This article appears in the April issue of 400 Life.
When Atlanta native Beth W. Smith moved back from Seattle in 2010, she didn’t quite have her master plan figured out. She and her husband knew they wanted to downsize, live more simply and Smith knew she wanted to do more to help other people. Each of those things crept their way into the formula for the next phase of her life, one that now includes a career in home organization, her Woman Reinvented podcast and public speaking engagements where she gets to talk about finding empowerment through starting over.
Guiding others toward their own fresh start is very much self-inspired. Smith, herself, is a breast cancer survivor, she was cut from the corporate world and she’s an over-50 woman not quite ready to hang it up professionally.
“I’ve always been quite good at organization and tidying up,” Smith said. “I realized how important having clutter out of my life was. I realized that one of my motivations has always been to serve and support folks, and so many people can’t do this by themselves. I also realized how I could use that skill and help other people change their lives, literally just by cleaning up.”
But she’ll be the first to tell you, it’s much more than just cleaning up.
“If I was going to have a second career, I wanted something that would give me some freedom, and with this I get to teach people how to make decisions on the things that they need, and ultimately function as a sort of coach,” Smith said. “I am helping people to learn how to adopt a new way of living – one that’s free of clutter and full of the freedom to live without that unnecessary stress that clutter brings. I help them set themselves up to operate more efficiently — and that makes them happier.”
Smith’s company organizes everything from small spaces to entire houses, helps pack up and unpack a move and revitalizes hobby spaces and kitchens to reach optimization. She’s able to take her lifetime of hands-on experience, blend it with the continuing education she soaks up in a growing industry, top it with her true heart to serve others and, as a result, make a huge impact on all different kinds of people.
“Me, I am tackling these objectives daily,” Smith said, who took downsizing and organization to the next level when she and her husband built two tiny homes in North Georgia and moved into one of them in 2017. “In so few square feet, if one thing is out of place, it makes a big difference. Not everyone is like me, and wants to downsize quite this much, but relatively, it’s the same. Relieving ourselves of all the extra stuff lets us become something else — something we’ve always wanted to be.”
And whether you’re a tiny homer, too, or you like space to spread out, Smith says one of the best places to start organizing is in your own closet. Be it clothes, coats, catch-all or linen, it’s a feat to lay order on something often reserved for hiding our messes.
“A lot of us feel like, if we can get everything into a plastic tub and put it out of sight, then we’re on the right path,” said Smith. “But that doesn’t help the underlying problem. The mess is still there, you’ll still have to deal with it at some point.”
One of the most popular hiding spots? Our master closets. It’s where we start the day and end the day and it stores more per square foot than any other room in our house, but since we don’t expect a lot of outside foot traffic it’s tempting to just close the door and hide it if it gets out of control. More importantly — and less realized — this room houses all of the material ways we show off our inner selves, and that means how it looks can easily show up in our daily attitude.
Luckily, with a little expert help from Smith, cleaning up this particular closet is EASE-y. Smith’s four-step strategy to clean up the master closet gets you striving toward your best life … and for novice neat-freaks or veteran organizers, the acronym ensures it’s simple.
E: Evaluate | Evaluate each item and decide to keep it, move it, donate it or toss it.
A: Accessorize | Decide what items you’ll need to keep it neat, such as bins, baskets, boot trees, etc.
S: Sort | Put “like with like,” starting with a macro sort (T-shirts with T-shirts, pants with pants, skirts with skirts, etc.), then do a micro sort, and group sleeve lengths, dress lengths and then colors. Group all like items together, i.e., purses together, shoes together, etc.
E: Enjoy! | Enjoy your new organized closet!
So, gather your note-taking tools, a discerning heart and shut yourself in the closet for a few hours. It might just change your life.
Article by Jennifer Colosimo.