Why I became a professional organizer

Professional organizer Susan Romanic
Professional organizer Susan Romanic

First things first:

For years now, people have asked me, “What’s so “romantic” about getting organized?” Please let me clear that up: My name is Susan G. Romanic, but almost everyone calls me “Sue Romanic.” My name is easy to remember because “Sue Romanic” sounds like “so romantic” but there is no “t” in my last name!

Formative years in Western PennsylvaniaProfessional organizer installing shower fixtureTeaching KindergartenEarn the appreciation of honest criticsAwardServing at churchServing at churchAntique carRubbing elbows with the former governor

In the beginning …

I grew up in a cluttered home in a very small town in northwestern Pennsylvania with a lot of lake-effect snow from October through March. In their younger years, Mom was an artist and organic gardener, and Dad restored Packard and other antique cars. My creative parents taught me to value the artist in all people and to recognize that sometimes items can be re-purposed and given new life. However, I was also embarrassed to let anyone come into the cluttered home in which I grew up: I know from first-hand experience how bad it can feel to not be able to invite anyone into your home. As a young girl, I was a member of 4-H, where I learned to sew and to cook. I was one of the first girls in my high school to take wood shop, metal shop, and drafting. I still use those design skills and power tools nearly every day! In high school, I became a marksman first class with a target rifle, and I got my first job when I was just 16 years old working at the milk sales counter on a local dairy farm.

I am the first one in my family to go to college. I worked full-time to pay my own way through college because my parents did not have the money to pay for me to go to school. It took me an extra year, but I earned a Bachelor of Science in Education and graduated magna cum laude from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. I taught Kindergarten and 2nd Grade in the Fauquier County, VA public schools. I pursued, but never finished, a master’s degree in Counseling and Human Development at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. To pay for college, I was willing to work hard, and I learned as much or more from all those work experiences as I learned from my college coursework. During my junior and senior years of college, I was a Resident Advisor for younger students in my college dorm. I have worked as both an interior and exterior painter and am good at using faux painting techniques. I have worked with a lawn service cutting grass. I have served food in a cafeteria — God bless the people who do that job every day! I have worked as a cleaning lady and a baby sitter. I was a paid house-sitter for professors who were on sabbatical. I worked as a front desk clerk in a hotel and as a server in several restaurants. I was the dining room supervisor/hostess in one restaurant, so in addition to tipping well, I make sure to reward exceptional service with a written compliment. I still remember how much it meant when I was working all those service-industry jobs when a customer took a moment to tell my boss how pleased they were. It still means the world to me when a client takes the time to write me a note to thank me. After college, I married “Mr. Meticulous” and went from the cluttered home in which I grew up to the opposite end of the scale. Mr. Meticulous had to have the coffee cups he collected on business trips in the “right” order in the cupboard. Even though I am organized, it was impossible to live up to the standards that he set for himself. After 6-½ years of trying to make our marriage work, I left Mr. Meticulous, and I am all about balance now.

I serve as a deacon in my church, Saint Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran, a Baltimore Historic Landmark with an original Tiffany Studios interior in Baltimore, MD. Serving as a deacon means being called to “a quiet ministry of service,” and that is very much how I view what I do as a professional organizer. I have watched countless clients move from not being able to let me in the door on our first visit to inviting their friends and family into their home for the first time in many years. I truly understand that clients find themselves in a mountain of clutter for many different reasons, so in compassion, I just roll up my sleeves, dig in, and clean up the mess. I make no effort at all to tell anyone about my faith — I let the way I live my life do that for me.


John and I are into antique cars. We like to spend sunny afternoons out in one of his old cars: a 1917 Model T Ford, a 1929 Model A Ford, and a 1937 Packard 120C. We enjoy going to antique car shows, auctions, and flea markets. We love being on or near the water any chance that we can get. When I am not out in an old car, volunteering at the Howard County Living Farm Heritage Museum, serving at church, or organizing someone’s home, I can usually be found relaxing in my flower garden.

Favorite quotations

“SUCCESS: To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, that is to have succeeded.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Spread the gospel to all the world — and if necessary, use words.”

— St. Francis of Assisi

“Early to bed, early to rise; work like hell and advertise.”

— A guest on the Tonight Show

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

— Matthew 6:19-21 / New International Version (NIV)