Xavier Magazine

Helping De-Clutter

Gary Wilson is a doer, not an organizer. So when his G. Graham Wilson Custom Woodwork and remodeling business began booming a few years ago, he couldn’t keep track of the jobs—literally. Job orders would disappear, blueprints were stuffed here and there, files were piled high. He didn’t know what to do. Enter Jan Connelly, professional organizer. A 1968 graduate of Edgecliff College and part-time high school art teacher, Connelly reinvented herself as her teaching hours were cut. With a knack for organization and design, she realized people came to her for advice: how to rearrange her sister-in-law’s furniture, how to purge the junk from her elderly aunt’s home. For Connelly, the challenge is making order out of chaos. “We’re buying more and getting rid of less,” she says. “Everybody’s running so fast, they don’t have time to de-clutter.” Since launching Well Adjusted Space in April, she’s accumulated 22 clients. Membership in the National Association of Professional Organizers and her web site,, helped attract clients. While most typically need help organizing, she sometimes feels like a psychologist when working with clients who can’t throw anything away. One elderly woman still kept her mother’s medicine bottles. Connelly realized the clutter masked Wilson’s beautiful handmade furniture instead of showing it off. So she design-ed a system of cubbies, pegboards and vertical shelves that allows him to keep his files and papers in specific work zones—orderly yet still visible— while showing off a large honey maple desk. “I had to admit I couldn’t do this without someone’s help,” Wilson says.

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