The Ugly Mutt benefits first responders

Oxford police officer Chris Coverly, left, and Ugly Mutt bar owner Keely Hrivnak meet at the souvenir table at the bar's first responder benefit on Saturday. In back of them across the road is an Oxford Union fire truck. Photo by Chris Barber

For those who have trouble finding things in their homes, or worse, getting rid of stuff, Lisa Sparta has some answers."Keep things simple, try to make things work for you," says Lisa Sparta, a professional organizer, who started "Destination Organization" to help you tackle these dilemmas.

On Jan. 16, she shared her wisdom with the local Newcomers Club in the clubhouse at Somerset Lake in New Garden Township.

Kelly Hoffman of Birmingham Township was overwhelmed, eight months pregnant, and almost in tears, when she attended a Moms Club meeting and heard Sparta speak. "I didn't know where to start. Lisa was a huge help getting ready for the baby and bringing a fresh pair of eyes," she said.

Sparta gives her clients nine strategies from "The Organizing Sourcebook" by Kathy Waddill, to help them get their lives in order. She emphasizes that "it doesn't have to be perfect. I meet them where they are. I want them to be able to maintain these strategies after I leave."

She begins with her first strategy; systems have to fit the way you're living now. Form follows function. Then comes sorting, weeding, using the right containers and tools, and labeling. She says, "Constant vigilance is needed - like going through the mail as it comes in."

Sparta will also help deal with "stuff" - consign, donate, throw away or sell on E-bay (a huge, growing business). She says, "the value of unused stuff for the average person is $2,200." She suggests using a "partway gone box" to decide if you really want something after a certain time limit has passed.

The remaining four strategies deal with maintaining the system that is put in place. Next is to keep it simple, then decide to decide - don't put off making decisions. Finally, get help when you need it, and evaluate honestly and often.

Laura Quick of Pocopson Township is another client of Sparta's. After moving from Long Island, where she had lived for 17 years, she faced unpacked boxes in the basement. She engaged Spaprta to help her "go through everything and the results were phenomenal." In fact, Quick was so happy with the results that she gave her husband a gift certificate for Christmas to have Sparta help him go through his home office.

Quick said, "The combination of Lisa's expertise and knowing she was coming helped me stay motivated. Her connection with the community also helps in deciding what to do with things. I can't say enough about her."

To contact Sparta go to www.clutterlover.com.

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