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The Detroit News' Homestyle section featured professional organizer Betty Huotari at its first Dish & Design event Thursday night, held from 6 to 8 p.m. at EuroAmerica Design Showroom in Troy. It's the first in a series of four Homestyle events planned for the year.

"Clutter affects us emotionally, physically and mentally," Huotari told moderator Detroit News Design Writer Maureen Feighan in front of a crowd of 40 ticket winners and their guests seated in a living and kitchen display. For most people, she says, kitchens and bedrooms are the most likely trouble spots and the hardest part is getting started. But "anywhere is fine — start with something that is bothering you."

"You can make it fun. Invite a friend over, start with a beverage," suggests Huotari, who owns Logical Placement and is part of the National Organization of Professional Organizers. She says friends can often offer you fresh perspective. Other tips included setting a timer and working toward a goal and offering yourself a reward — an hour of decluttering could earn you 30 minutes with a good book, for example. To get a spouse or whole household on board, start with a family meeting about how an organized home will be more efficient and good for everyone.


Professional organizer Betty Huotari of Logical Placement LLC tells secrets to keeping your head above the clutter at The Detroit News' Dish & Design event in Troy.

Be sure to prioritize as well. "Aim for being organized enough. Be realistic about how long it will take," Huotari says, suggesting you schedule organization like it's an appointment.

Attendee Mary Ann Brauser of Rochester Hills says she loves to hear ideas about getting more organized. "We all watch these shows like 'Property Brothers' and 'Love It or List It' but nobody's home is perfect," she says. Friend Patty Kaczkowski agrees, saying, "I need to reorganize so there's more room."

Attendees entered to win tickets for the event, which also featured a wine tasting from the Cellar Door of Auburn Hills and appetizers by chef Travis Waynick from the Rochester Tap Room, which is slated to open in March. Almost 900 entrants vied for the 40 tickets. The next Dish & Design is planned for April and food is the slated topic.

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