Of today’s 3-hour session, less than 15 minutes will be spent on calligraphed labels, the type that Pinterest boards go wild for. Wadsworth sorts by use first, not color, and items are stored for easy access and upkeep, rather than for display, though the finished products are very eye pleasing.
As if to punctuate this point, she gestures toward a collection of clear plastic storage containers she’s discovered on the client’s top shelf. They’re empty save for a lonely handful of spaghetti noodles. Do-it-yourselfers often mistake products for solutions when, really, it’s a system they need.
In general, Wadsworth starts with a purge, which can be difficult for clients to do themselves. She then catalogs and sorts, measures spaces, purchases products, and fits items into their new homes.
“On TV, it looks like they show up with all the bins and baskets and just put everything in,” Wadsworth says. “You have to measure. You have to do inventory. They don’t always talk about that part.”
Wadsworth had a brush with fame in 2020, when she was tapped to help organize the home of a Mississippi woman on A&E’s Hoarders, which focuses on people with extreme compulsions to save possessions. In that episode, the woman had acres of property littered with old cars, trailers crammed with estate sale items, and a home so packed, there was no room for a bed.
Wadsworth’s real-life clients rarely approach disordered behavior. Most just need a little assistance with a problem area (garages are a biggie), making a room more efficient, or downsizing. Even so, inviting someone in to look at messes typically hidden from visitors can be intimidating, says Deb Barnes of Muscle Shoals, who first called Wadsworth in 2017.
“I felt like, ‘Deb, you’re a woman in your 50s, you should have a handle on this.’ But it had just gotten away from me. I needed a professional,” says Barnes, now a repeat client. “She put me right at ease. She told me, ‘Deb, I’ve seen everything, and nothing embarrasses me.’”
These days, she calls Wadsworth’s work “wizardry” and her own master closet “my Kim Kardashian closet.” When Barnes shops, she sometimes imagines what Wadsworth would say if she slipped a few more rolls of holiday ribbon—a personal weakness—into her cart, she adds with a laugh.
“She’s been through my lingerie,” Barnes continues. “Seriously, I trust her with my life.”
It’s not just physical spaces Wadsworth has a knack for organizing. High school friend and longtime client Katie Gamble recalls mentioning she had trouble getting her young children ready for school without a fuss.
Wadsworth, a mother of 2 herself, suggested a series of alarms: When the duck quacks, it’s time to brush teeth; when the motorcycle vrooms, the bus is nearly there.
“That’s so genius. The mornings are much smoother now,” Gambles says. “She just makes everything more efficient.”
It’s always been that way for Wadsworth. “I was the weird kid who’d organize my friends’ rooms during sleepovers,” she confides as she works. One parent had even called to ask when she could sleep over again. “I’d organized her entire pantry. I think I was, like, 8,” she laughs.