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 The Untangled Web Writing Projects The Eyes of a Stranger About Kathy Downs

Where Does An Organizer Come From?

I have always been organized.  I was born with a logical brain, then received further training as the oldest of 5 children.  When I graduated from Notre Dame in 1979, I became a 3rd grade teacher in Cleveland.  Managing 33 children, 13 subjects, and 1 hamster in a not-overly-large classroom further enhanced my organizational skills.

After my teaching contract ended, I became the administrator for a new social service network in Illinois.  In the three years I worked there, my agency expanded from 2 to 25 people with a $3 million budget.  I managed all the contracts and the office staff for the organization.

From social services, I moved to the for-profit world of computer software.  I was trained by Sears Roebuck in Chicago, then took a position with a small software firm in Boston in 1986.  When my first child was born in 1987, I became a full-time mother and a part-time systems analyst.  In the 7 years I worked with computers, my life was made more hectic by the addition of:  a second child; a 10-room house; a rental property I managed; active participation in my church and several charitable organizations; and interaction with a large network of family and friends.

The Untangled Web came into being in Boston in 1993, when I realized there was such a thing as a "professional organizer."  This was the job for me!  Through my business, I've been able to improve my clients' lives by helping them streamline their homes and offices, get rid of their clutter, and rearrange their physical space to suit their individual lifestyles.  I also give presentations to business groups, parents' groups, women's groups, and teachers about how to get and stay organized.

In April 1997, my husband was relocated to the Bay Area.  I orchestrated the cross-country move of furniture, household, children, and pets, and now operate The Untangled Web (West) in San Francisco, California.

Since 1993, I've been an active member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO).  I founded New England Professional Organizers in 1994 and was elected president of NAPO's San Francisco Bay Area Chapter (the largest in the world) in 2001 and 2002.  In 2003 and again in 2005, I was nominated for NAPO's Founders' Award, its most prestigious honor.  Also in 2005, I was given NAPO's President's Award for my work on the national Chapter Relations Committee.

My book, The Organizing Sourcebook:  Nine Strategies for Simplifying Your Life (Contemporary Books / McGraw-Hill), was published in 2001.  It is available at local, national, and online bookstores.  In 2006. it was included on NAPO's list of recommended reading for professional organizers pursuing certification.

In my book, I describe a process for identifying and correcting organizing challenges.  It's called The Eyes of a Stranger Method™, and I use it myself when I'm working with a new clients.  Since 1997, I've been teaching the Eyes of a Stranger Method to other organizers through presentations and workshops.  In 2006, NAPO incorporated my ideas into its accredited class, "PO-201: Residential Needs Assessment - Kathy Downs's Eyes of a Stranger Method™." 

Features about me, The Untangled Web™, and The Organizing Sourcebook have been televised nationwide on NBC's Real Life; in the Bay Area on the CBS 4:30 News, CBS Bay Sunday, NBC3 Morning Show, NBC3 News at Noon, and Fox's Bay Area People; and in Boston on ABC's Chronicle, the Channel 7 News, PBS's The Group, and the Channel 56 News At Ten.  I've appeared on numerous radio and internet broadcasts across the United States and Canada.  My ideas have also been showcased in numerous national and local newspapers and magazines.


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Copyright © 2006 by Kathy Downs.
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