Evanston organizer helps parents, kids sort out routine

The start of school is an exciting time for kids, but it can also cause stress. The sudden need to get focused and organized when it comes to school supplies, schoolwork, papers that get sent home for parents and sports equipment can be overwhelming.

That’s what motivated professional organizer Karen York of Evanston to develop her “Get Back to School Program,” where she helps busy parents and kids reorganize their “drop zone” to create an easy, get-out-the-door-to-school morning.

“School starts and all of a sudden families are thrown back into that stressful routine,” said York, who founded Organize Me in 2012. “Many parents don’t get home with their kids until 6:30 at night, and they have to get lunches and schoolwork and homework and any activity supplies their children might need ready by 7 a.m. That isn’t easy.”

Deerfield licensed clinical social worker Dori Mages, who works with children, teens and families, said kids who have an organizational system in place are more relaxed, have better concentration and most likely get better grades than kids who feel disorganized.

“Kids who feel organized can concentrate on doing the actual work versus feeling frustrated because they lost an assignment or forgot to turn something in because it was buried in some other folder,” said Mages, who also holds a masters degree in social work.

York’s services start with getting to know the family routines and habits, then developing a customized solution based on needs, budget and the amount of space in the home.

“I find out what their current problems are. What do the kids tend to forget often?” said York, who is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers. “Then I make recommendations, clean out and organize closets and workspaces, and then shop for storage items and install them.”

York, who has a masters in organizational psychology, spent 25 years as a human resources executive.

When her position was eliminated and she was deciding what direction she wanted to take for her professional life, York said she looked back and realized all of her human resources positions had one thing in common.

“I realized I had been organizing all my life in the realm of HR,” she said.

Describing organizing a room as “calming and relaxing,” York said she always was organized, even as a child.

“Everything was always folded, put away and grouped together,” said York, who lives with her husband, Steve. “Even my locker at school — for five different subjects I had five different colored folders.”

In addition to back to school organizing, Organize Me helps men and women organize their homes or home based offices.

Michelle Bardas of Winnetka is a mother of two preteens, who recently hired York to help her reorganize a mudroom closet.

“It was deep and narrow and filled with all kinds of stuff,” said Bardas. “It was a mess and I didn’t know what to do with it. It felt kind of hopeless.”

With York’s help, Bardas said they installed a hanging bar, bought and filled baskets with school supplies and labeled everything.

“I was thrilled at what she did,” Bardas said. “The floor was clear and now there are baskets of glue and markers and crayons and pens and pencils — stuff we could never find.”

“I see a lot of kids who say, ‘I did the work, I just don’t know where I put it,’” said Mages. “Disorganized kids’ grades drop and they become frustrated. Organization brings relief to both parents and kids. Grades go up and kids are so much happier.”

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Organize Me

Website: www.organize-me.biz

Phone:(847) 571-5167

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