Elaine St. Pierre shows off her stock for her new home organizing business, Simply Organized Spaces, at her home in Lewiston on Friday. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — Furloughed from her job in March, Elaine St. Pierre started organizing the house, basement and attic to kill time until she was called back.

Already hyperorganized, for St. Pierre, that really meant organizing even more.

“Last night, I organized my organizing cabinet — that’s what I do,” she said.

Still furloughed this fall, St. Pierre drafted a mission statement and business plan and opened Simply Organized Spaces, taking that organizational zeal to others’ clutter.

She’s got thoughts on your dead appliances, coverless containers and half-finished projects, along with a desire to just make things easier.

“People waste so much time in their day if they’re not organized,” St. Pierre said. “You can name any item in my house, I can tell you within 10 seconds where that item is. I might not be able to tell you what I had for breakfast that day, but I can tell you exactly where my keys are.”

St. Pierre said she’s had friends over the years suggest she organize for a living and had always thought, maybe someday.

When she learned her job at an agency helping others find work would be furloughed for 30 days at the start of the pandemic, “I immediately started to reorganize my house,” she said. “If I hadn’t touched it in two years, looked at it or touched it, I got rid of it.”

Clothes that she’d held onto — larger sizes, kept just in case, smaller sizes, kept just in case — were gone. Fifty VCR tapes of her kids were transferred to a thumb drive. Lingering, midfinished projects were tossed.

Elaine St. Pierre shows off her own kitchen cupboards in her home in Lewiston on Friday where she runs Simply Organized Spaces, a new home organizing business. St.Pierre is hyper-organized and been on furlough from her day job since March, so she decided to take advantage of the time to start her new venture. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“It’s been a few years since high school: Do I really need all of the autographs people signed when I was in fifth grade? So I got rid of things like that. All of the concerts I’ve gone to, do I really need all the posters?” she asked. “It was a big project but it felt good.”

She expected to be called back to work any time, but wasn’t, and still hasn’t been. So SOS launched in November.

She’s keeping to the Lewiston-Auburn area. The process starts with a Zoom consultation to check out the scope of the project and start getting ideas and ends a month after her visit with a check-in: How’s it gone? Has the homeowner kept it up?

St. Pierre said she coaches through organizing without judgment and offers advice along the way, hopefully to create new habits.

“I’m a strong believer, if your toaster breaks and you buy a new toaster, you don’t save the old toaster — you get rid of it,” she said. “You don’t put it down in the basement.”

Ditto for hanging onto containers without lids.

“I think it’s overwhelming for people,” she said. “You open (a cupboard or a closet), ‘UGH, it’s too much,’ so you save it for later. One of my friends said, ‘I thought I would do it when I had more time. Turns out time wasn’t the issue, it just wasn’t something I wanted to do.'”

She’s guessing a lot of people have thinned out their belongings in 2020 with so many stuck at home for so long. Now could be the time to get more organized.

For her house, St. Pierre can always find a project. She called it “the most wonderful time of the year for us” when she and her sister, Lucie, make their annual trip to The Container Store in Massachusetts.

“We spend hours, literally, three-four hours at that store, and we go through every single aisle,” St. Pierre said. “We’re like kids in a candy store, eyes wide open, we’re sharing ideas of what we can do with all these different (containers.) The employees see us and they’re like, ‘OK, you’re still here?’ I come home with bags of stuff, we love it. It’s our passion, and if you don’t get it, you don’t get it, but if you do get it, it’s fun.”


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under:

Daily Headlines

  • Sign up and get the top stories to begin the day delivered to your inbox at 6 a.m.