Organizing for the Holidays with LesMess’ CEO and Founder Leslie Jacobs

By Rhona Cohen — Editor, New Britain Progressive

I came to Connecticut in 2006 to help organize in the movement for health care for everyone.  It was all consuming work and while I worked at organizing people my home became less so.  I didn’t mind, nor did my husband who was similarly immersed outside of the home.  Then, in 20014, lightning struck our happily bustling home.  I came home from the hospital with a long healing process at home ahead of me.  

Forced to journey inwards in every way, I awoke to my home as it was, too cluttered and unkempt to be comfortable for my recuperation.  I have done many things over the last two and a half years to be more comfortable at home.  Finally though I think I have found the answer to my search for a home in which I can be both proud and comfortable.  My friend Leslie Jacobs, a writer for the New Britain Progressive and in other venues, has graciously agreed to help me sort out the disarray.  I am going to document the process here.  And so it begins…

Step One: Opening Up and Taking Stock


My would-be writing nook…tune in for continuing transformations in my home.

I don’t know about any of you, but I have always been able to hide the mess when company was expected.  Sure there have been uncomfortable moments when the mess was discovered, but the hope was the food and good conversation erased any such moments of transparency.  So this process started, unlike most of my past endeavors.  I was required to open those drawers and show Leslie the problem spots, rather than directing her attention elsewhere, while quickly closing the closet door on the mess!  

She arrived a month ago and we toured the house bottom to top, I opened jammed drawers and showed her the stuff piled in corners upstairs and down.  Finally, I told her what I really wanted.  I have a beautiful desk that I bought in NYC.  I think it’s the most expensive piece of furniture I’ve ever bought.  I moved it from NY to Connecticut and put it in the corner that I want to call my office one day, upstairs under a window.  It is my writing desk and yet I’ve never sat down to write at it, because all around it are piles and piles of things that need homes either here or elsewhere.  “Leslie I want to make this little sunny corner my own writing sanctuary,” I confessed.  And so we began.  After the tour Leslie sat me down and assured me that my openness with her would be respected, that she would hold my secrets close.  We made a 10 week plan to full organizational bliss!  And finally she gave me some homework for the coming week.  Here it is:

  1. Take a trash bag and go through the house, just picking up all the stuff that you can trash without question.  Then toss this in the garbage can and be done with it.  
  2. Empty the bookcase using these questions if you get stuck:
  • Have I used (read) it in the past year?
  • If I needed to find the information can I? (Yes, you can use the internet)
  • Do I truly love this and am I willing to let it go for the bigger picture of being more organized?
  • Will I ever re-read this again?
  • Does it bring me happiness to look at this?

If  you can answer no to any of these questions–donate it for someone else…you will be glad you did.

  1. Then you need to move all of Olivia’s paints into her art place…Use a basket to contain all of her paints/brushes etc.
  2. Take off door and put up large bulletin board—if you can’t.  I’ll bring tools to do it on Thursday.
  3. Ocean State Job Lot has the chrome shelves…

I’ll let you know next week how these assignments went.  

For now I’ll just say how excited I am to get started and how relieved I am for Leslie’s kind helping hand, for her understanding and lack of judgement, and for her firm professional guidance in this process.  If you want to reach out to her with questions or for her services you can phone her at 860-306-7779, email her at or by going to her website at LesMess.  You can also check out her blog here.