My Recent Chat with Peter Walsh-the Organizing Guru!


peter walsh I can not believe that it has been TWO years since I first began this blog! Two years ago my publisher suggested that I start a blog when my first book was being released. Well, I wanted to come out with a bang so I decided to interview someone I truly admire…Peter Walsh. I was so excited the first time I ever spoke with him and the interview was a blast!

Now that I am ready to celebrate my two year anniversary I figured what better way to celebrate than to check in with Peter and let my readers know what he’s been up to. I mean let’s face it if you are reading an organizing blog you are probably at least a little curious about Peter 🙂 So here goes:

Jennifer: Peter, it has been awhile since we last spoke tell us what’s been going on?Peter: Well, I have a new show coming out on the OWN Channel, which Oprah is launching on January 1, 2011. My show Enough Already with Peter Walsh, premiers on January 3rd at 8pm EST. In the show I work with families and help people declutter their homes, as well as, their mental and emotional clutter. Eight episodes have been shot and you can go to for details.

I am also part of a National competition going on at Home Clean There are monthly prizes and winners. I will even be surprising people at their homes!  Jennifer: Will they know you are coming?! Peter: Yes!
My new book Lighten Up will be released on December 29th. It is all about our need to buy more and acquire more because we think that will help us live a happy an abundant life. In the book I help readers examine their lives and circumstances and to make the changes necessary to focus on the things that really matter. I offer a clear strategy for finding the delicate balance between what they have, what they need, and what they want or feel entitled to. I help readers come to accept that living on less can feel—and be—so much richer.
Jennifer: Tell me about your line at Office Max- the In Place System.

Peter: This year I launched a whole new line of desk and board accessories called: You.Organize. On January 1st , 2011 I have 20 new products coming out!

Jennifer: Each time I speak with you I am impressed by how gracious and humble you are. How do you stay grounded and keep it all together?



Peter: This may sound flippen but I stay very, very organized. I make sure everything is managed very carefully. Clear files, trackable information and no loose ends. It can be very demanding but I am cautious and focused. I realized a couple of months ago I have one million frequent flyer miles! I have been traveling an immense amount.
One of my favorite sayings is “be where you are.” When you complete something put a period at the end and move forward! This way you can sleep at night. And I always make time to hang and spend time with family and friends.
Jennifer: I also love your no-nonsense style. Have you gotten more like this over time or have you always been this way?

I haven’t changed at all. I think people yearn for clarity. People want to be clear about things. Right now the thing that is making people nuts is that the state of our economy, society and govenment is UN-clear. I believe that being clear and honest is a fundamental way of behaving so no I don’t think I have changed at all ,this is just the way I interact with people. My job is very clear. The two tools I use are an outstretched hand and a mirror. My job is to hold up a mirror to people and ask the questions that they are too frightend or reluctant to ask themselves.



Jennifer: Does this no-nonsense style ever upset people?

Peter: Of course! I think people use conflict the wrong way in this country. Conflict is a good and healthy thing if it is used with mutual respect and honesty.



Peter: The universe has a wonderful sense of humor! Another favorite quote of mine is “life is lived forward but understood backwards.” The work I do is a great intersection of the many things I have done in my life. I am very happy with the job that I have. I enjoy it enormously! It has been a process not a blinding moment. I feel like I have grown into it.
Jennifer: I couldn’t agree with you more!

Jennifer: It seems that more than ever I am working with clients that are not only overwhelmed with their clutter but overwhelmed with their debt too. What do you think is the correlation between the two?

Peter: This is exactly what I talk about in my new book Lighten Up. You can’t have out of control consumerism and not have consequences. After 9/11 the President said “go out and shop.” This is our national state of mind! The health of the American economy is affected by this theory that if we are not spending we are not healthy. The mentality that we are given is “the kids with the most toys rule the sand box.” It’s no surprise that debt is a massive problem because we believe if we acquire a ton of stuff we can live a great life. You can choose to see this time in our economy as an opportunity to reassess where you are. It is your choice to learn from it or not. You can choose to live within the means of the life you have been given and like what you have. It is like your kitchen cupboards-they can only hold so many plates. Well, we only have so much spending power!



Jennifer: This leads me to another topic…many times clients will tell me “well I don’t have room for this now but I am saving it for later when I move into a bigger house.” What do you say to these people?

Peter: The moment you start using the word LATER you are in trouble! This word is one of the ways you say “I am betraying the life I have now!” You ONLY have the space you have now. You ONLY have the life you have NOW. It is an illusion to prepare for the future if it is at the detriment of your life now.



Jennifer: Shows such as Hoarders have shed more light on the Professional Organizing industry. What advice can you give the professional organizers out there that may come across a client in this situation?

Peter: This is a very specific group of people. Hoarding always comes with some degree of a mental health issue. You have to be very careful to understand your professional skills. Not every mechanic can deal with every kind of car just like every Professional Organizer cannot deal with every kind of client. Know your expertise. Do you have access to a mental health support network? Do you have experience in this field? If you do not feel skilled or able, don’t take on the client



Peter: The work we do should be fueling our souls. Respect your limits. Do what you can when you can and let some of the other stuff go. There is a delicate balance with delegating and control. I struggle with that myself. Hand off things that aren’t the core of your business. You control the core.
Note: We finished up our conversation with a few more precious pieces of advice. I thanked him for being such a great example to people like me working in this amazing field.

Jennifer: Last time we spoke my book was just coming out and I’ll never forget the great advice you gave me. It has been two years now: my organizing business has grown and I am working on my third book. I work as a one woman show, except for my publisher, so sometimes I get overwhelmed with my responsibility eventhough I am living my dreams. What is your advice?

Jennifer: Obviously you are on the path that you were meant to live and using the skills you’ve always had, how and when did this amazing career of yours get started?

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Hi there! I am Jennifer Ford Berry or some people like to call me "Life's Organization Expert". I am super passionate about helping people get organized and stay that way! I have written a series of books called Organize Now! I contribute my organizing tips to National magazines, radio and TV shows. I am here to help you realize that your life is not about is about living! YOU can live an organized, healthy and exciting life one baby step at a time. Let me show you how!

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