Saturday, May 4, 2013

Collector Care Interviews Linda Samuels - Organizer, Author and New President of the Institute for Challenging Disorganization

Hello Collectors! I am very excited to bring you this interview. In some of my other blog posts I have mentioned the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD)  and what a wonderful resource it is for those with clutter and for professionals like myself. If you have not subscribed to ICD yet - I suggest you do! In addition to her work with the ICD, she is a hands on organizer, amazing blogger and author!

Linda Samuels Website
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Linda Samuels, new ICD prez elect a couple of weeks ago at a convention. She is an absolute ray of sunshine inside and out. Dressed in vibrant ICD colors and a sparkling personality, I was immediately drawn to her. As a fairly new organizer I am always humbled to meet our veterans - and was even more humbled when Linda asked me to join her in an ICD commercial/interview! The ICD is a true collaborative of professionals, that all support each other and Linda Samuels is proof that even the most experienced and savvy organizers are kind and helpful to us "newbies".

So now on to the interview! I hope you enjoy!

Rachel: I love that you still work hands on with clients. What is your favorite thing about working hands on with someone who is chronically disorganized?
Linda:Whether my clients are chronically disorganized or not, what I enjoy most are the wonderful relationships that develop. Particularly with my CD clients, these relationships are long lasting. I feel very lucky to be invited into my clients’ lives and be partners with them as they navigate change and witness the “ah-has.” Since I tend to work with my clients for an extended period, I experience many life transitions with them. I love the variety, the challenges, the connection, and the creative aspect of my work.
Rachel: What was one of your biggest mistakes as a new organizer?
Linda: Perhaps the biggest mistake I made as a new organizer was that I didn’t have clear enough boundaries. I found myself in uncomfortable situations too many times. It took me a while to establish guidelines so that there would be no unwelcome surprises for my clients or myself. I used the difficult situations as learning experiences, but it would have been better if I had anticipated at least some of these issues ahead of time. One of the most valuable classes I took to help me think about these issues was “Boundaries and Ethics”, which was co-created by my colleagues Sheila Delson and Terry Prince for the Institute of Challenging Disorganization (ICD).
Rachel:  The ICD has the most fabulous classes.  Thank you so much for this information! Setting boundaries has been one of my biggest challenges. It's nice to know that there are resources for new organizers that address this, and that even the best have gone through this challenge.

Rachel: What advice do you have for new organizers wanting to work with the chronically disorganized?
Linda: The best advice I can share for any organizers, new or veteran that wants to work with CD clients is to seek out education. Without knowledge and training, organizers run the risk of doing more harm than good. The best source for information, education, and strategies for those that work with the CD population is ICD. This association attracts experts that share their resources, strategies and research about chronic disorganization. The ICD website has info including free fact sheets, teleclasses, publications, and conferences.

Rachel: When you aren't organizing, writing books, speaking or blogging, what do you do for fun?
Linda: I love to have fun! This includes taking Comedy Improv classes, dancing in our living room or at Zydeco gigs, taking walks by the two rivers and in the woods, laughing with my husband and daughters, baking, getting together with family and friends, going on road trips, watching movies, and having adventures with my wonderful husband of almost 30 years.

Rachel: I love your website, and of course read your bio. I wanted to ask you - why a purple front door? What does this mean to you?
Linda: From early on, I always loved the color purple. I enjoy other colors too, but have a special “thing” for purple, which has only intensified as I’ve grown. Embracing all that we’re passionate about whether that’s color, people, or work, is essential to living joyfully. Let the things you love surround you. Let the work you love be part of your days. Let those you love know it. Embrace your passions.
Rachel: My favorite color is purple as well,  it started when I realized that the amythest was my birthstone. I love your doorway idea, what a beautiful way to celeberate this marvelous color. Thank you so much for this interview.

About Linda:

Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® is a compassionate, enthusiastic professional organizer and coach, founder of Oh, So Organized! (1993), author of The Other Side of Organized and blogger on organizing and life balance. She has been featured in The New York Times, Woman’s Day, Bottom Line Personal, Westchester Magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray, and Connect with Linda on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, blog, or website. Sign up for a free monthly e-newsletter with bonus tips at

Linda’s Contact info:
Phone: 914-271-5673
Twitter:  @LindaSamuels


  1. Thank you so much, Rachel for inviting me to be a guest on your blog. You asked great questions and I enjoyed answering them. How nice to meet another fan of purple! I loved meeting you in person at the NAPO-New Orleans conference and I look forward to seeing you again soon. Will you be in Denver for the ICD conference? I hope to see you there.

  2. Thanks Linda and Rachel for sharing this. I completely agree with Linda about seeking out education and the value of ICD. It makes all the difference for your value to your client in having a greater depth of knowledge.

  3. Hello Linda and Ellen! Thank you both for stopping by and commenting. My sister is getting married 9/21 :) All the way out here in Santa Barbara. I wish I could somehow join remotely! I am so glad that you offer downloads after the conference - another GREAT thing about ICD!