Decorating trends are nothing new, but organizing evolves, too. Here are some modern observations from professional organizers.

Donna Lindley of Rochester Hills-based Organize Your World, Inc. says her field is often associated with extremes, like the ones on TV. But, that's not her average client. "The majority of calls that we receive are from busy individuals and families who are overwhelmed and need some organization to help their household run more efficiently," she says.

The fact that they're inundated isn't always apparent. "Their homes are beautifully decorated and neat, but then you go from closet to closet and drawer to drawer," she says. "They're parents of young children just trying to keep up with everything."

Lindley has also noticed an increase in unpacking requests. "As people move into a new home, they want to get settled as quickly as possible," she says. With professional help, homeowners can relax and enjoy an organized house right from the start. Some projects are with those who moved several years ago and still have unpacked boxes.

Cindy Greenleaf, of Inkster-based New Leaf Organizing LLC says garage organization is a hot topic, especially at this time of year. "It's the biggest room in the house that gets the least amount of attention. It becomes the place where you put things when you don't know what to do with them," she says.

"When you weed everything out and try to put something there that doesn't belong, it sticks out like a sore thumb," says Greenleaf.

For those in need of plastic organizers, she suggests shopping dollar stores for shoeboxes to hold craft supplies and small toys and baskets to corral necessities in a home office, pantry or laundry room.

"The concepts of organizing are so basic. Life is too short to worry about finding the car keys," Greenleaf says. "Getting organized can find you some time and professional organizers can break it into bite-size pieces and tackle it. We can see a way out."

Clients often tell Carolyn Anderson-Fermann, of Dexter-based Simply Organized Life that they're overwhelmed. "Not just with stuff, but routines and usage of time. Our lives are so harried these days that we crave simplicity, but don't know how to get it," she says.

Anderson-Fermann chooses to live with fewer possessions. For instance, she relies on the library for books and other materials. "Sometimes you have to stop the clutter at its source," she says. "You have to be really intentional with everything: finances, time, stuff."

Simple acts can go a long way, like making your bed every day and clearing the kitchen sink after each meal. She calls the end result "sacred spaces."

Creating quiet in a busy life can mean prioritizing sleep and spending time in nature. "It's a circle of self-care that's easier when you're organized. If you want to eat healthy, keep your kitchen tidy," she says.

"It's about turning a vicious cycle into a virtual cycle," Anderson-Fermann says. "I believe that organization is a tool to enhance our lives."

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Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at

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