The Marie Kondo of Arlington: Organizing Closets and Time Alike

Tara and her daughter spending time together.
Tara* and her eight-year old daughter have lived in Columbia Hills since last year.
Tara had a stable job working at The Container Store, where she took great pleasure in helping customers organize their homes. She had good hours and genuinely loved her work. Unfortunately, the company cut her position during the pandemic.

It was a difficult transition. But, “Even if you hit rock bottom during COVID, you can always make it through,” she says, both to herself and her friends. Tara was relentless about the job search and found a new position working at Staples. She is happy to be employed, but it is less than ideal because her hourly wage is lower than before.

She misses her old job and reorganizes her own home frequently. It helps makes finding things easier for both her and her daughter and reduces unnecessary purchases by being able to easily see what she already owns. Recently, she turned her coat closet into neatly organized storage for craft materials. She and her daughter have plenty, crafting and painting are her daughter’s favorite activities.   Despite the financial and professional challenges the pandemic created, she likes the extra, quality time she has with her daughter to be creative.

Although she is no longer paid to help people reorganize, she offers her services for free to the women in her “mommy groups”. With years of experience and passion, Tara guides her friends using planners and other organization tools to help them stay on top of their busy lives. Tara likes to say, “If you can’t stay organized, your life isn’t going to be organized”. Many are single mothers, like Tara, and sometimes they struggle keeping their homes and schedules organized.

“At [Resident Service Coordinator] Roxana’s suggestion, I started a financial class. It started in-person but moved online [during the pandemic] so I could still attend,” Tara said. She really liked the class, and a prompt about her life goals gave her a lot to think about. “In five years, I want to be an entrepreneur and help people reorganize professionally.”

She’s optimistic that the organization and structure that she has built into her life will help her meet this goal. In the meantime, she is committed to supporting other mothers in her community.

“I want to be a to be a resource for other moms because I know how hard it can be. I am grateful for the single moms communities that I found, and I keep in touch with them all the time.”

*A pseudonym is used to respect the resident’s request for anonymity.