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About Harriet

Harriet Schechter is an internationally acclaimed organizing authority acknowledged as a pioneer in the field of professional organizing. She has been featured on numerous TV and radio programs around the world and widely quoted in such publications as the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Dallas Morning News, Investors Business Daily, USA Today, Family Circle, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Ladies Home Journal, Woman’s Day, Entertainment Weekly, The Atlantic Monthly, The Australian Magazine, and dozens of others.

In 1986 Harriet founded The Miracle Worker Organizing Service in San Diego, California, specializing in time management, paper management, and chaos control.  Clients have included artists, attorneys, doctors, entrepreneurs, executives, housewives, insurance agencies, museums, musicians, nurses, psychiatrists, publishers, real estate agents, sales people, secretaries, teachers, writers: “Anyone who’s overwhelmed with too many opportunities, too little time, and too much paper.”

Before moving to Santa Barbara in 2002 she provided customized seminars and training programs, helping thousands of people conquer chaos and become more organized via her presentations for organizations such as Computer Sciences Corp., Kaiser Permanente, Sharp HealthCare, National Electrical Contractors Association, IHOP Corp., Solar Turbines, Inc. and California Medical Association Alliance, among others.  She was a featured speaker in Australia during a conference tour sponsored by The Seminar Company and attended by thousands in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

From 1988 through 2003 on a monthly basis in San Diego, she taught the Learning Annex’s longest-running and most popular seminar, “Letting Go of Clutter.”  It became the basis for her most popular book, Let Go of Clutter (McGraw-Hill), which has been translated into German and Japanese.  Her previous books are Conquering Chaos at Work: Strategies for Managing Disorganization and the People Who Cause It (Fireside/Simon & Schuster) and More Time for Sex: The Organizing Guide for Busy Couples (Plume/Penguin; also published in Chinese and Australian editions).

Harriet has been commissioned to write feature articles for a broad range of publications, including national magazines such as Consumers Digest and Family Circle; regional Auto Club magazines (Westways, New Mexico Journey, Puget Sound Journey, and Texas Journey); entrepreneurial publications (Home Office Computing and Entrepreneur’s Home Office); and pet fancier magazines (Cat Fancy and Dog Fancy). She was also a frequent features contributor to the San Diego Union-Tribune. Her newspaper articles have been syndicated by Copley News Service.

She originated the “Organized Outlook” column for sdhome magazinean award-winning quarterly publication of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

How did you become known as The Miracle Worker?

Long before I started my business, I offered to help  a friend organize her extremely cluttered apartment.  She’d warned me, “It’s such a mess–it would take a miracle to get this place organized!” After I’d worked with her for a few hours, she was amazed by the results and started calling me “The Miracle Worker.”  Something clicked– I decided that if I  ever started a business I’d use that name.  Since then, I’ve lost count of how many clients have said to me, “You really ARE   The Miracle Worker!”   It’s still my favorite compliment for a job well done.

What did you do before starting your organizing business?

Mainly I worked as an editor for several types of publications: copy editor for the Journal of Immunology for five years; managing editor of a community newspaper; freelance editor for a variety of clients.  Editing and organizing have something in common: both involve weeding out redundancy and excess, identifying gaps, and putting things in the most effective order. So in a way, it wasn’t that big a leap for me to go from editing words to editing time, space, and matter.

What is your educational background?

I majored in Comparative Literature at San Diego State University, where I received my B.A. in 1979 at the age of 19 (I was already putting my time management skills to good use!).