Meet Jackie

About Clearing House

Meet Jackie Kelley, Owner

J_Kelley

Maybe I had a calling, but my organizing career really started by helping out a friend.  Who couldn’t use an extra pair of hands to help dig out from months of neglected paperwork, clothes and stuff?  I went back to this friend’s home for 3 days straight, chomping at the bit to get into ‘just one more room.’  That was in 2004, when I found a passion for helping people in a way that I hadn’t experienced before.  I felt empowered to reach out to others with the same needs, and Clearing House was born.

My professional organizing business is based in Bethesda, Maryland – just outside Washington, D.C – and I’m the chief professional organizer you will work with.  If a project requires more heavy lifting or a tight deadline, I have a great network of talented colleagues in the Metropolitan D.C. area to draw upon.  This is a second career for me, since I left the workforce in 1999 for five years to be home with my two sons (who are now teenagers!).

Clearing House was conceived as a business to help people shift to a more productive life, by utilizing strategies, tools and resources to improve living and working habits and create better functioning spaces.  I like that my company name connotes both actionable creation of space (clearing house!) as well as an information source (clearinghouse), since I share knowledge and resources you may not know about.

Organizing Philosophy

I work with homeowners, apartment dwellers, entrepreneurs, small business owners and their staff, retirees, people with disabilities, and students – to name a few! I enjoy helping people plan, initiate and complete a goal that will improve their home or work life.  I facilitate decisions, discuss options, and sometimes challenge beliefs.  Occasionally the jobs I take on are exhausting, emotionally complex and downright dirty; but they are almost always stimulating, engaging, fun and rewarding!  As one of nine children, I stand by the tenets of teamwork, shared responsibility, service, and accountability – as these were big players in my house growing up (thanks, Mom!).  I was raised to pitch in, work hard, and to follow through on commitments, so I bring those values (and a sense of humor) to all projects that I take on.  The relationships I build with clients are unique and personal and I never take for granted the trust given to me in my working relationships.

As an organizer, I believe systems should be tailored to an individual user and tested for function over form, although I do appreciate good design and vibrant spaces.  I offer praise when clients show me progress, and offer encouragement and support when they seem stuck.  I’m not always a cheerleader for change, but embrace it fully when I spot a need – and push for it when a client is ready.  I believe my background in management consulting and economic analysis serves me well, as I constantly draw on this business skill set to create change for my clients.  Every job brings a mix of problem solving, task planning, research, execution and creative decision-making.

I’m a big believer in using what you have and keeping things simple.  If it’s working, keep doing it.  If not, let’s brainstorm some ways to make it work better.  New clients consistently offer me new challenges.  In return I offer strategies, elbow grease, occasional counsel and accountability to goals.  There is no quick fix, and to me, success means trying something new, tweaking it, and maybe trying something else to get just the right fit.  Plans and systems evolve, just like everything else in life – there is no magic wand.

Education and Related Qualifications

I studied Economics and Political Science in college, earning a B.A. and a Certificate in Management Studies.  (Here’s a fun fact:  I served as an intern to a member of the British Parliament!)  Prior to starting Clearing House, I worked for consulting firms A.T. Kearney and Foster Associates as an economic analyst in the field of applied environmental economics.  (You may still find exciting reports I co-authored on the internet!)

I enhance my professional education each year by taking additional courses on relevant topics for my business and clientele and by attending professional industry conferences.

Recent volunteer and community service work includes a 2-year term on the NAPO-WDC Board of Directors, where I served as Membership Director.  I’ve also participated in NAPO’s Quantum Leap community outreach program and volunteer for service projects in my area.

In the Media

I’ve had a few opportunities to share my organizing knowledge in print and online.  Visit the links below to read more!

Organize Your Photo Collection in 3 Simple Steps, Getting Organized Magazine

Organizing for Hassle-Free Home Repairs, Getting Organized Magazine

Organizing With Your Highschooler, The Washington Post

Home Front Live Chat – Advice on Organizing Topics, The Washington Post
(P.S. I loved doing the live advice chat – it was so fun!)

Get Organized Now: Start the Year Off Right!, Parenting Magazine

Don’t Be Breakage – 8 Tips to Avoid Losing Gift Card Value, CreditCards.com

Connect with Me!

I invite you to connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or visit my blog to share your interests, ideas or organizing questions.  If requested, I am happy to provide references from clients with whom I’ve served.  If you think you would like to work together, call me today at 301-580-6895 for a FREE organizing consultation.

I look forward to helping you rediscover your space!

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