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Wagner helps clear the clutter

Keeping house isn't as easy is it seems. Find a place for important documents, family antiques or something new, and the house could quickly be deemed a place for a pack rat. This is where Bobbie Wagner can help.

Wagner is a professional organizer and a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). Wagner will be giving her advice on cleaning out the clutter during a 9 a.m. seminar at the Bemidji Women's Expo Saturday.

"What I do best is help people use their time and space more efficiently," said Wagner, who lives in Fisher, Minn.

With a motto that reads: "I can help, sort, label and listen," Wagner said organizing a home is a big job to tackle alone.

"Most times people who are getting behind are feeling overwhelmed," she said. "I'm a really good puzzle solver and take it one piece at a time."

Wagner, a home economics educator, started professional organizing about two years ago. She became a member of NAPO after years of helping friends and family members organize their homes.

Whether it's labeling, a remodel or deciding what items should belong to family members, Wagner said she's willing to tackle any job, no matter the size. Her work focuses on home and estate organizing.

Wagner said that sometimes an emotional attachment to things or "paying good money" for something makes it difficult to throw away or to let go of them.

"It's hard. Maybe there's a piece of jewelry with some kind of sentimental value, then what do you do with it? Or how do you make sense of old photos or photo albums?" she said.

Wagner said that when it comes to losing the clutter in the house, she is not the one to throw things away. Instead, it comes down to a "yes," "no" or "maybe" pile.

"Sometimes things can be used or recycled. It can have a new life. With a 'maybe' box, you just put a date on it and if you don't go back to it, maybe it needs another year. You make the decision when you're ready," she said.

Wagner organizes mostly for the homeowner and senior citizen population, but she hopes her business can be a way for anyone to take back control of his or her space and life.

"I've found that once I've been called, the person needs permission to let go. Now that we're finally here, it's just needing a 'yes' or a 'no.'"

She also stressed that it isn't about being a clean fanatic, but about making a space that represents the needs of the person.

"Different people have different levels of clutter," she said. "Things happen and you can get behind and it's difficult to know where to start," she said. "It really does affect your mood and can cause's about less chaos."

To contact Wagner, visit her Web site at, or attend her seminar, "Organizing Smorgasbord" at 9 a.m. Saturday.