The Amandas: Reality TV, Not Reality Organizing

You’ve gotta love TV.  If you’re looking for a new sweetheart, check out Amanda LeBlanc , star of the Style Network’s new show, The Amandas. She’s sweet, smart, driven and gorgeous.

My only beef with her new show is that it is billed as an organizing show.  Unfortunately, it’s really more in line with what we’ve come to accept these days as “reality TV,” which has very little to do with reality.  If you are looking for organization inspiration and education, you’re better off with some of the more true-to-life shows like those on HGTV or even shots on the newest social media-crack-addiction, I’m not saying these are 100% reality either, but there is a high probability that they represent real organizing outcomes with much less TV producer-induced drama.

Organizers in high heels aren’t new, but they are not the norm, and in fact, not reality.  Yes, I wish I had her team’s drop-dead wardrobe, but if I did, I wouldn’t be scraping floors, painting and climbing ladders in it. If you call a professional organizer, you can expect a professionally dressed person, who is hopefully appropriately dressed for the type of work they will be undertaking.

I love my team, and they are each priceless, with their own talents.

I have no desire to turn their unique talents into little mini-dramas just for TV viewing.  And whenever I am fortunate enough to have a staff of six, you can believe that one of them will be a full-time handy-person or carpenter.  The Amandas could be just as great of a show with her team chosen for their talents and not their egos or shoes.

While it makes for good TV, I wish that The Amandas TV show didn’t harp so much on Ms. LeBlanc’s striving for perfection.  She rants through tears in a recent episode, “Everything I do is PERFECT!”  To quote Michael J. Fox, “I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection.  Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.”  I’ve lived enough and seen enough homes and businesses to know that perfection isn’t attainable or maintainable.  Good organizing processes should result in spaces that can be lived in, adapted, and easily maintained.  But good organizing processes don’t always result in magazine-pretty.  Having been a part of a magazine shoot, I could tell you some of the silly stuff that goes on to create that beautiful shot that you admire for about 10 seconds, but that gets burned into your psyche.  So, if you decide to seek me out as a decorator, professional organizer, or home stager, recognize that there is only so much I am willing to put you through, because good organizing processes are “good enough.”  Good enough to get you out the door in the morning with a smile on your face, good enough to lower your stress levels, good enough to allow you to enjoy your beautiful home without going into crazy debt, good enough to allow you to file your taxes on time, and good enough to allow you to get ahead at work.  And I promise not to cry twice an hour and leave you feeling more stressed than when we started.

One thing that the Style Network got spot on was choosing a star for their show who is both professional and a professional organizer.  Ms. LeBlanc is an entrepreneur, a respected member of her community, and a smart woman.  She’s building her business and taking care of her clients with great detail.  She’s also a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, which is a serious support organization for professional in our industry.  I not only belong to this organization, but I have volunteered on committees at the national level, and have served on the Board of NAPO-Greater Philadelphia Chapter.  I have a long list of involvment in community affairs.  And I’ve committed to this career by attaining the Certified Professional Organizer® designation.  I also attend annual conferences, and I’m very exciting to be heading to our next one next month.  I can’t wait to share the latest and greatest with you when I return.

Nope, I don’t have a TV show, but if you need to check out a Certified Professional Organizer® live before you hire one, check me out at the many seminars and low-cost group classes offered year-round, or check out admittedly very low budget organizing videos. (Edited: I do have a TV show called Organizing Elephants. Links to episodes here.)

I applaud Amanda LeBlanc for her efforts and her successful business.  If she shows up at the NAPO conference, I’ll gladly buy her a drink to toast her success.  Just watch The Amandas for fun, and don’t let it ruin your real life, okay?