Chaos to Calm: Pro Organizer Gut Clears the Air

From helping hoarders to dealing with disorganization, the tidy Paso Roblan tackles it all.

Before After

A before and after shot of the home office of Via Vega Vineyards owners, April and Larry Gomez, after two sessions with Conny Gut, Fine Line Organizing owner.

Between balancing work, volunteering, unexpected events and children, life can get a little overwhelming, especially when it comes to organization.

In fact, sometimes it can get downright out of hand.

Professional organizer Conny Gut, Paso Robles resident and owner and founder of FineLine Organizing, has seen it all — hoarding, complications that come with divorces or family crises, even the struggle of juggling a busy daily life — and for those who are looking for it, she is equipped, and experienced, to help.

Gut explained that the biggest chunk of her work came from handling papers or dealing with a business that was maybe in the beginning phases, when clients could not see how their management system could work, how they could find and pay their bills, manage receipts, etc. Recently, her workload has changed.

“Over the last two or three

years, it has really shifted again — a lot of special needs are coming in: a partner has an injury, and the whole household falls apart because maybe the other one doesn't know how to deal with the daily tasks, or then also the hoarders,” Gut said. “Over the last one, two years, the hoarders came in, where the really packed homes need a drastic change.”

Gut attributes much of the openness of her hoarding clients to the TV shows that are accessible nowadays. She says it helps people to know that they are not alone in their struggles.

“You have to imagine, this is so shameful to them that they cannot really deal with that,” she said. “They have an addiction that shouldn't be an addiction—I mean, how hard is it to let go of a newspaper, or how hard is it to let go of a broken dish? But they just cannot let go, and so they feel very ashamed about this, but by that time, they cannot function anymore. That's usually that moment they realize, okay I have to do something.”

Organizers like Gut are not the only help hoarders may call; they also may need the assistance of professional psychologists or psychiatrists who are trained to address the issue.

“You cannot just clean up the house and assume that they are healed. You really have to work with them and train them, and that's kind of a longer process,” Gut said. “And that's actually the sad part about the TV shows, because in a few hours and a few segments, you are done with the show, and you see a better setting; but in reality it takes months for a hoarder to really be willing to let go and be willing to make changes, and actually getting used to applying these changes.”

Gut works in conjunction with Clinical Psychologist Eric Goodman, Ph.D., of San Luis Obispo, who specializes in OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) to help the clients who may be seeking further assistance.

“The professional and I, we are in collaboration and we talk about what's the next step and how to apply it in their home, so

whatever they talk about, or they work on, we can apply immediately and see that,” Gut said. “It's the best case scenario; however, it needs patience, and sometimes they don't have the patience; sometimes they don't have the money to support that.”

She not only deals with special cases, but she also still manages the more streamlined disorganization cases as well – kids' rooms, offices, downsizing, moving and cleaning up for the holidays.

One such client, April Gomez, co-owner of Via Vega Vineyard with her husband, Larry, needed a little extra help with her home office. “I had actually been struggling with falling behind for several years after I had severe headaches that kept me from being able to accomplish much but the basics,” Gomez said. “I just knew that everything had gotten out of hand.”

The technician who had helped treat her headaches recommended Gut to her, and after a year or so, she decided that as far as the disorganization, enough was enough.

Conny Gut & April Gomez

She had had her doubts, though.

“I didn't call because, it's a personal thing, and you think, 'I don't want somebody else to go through my things; I don't want anybody touching my stuff or seeing what a slob I've become.' It's intimidating,” Gomez said.

She said after she called Gut, she didn't feel alienated for not already being organized. Gut helped her put together a manageable system to keep her papers, business, husband's and kids' belongings in order.

“It made it much easier,” Gomez said.

Gut said that there are so many households here that are involved in multiple businesses, they are involved in their kids or a nonprofit organization, that they can't get out. “They have to do many, many things,” Gut said.