September 13, 2016

For organizer Marie Potter, it’s all about preparation

For Marie Potter, the drive for great organization is born out of a desire to create order in a disorderly world.


So when it comes to going back to school (or when the “lunch-making regime” begins), the member of the Professional Organizers in Canada for more than 13 years insists on one essential motto: “Preparation is the key to success.”

Think, the North Shore resident suggests, about shopping for school caddies and other back-to-school supplies ahead of time as the best items often get snapped up early. Besides, it’s worth doing anything to “save the headache of running around at the last minute.”

Bring in key equipment such as a book bin or basket “to keep library books corralled and portable.” And create a “communication board” with a simple chalk or dry board where you can chart the upcoming week’s activities. (Check out IKEA’s KLUDD noticeboard or DeSerres’ Wallies dry-ease white board.) Forget about bulletin boards, though: “They just get cluttered and people quickly stop looking at them,” Potter says.

The mother of eight-year-old twin girls suggests creating a “drop zone” so each child can easily hang knapsack, sports gear, coat and any school paraphernalia in one spot. Large wall hooks are also a favourite for Potter. “The bigger the better – there are never enough hooks in the world,” she says.

Potter also advises cordoning off a homework area, backed up with the promise that electronics are allowed only when all the assignments are finished. “The secret to being organized is a home for everything,” she says. That includes creating a system, for example, to always plan a week’s worth of outfits for your children on a Sunday – perhaps using hangers with dividers to identify the days of the week, to boot.

Potter also believes in a “10-minute tidy” rule at the end of the day where everyone must take time to pick up their clothes or toys, and return them to their homes. “This goes a long way to shortening picking up after the kids,” she comments.

“After a full day organizing,” she says of her job, “I drive off into the sunset knowing everything is right in my world.”

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