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.
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
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
NBC3 News at Noon, and Fox's Bay Area People; and in Boston
on ABC's Chronicle, the Channel 7 News, PBS's
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.