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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Trading Clutter for New Beginnings

All those slick shelter magazines depict such impeccably clean and uncluttered environments that surely no humans actually live there. A real home looks lived in, and may be more soothing because of it. But there is a point at which clutter exceeds a threshold and has the reverse effect—it inhibits our daily routine and causes us unnecessary stress. That’s the time to call Shannon Loe, owner of Live With Less.

She has officially been in operation in Atlanta since January 2014, but says, “I’ve been organizing for family and friends for as long as I can remember. Prior to starting my business, I didn’t realize I could do this for a living; that I could realize my passion and make a business out of it.”

Loe did some searching online and found the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), which provides education for people that want to become professional organizers. They hold a national conference every year, which she attended, and a local chapter in Atlanta, where she says she found her peeps. “It really got me thinking that I could make a go of this. I took six months to make the leap and I’ve never looked back. I love what I do, I can’t wait to get up in the morning and help my clients. Its almost like a dream that I get to do something that I love so much,” she says.

The NAPO online courses taught her ways to work with a client that suffers from chronic disorganization and how to start her residential business. Some members also work with small businesses or even go into corporate organizing. Loe states, “I work on the whole house. Some people have so much clutter that they never use the kitchen and they start to gain weight, so they don’t feel so healthy anymore. I tell them, ‘Lets take a look at your kitchen; at what you do not use and organize what you do use better, so you can incorporate healthy eating back into your life.’”

Loe is used to finding surprises. She explains, “Sometimes I find foods that have been expired for eight years. As we work together, the client and I figure out exactly what they need. How can the kitchen function better for them? What appliances are they using. What can they let go of? Many people have a small kitchen appliance graveyard of stuff they thought they needed, like a Panini press. They never use it, but it’s taking up space in their kitchen. I say, ‘If you want to make smoothies every day, let’s make sure that your blender is very available front and center so that in the morning, you’re drinking juice smoothies.’”

She also works a lot with clients on their closets and clothing. Although Loe holds a degree in sociology and psychology, she says, “I’m not a trained therapist, but there is a certain level of psychology that I do use with clients, because its not necessarily about the stuff. There’s more to it than that. I talk with the clients about their needs, and if they have stuff that makes them feel guilty, maybe they’ll let it go by donating it or recycling it or throwing it away.”

Although the job might seem simple on the face of it, that’s often not the case. “The client has come to me because they’re stressed about their environment. The clutter is just overwhelming and they don’t know where to start. I serve as a coach and a cheerleader and a project manager, all in one. It’s my job to come up with a plan of attack. For example, how are we going to reclaim that master closet?” She works with people from their 20s to their 70s that live alone, but also with families and couples.

There are occasions when Loe is contacted by somebody that lives with a spouse and that spouse is not on board with getting organized. “When it comes to that situation, I’m more than happy to work with the spouse who want to get organized, but I cannot make anybody do anything. I’ll work on her side of the closet in some cases and they will say, ‘This is wonderful, now I can find all my outfits.’ Sometimes it’s intimidating for people—change is hard—so I have to be really sensitive to my clients needs.”

Loe feels that her calling is important, sharing, “Our great asset is not our wealth, it’s our time, and it’s giving them their time back to do the things they want to do, whether that is playing with their kids or learning Spanish or painting.” Her mission is simple: “Our consumer society is out of control, and I’m trying to change that, one client at a time,” she says. For a free consultation, call Shannon Loe at 404-808-4086, email [email protected] or visit LiveWithLessLLC.com.

Martin Miron is the editor of Natural Awakenings Atlanta.

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