Last year, Wadsworth had her own brush with fame when she was tapped to help organize the home of a Mississippi woman on an episode of A&E’s Hoarders, which focuses on people with extreme compulsions to save possessions. In that case, 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 kept hidden from visitors can be a little intimidating, says Deb Barnes of Muscle Shoals, who first called Wads-worth 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 is out shopping, 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 two herself, suggested a series of alarms.
Now, when the duck quacks, it’s time to brush teeth. When the motorcycle vrooms, the bus is nearly there.
“That’s genius. The mornings are much smoother now,” Gamble says. “She just makes everything more efficient.”
It’s always been that way for Wadsworth. Back in the Florence kitchen, the pantry is starting to take shape. Matching baskets group together snacks, dinner items, candy, and more. Rows of cans stand at attention on risers, a precise quarter inch of space between each. Despite most items being back on their shelves, the space somehow looks just half full.
“I was the weird kid who’d organize my friends’ rooms during sleepovers,” Wadsworth confides as she works. One parent even called to ask when she could sleep over again.
“I’d organized her entire pantry. I think I was, like, 8,” she laughs.
Now comes the tricky part. On the kitchen island, a few small items still need logical homes. (Are chocolate-
covered almonds considered nuts or candy?) And the client has texted, asking for a gluten-free section, but all the baskets are spoken for. The shuffling and re-sorting that follows happens at a thoughtful, steady pace—yet nonetheless has the mystifying effect of a three-card monte game. Suddenly, the last piece falls into place, and everything fits.
“I love doing a pantry,” Wadsworth says.