More than three decades ago, Deniece Schofield wrote Confessions of an Organized Homemaker, a book full of organizing tips born out of desperation the Bountiful mother of three children under 5 was fed up with the chaos.
"I felt like my life was out of control," said Schofield, a Las Vegas resident who will return to her home state Aug. 14 and 15 to offer two days of organizational workshops.
Determined to take her life back, Schofield set out to organize her home, doing it without the help of books or the Internet.
Her husband, Jim, was impressed by her success and he suggested she write a book to help others. Initially, she refused.
"I didn't know how to write a book," she said. "When I finally wrote it, I wrote as if I was sitting at my kitchen table talking to a friend."
As soon as the book was finished, her husband whisked the manuscript away and published it on his own.
Confessions of an Organized Homemaker became a regional best-seller before Writer's Digest, a Cincinnati publisher, offered to print it. The book's success shocked Schofield, who thought she was the only person drowning in disorganization.
"There really was no industry for organization when I wrote the book," she said during a recent interview.
Her system worked. Once she got organized, the clutter never reached pre-book chaos again, even though the couple added two more children to the family.
"Everything had a place. It got messy sometimes, but never cluttered," said Jim Schofield. "The kids could help clean up because they knew where everything went."
Even though all five Schofield children are married with children of their own, they still call Mom for tips.
"I'll say, 'Mom, I have all these cookie cutters, what should I do?' " said Schuyler Whitaker, the Schofields' youngest. "She'll give me a couple tips and I just do what she says."
The organization industry has come a long way since Confessions was published. Today, books and websites on the topic abound.
But Schofield is still the master. She has written five books, appeared on television and radio shows in the U.S. and Canada and now travels the country presenting "Get Organized" workshops.
Her Salt Lake City workshops will focus on reducing paper clutter, time and people management. There also will be time for questions from the audience.
"Paper is people's biggest problem," Schofield said. "People often keep papers they don't need."
'Get Organized' workshops
Deniece Schofield, author of Confessions of an Organized Homemaker, returns to her home state for several organizing workshops.
When • Wednesday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.; Thursday, Aug. 15, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Where • Wednesday at the Holiday Inn Express, 4465 Century Drive, Murray; Thursday at the Salt Lake Inn, 1659 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City
Cost • $20 at the door; no reservations required
Details • denieceschofield.com or 800-835-8463
Back-to-school organizing tips
Get in the routine before the first day.
Bring supply lists home. Use what's around the house before buying new.
Get supplies not on the list poster boards, printer ink, etc.
Take pictures of projects to preserve the memory, not the project.
Keep papers kids bring home from school in a three-ring binder.
Deniece Schofield, author of Confessions of an Organized Homemaker