Hagen can help you organize your closets and your life

Thursday, October 12, 2006

he missing pair of socks . . . the catastrophic desk . . . the set of car keys that are currently residing in the "Where Are They Now" file.

C'mon, dude, you're a disorganized mess!

Uh-huh, we've all been there.

You're merely having a W.W.T.C.E.G.F.T.V.C.S.D. (What Would That Creepy English Guy From TV's "Clean Sweep" Do?) moment.

Cable television is teeming with so-called experts touting how they can organize your home and workplace. On programs such as "Clean Sweep," "How Clean Is Your House?" and "Mission: Organization," these Heloise-wannabees promise you that your pig-sty of a home is only a "Silkwood"-styled steam clean away from a glistening, gleaming palace of your dreams.

"Do not believe the people you see on TV," warns Elizabeth Hagen. "They may be able to clean your home and organize your stuff. But they deliberately make it look easy because they are only offering short-term solutions. They aren't imparting with the instructions you'll need to live a mess-free life."

"I'd love to see these programs pay a follow-up visit to one of the homes that they cleaned," she says. "Chances are that, two weeks later or maybe even two day later, the house will look exactly the same as it did before the organizer came."

Hagen ought to know.

The Sioux Falls-based professional organizer has authored "Organize with Confidence," and co-wrote the book, "Focus, Organization, Productivity."

She'll also be putting her proven organizational strategies into action when she presents a program for the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 23, at the Rejoice! Community Church, 1320 Third Ave. S.E., in Le Mars.

"I am passionate when it comes to helping you GET organized," Hagen says emphatically, "and how to help you STAY organized."

"Organizing doesn't have to be difficult," she suggests. "With the right tools and a few new skills, anyone can do it."

Spoken like a true believer, right?

"Oh no, I wasn't always this organized," Hagen admits. "My mom still can't believe I make my living as a professional organizer. She still remembers my bedroom during high school should've had a condemned sign attached to the door."

"It wasn't until I got married and started a family that I began to understand the value of organization," she states.

Back in 1985, Hagen and her husband had four kids, all under the age of five.

"We had toys all over the place," she recalls, "and the clothes and books. Add on top of that, the everyday things like mail and magazines. My family was swiftly sinking into a sea of stuff."

"Living like that was stressful," Hagen provides, "and I knew there had to be a better way. I needed a way to put order into my household and to reclaim control."

"I learned to experience life minus all of the chaos," she notes. "Chaos traps you and it can overwhelm you. I discover that organizing my home increased my productivity. I actually had time to do the things that were important to me."

"My husband was happier, my kids were happier, and I was happier."

"It was a win/win all the way around," Hagen smiles.

As family and friends saw the extraordinary change, they began to seeking her out.

"They wanted me to help them learn how to organize their homes and their offices," she says. "They wanted me to help them organize their lives because ultimately, that's what it is."

"Nothing feels better than taking control," Hagen mentions, "and that's what I do. I give you the tools to take back your life."

In 2000, she decided to begin her own professional organizing business.

"It doesn't matter whether you're a person stuck in clutter," Hagen says, "or a business owner looking for ways to energize your team, I can help."

"People think organization is just self-control or determination," she continues. "Well, determination, alone, can't clear the clutter. You need a plan that works."

"And I have that plan," Hagen adds.

Does being organized mean being confident?

"I think so," Hagen admits. "The reason people fall into the clutter rut is because they're feeling a sense of being overwhelmed. When you feel overwhelmed, you procrastinate. Having a place for everything and being able to find everything quickly really does lower a person's stress level."

"Plus the skills I teach are more than just a temporary adjustment," she maintains. "They become a way of life."

Hagen's organizational acumen certainly came in handy when she and her husband welcomed a fifth child into their home.

"My husband and I have always been overachievers, I guess," she laughs. "But this time, I didn't feel overwhelmed. I didn't fall back on old habits. Why? Because I knew had a system that really and truly worked."

Hagen's organizing zeal has also had a positive influence on her family.

"Our eldest daughter was a bit of a slob," she smiles. "For the longest time, I thought the clean gene may have skipped a generation. But when we visited her in college, we noticed all of her clothes were so neatly organized, her dorm room was immaculate, and today, she is a nanny in New York."

"She's in complete control of the household," Hagen says proudly, "and she's using my method."

"That's a pretty good feeling," she adds.

In fact, Hagen compares getting organized with the ultimate makeover.

"Once you think about, I'm adding hours to your clock so you're able to focus on the things you want," she notes. "Overload bewilders your brain. I want you to clear away all of that mental and physical clutter forever."

"You'll feel like you've lost ten pounds of mental and physical stuff," Hagen contends. "And who wouldn't like that?"

For more information on Elizabeth Hagen, check out her website at www.elizabethhagen.com.

For more information on the presentation she'll be offering to "MOPS at Night" in Le Mars at Rejoice! Community Church, contact Anne Galles at (712) 546-8149.

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