Woman Brings Order From Chaos, Clutter

Dee E. Behrman believes she has the clutter in her house whipped, but she and her husband still haven't bought a computer.

Behrman, owner of Organization by Design, is a member of a relatively new service field: She's a professional organizer. She helps businesses and individuals bring some semblence of order out of the everyday chaos of modern living.

She learned about organizing from a book entitled--appropriately--"Getting Organized" by Stephanie Winston, an East Coast professional organizer.

Behrman was a legal secretary at the time, on maternity leave, and decided that she liked organizing other people's lives more than a 9 to 5 office job.

Along with about 50 others in the Southland, Behrman is a member of the Los Angeles-based National Assn. of Professional Organizers.

Behrman's specialty of records management--something she learned about as a secretary--will serve her in good stead when she finally adds a computer to her office equipment inventory.

"The myth of the paperless society is one of my favorite speech topics," she said. "When computers came on the scene, the quantity of paper actually increased and clutter attracts clutter."

Behrman works with her clients based on budget and space requirements. She makes the best possible use of existing floor space in her designs, often using the walls for storage as she did in her own 9-by-7-foot laundry room/mini office. A place for everything and everything in its place is more than just a cliche for Dee Behrman.

One area she hasn't attempted to organize is her husband Chuck's darkroom. He is a professional photographer. Anyone who lives with a photographer knows that most of them have never met a gadget they didn't like.

Speaking of utilizing space around the house, Sunset Books has recently published "Home Offices & Workspaces" (Lane Publishing Co., Menlo Park, Calif., 96 pages, $6.95). The emphasis here is on finding and organizing a place to work at home in today's down-sized houses, condominiums and apartments. If you're fortunate enough to live in a full-size house--or have an empty room--the book will help you organize a place to put a home office, with all the computer paraphernalia that such rooms contain these days.

The book even has a section on furniture you can make to turn a spare room or even a corner of a room into an office. Among the plans are a computer table, a drafting table, a printer stand and a desk-top organizer (now that's something I could use and will make as soon as I find the time!).

Also new from Sunset are updated editions of "Spas, Hot Tubs & Home Saunas" (80 pages, $5.95) and "Basic Home Wiring" (96 pages, $6.95). The latter has a new chapter on telephone wiring, a controversial subject ever since the phone company began advising homeowners that they are henceforth responsible for repairs on in-home phone wiring.

Sunset books can be found in many home centers and in larger bookstores.

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