an organizing consultation as well. Even if you don’t hire us to do your home, you will get a private tutoring session about how best to get yourself organized! Talk to you soon? Teine (pronounced Dana)
Expert: Teine (pronounced Dana) Kenney

Subject: home decluttering

July 02, 2007 - I get buried in paperwork, and that affects the rest of my house - which also needs organization. I'm single and have a 2 BR apt. What kind of time and money am I'm looking at to get some much needed help? I'm home on disability and will be facing another surgery on my right hand, so right now is probably a good time to get help while I'm off work. Ironically, I've always been very organized at work, but get buried at home.

Carol, Sorry about your hand and the upcoming surgery. In one way that's good timing because you have down time to address the paper piles. In another way... you need your hand to sort through your papers! We can help you for sure. Judging paper piles (blind) is not an accurate science. Your piles could be 80% recycle and trash... or 80% important papers that need to be sorted and a file system created to manage them. An office can take 2 days just to sort papers. We design a system that suits YOUR style and your needs. It is a very custom process. The best way to get an estimate is to schedule a home consultation. It is an hour long and costs $100. If you decide to hire us to organize you, the consultation is free. I teach you and give you all sorts of organizing tips during th consult: it is very informative. Our organizers are on average $75/hr. Professional organizing is an investment in your quality of life. Our clients are raving fans because of the profound impact getting organized has on their lives! Good luck with your surgery and call me if you'd like to schedule that consultation. Teine (Dana) Kenney 805-480-9818

Subject: Moving - want to donate furniture

July 03, 2007 - We are moving in exactly days. We have failed to sell a 7 ft. diamater round table and china closet, less than two years old, which cost almost $10,000. They will not fit in new house! We tried to donate them to the Salvation Army, but they keep putting off pickup date, citing "computer failure." Can you direct us to another non-profit which would pick them up? thanks!

Marie Miller

Marie, Isn't that strange that the Salvation Army doesn't take such nice furniture?!? We encounter this a lot and often times just take the furniture in our truck to a place that will accept it as a donation. We have arrangements with the Battered Women's Shelter and the Retarted Citizens Association. We have a large organizing turck that you may have seen driving around. We bring them things that they can not send multiple men to pick up. You get the receipt and then because you took a digital photo of your items and have the original retail value known, you end up with a tax deduction if you itemize your deductions. Donating furniture is MUCH MORE financially beneficial than selling it. You could also call The Consignment Store on Via Colinas in Agoura (near costco) 818-889-1010. They'll need that digital photo sent to them to decide if they can sell your items. Then they pick them up if possible and sell them and give you a portion of the sale price. Call me if you need any help. Teine (dana) Kenney 805-480-9818

Subject: pricing

July 03, 2007 - what do you charge per hour?

I personally charge $100/hour for my services. I am the owner of the business as well as a CPO. (A certified professional organizer.) My company is the premier organizing company in California and one of the leading innovators in the organizing profession. We are certified, insured and bonded and all organizers are covered by workers comp insurance. We specialize in large and difficult jobs where many hours of organizing is required. We also do one-on-one work AFTER a client has had us organize their problem area. Our senior organizers are billed at $85 or $75/hr depending on who you have. We almost always work in teams, it saves you money, so there is an additional team member who is billed at $60/hr. Organizing is a very specialized skill and involves a unique skill set. We are all educated and proficient in the psychology of getting organized as well as the intimate and personal nature of touching a "strangers" possessions. You really don't want just anyone touching your things, you need to bond and click with your organizer. Did you think it was less expensive? Most people do. I have NEVER had a client express that it was not worth the money. Quite the opposite is true: they say it was the best money they ever spent because it literally changed their lives and relieved them of immense stress. How much is that worth? Thanks for the question. It's naturally something that everyone is curious about. Teine (dana) Kenney organizethis, inc. 805-480-9818

Subject: Moving

July 09, 2007 - I need help packing for a move. And then help with unpacking and organizing a new place (which I have not found yet). What services do you offer and WHAT are your FEES? Do you help pack? Do you offer a cleaning service as well? After move I am looking for a one time a month cleaning, one time month maintence. I called you a while ago but we missed each other. Thankyou

Hi Donna, We do all of what you asked about. Sometimes it is more cost effective to hire actual movers AFTER we help you sort/organize. It is definitely less expensive to hire a cleaning service to clean. We clean as we organize, but I am of the mindset that it's better to find a professional who specializes in the area you need assistance. I would refer you to a cleaning service... In fact there is even a cleaning lady on this Experts Panel. I'd ask her for a bid if I were you. The benefit of using an organizer before you move is that you won't move clutter or junk or donations or trash. What arrives at your new home is truly what you treasure. If you hire us to move you in and set you up... it is much less costly that hiring us AFTER you move if we didn't sort/organize your things first. We work as a team and the rate for 4 organizers is $295/hour. An average day is 6 hours long. Individual organizers are billed at $85/hour. I personally charge $100/hour. We are heavily insured for liability, carry workers comp insurance and E&O insurance. The cost to have an insured handyman at your home would be between $75-$95 and hour. Organizing is a highly skilled profession. We are an elite team of women who have the passion, skill and desire to help people. I am available 1 hour consultations and could definitely help you plan your next steps during that consultation. I hope this helps you! Thanks for your interest. Teine (pronounced Dana)

Subject: Photos

August 04, 2007 - I have 20 years of photo and memories that I have stacked in my bedroom for over a year. I just can't seem to start the project of organizing this and am feeling very overwhelmed. Is this something you can help with?

Hi Sheila, Yes of course I can help you with that. I'm sorry you are sharing your bedroom space with a project that is undoubtedly giving you a feeling of angst and frustration when you see it! Organizing photos is just the same as organizing any other space. They are sorted in categories and events first. Then the special ones that you would WANT to make an album out of are set aside. Then the ones you want to save anyway but not put in an album are archived for storage and labeled. Next you get to decide what kind of albums you wish to display the photos in. Do you want to go "Fancy" and do a Creative Memories version or do you want to use CostCo style albums and just "get er done." It can all be time consuming and expensive. This type of organizer would be billed at $85/hr. The result is you peace of mind and for many it is a worth while investment. Another BONUS you get is.... you get your bedroom back! Call me if you want to schedule a consultation. 805-480-9818 Teine (Dana) Kenney