Sunday, February 26, 2012

My first article in O--The Oprah Magazine! March 2012 issue

In addition to writing organizing-related freelance articles, I often get interviewed as a professional organizer for articles about the best way to organize a given room (bedroom, home office, playroom) or person (husband, children, elderly parent, etc.).

I was beside myself with excitement when I got the opportunity a couple months ago to give a quote to an editor at O--The Oprah Magazine for their annual organizing issue, now on newsstands (March 2012). I was asked to provide an anecdote about the weirdest thing I've ever found while organizing someone's home. I provided several brief answers for the editor to choose from (if you're interested in my answers, ask me in the comments), and just a week later I was told one of my answers would be used. I was ELATED! I. Heather Lambie. Was going to be in O magazine.

When I picked up my copy this month, I did a quick flip search for the article so I could dig in and read it, then share it with my friends and husband. I looked. And looked. And looked. I was almost to the point where I thought maybe the article was cut last minute when I saw it. There, at the bottom of the page, in a sidebar with 7pt type, was a 7-word phrase that summed up my "weirdest find," (more than 1,000 containers of lip gloss) with an attribution of my name at the very end. I circled and put arrows so you can see it.

Here is my O magazine debut--don't blink! (hint:  if you click the image you can see it bigger)

When I saw it I laughed so hard I fell off the couch. OK, maybe I was crying, not laughing. Still. There's no denying it. I am IN Oprah's magazine.

Plus, I now have a connection with a very kind editor from O who one day may give me the opportunity to be in O again with my name as a byline instead of an ink burp.


  1. So...what were the weird things??

  2. OK, Alex, since you asked...

    - 36 Bibles owned by family members dating back to the 1800s
    - 171 pairs of pajama pants (this from a Public Relations person who worked mostly from home. When not at special events where she always had to dress up, she preferred to dress down!)
    - check registers dating back to the 1930s
    - 8 tracks... even though the client didn't own an 8 track player on which to play them
    - a giant drawer full of mismatched stationery with no matching envelopes
    - an entire guest room closet full of expired cosmetics (more than 1,000 lip glosses). Client was depressed and explained that a new lipgloss is an inexpensive purchase that can quickly brighten her day.
    - 12 years worth of received Christmas cards. WHY oh WHY do people save Christmas cards?!? You'll get another one next year, I promise!

    I ALWAYS find cash, checks and change. Biggest dollar amount found: an uncashed check for $21,700 that was 4 years old. I was organizing the woman's home office because she was being audited by the IRS. She had sold a boat and that check was for the sale. She knew she had lost it but was too embarrassed to ask the guy for another one.

    In opening papers to determine if trash or not, I found a letter to my client (a divorced single mother) from her ex husband, informing her that he was gay. . . and a copy of a letter she sent back to him, announcing that she was too!

    Found a wife's (used) colostomy bag. Ew.

    - Through sorting and digging into credit card and bank statements, a client and I discovered her husband had been having an affair (saw in-town hotel charges and women's purchases that were not for her). She later found more evidence and divorced him.

    - Papers that showed the clients (a family of 5 living in a very modest 3/2 home) were actually millionaires with a huge estate, but they donate several million each year to charities worldwide. You'd never know it. Great to be surprised by people like that!

    I would be remiss not to mention that since I do go through dresser drawers and nightstands on the regular, I have found:
    - more than my fair share of vibrators in all shapes and sizes, for women young and old
    - leather chaps (nary a cowboy in sight)
    - a printout of "member" selections from a male escort service, the way you would print out shoes you liked from DSW. Amazing the variety!
    - naked photos of the client and client's spouse

    I've also organized an entire "costume" closet--strictly bedroom costumes, if you know what I mean. I grouped items by fantasy (school girl, nurse, pirate wench, Playboy bunny, stewardess, etc.) including costume, props, wigs and shoes all into blue zippered Ziplock containers.

  3. Congratulations Heather!

    Love the full list, fascinating.

    I'm going to fess up to saving Christmas cards....not all of them, but I started out saving the ones with pictures and now they all have pictures. If the cards start taking up so much space I can't store all my bibles and old checks, I'll throw them out.

  4. I'm blushing with pride for you right now! No matter how the lens is zoomed seeing your name in such a notable print is like starring on Oprah Live! Congrats! May this be the doorway to larger fonts :)
    I've got a disgusting bit of writing in the finals over at Clorox's Messy Moment Contest at It's called "Deck the Walls" I would love for you to read it and vote to help me get to the final 4.

  5. You got it, Mambo! I'm going over there right now...

  6. OMG- You need to write a tell all memoir as a home organizer!!! Those are wonderful stories. I am laughing out loud. Congrats on Oprah. Im sure now that they knw how wonderful you are to work with, this will be the first of many quotes.