I may never have become an organizer if it wasn’t for Angela Wallace. So I was heartbroken to hear this morning that she had died of “a sudden and tragic brain infection,” as her family explained.
Angela was a force to be reckoned with within the world of organizing. She was the immediate past president of the National Association of Professional Organizers, and was always very active in the San Francisco Bay Area chapter.
I met Angela when I took some classes from her and Rhonda Elliott, over nine years ago, when I was just getting ready to launch my business. In one class, we got to observe Angela working with a client; I remember listening to her and thinking “I can do this.”
And in another class, Angela helped me get over my stumbling block of picking a business name. “Your name, Professional Organizer” will work just fine to start, she told me. I could always change it to something else later, when I had a better idea of the type of organizing I wanted to do, she said. And here it is, over nine years later, and my business name is still Jeri Dansky, Professional Organizer.
I was just reading an interview Angela did with the New York Times in March 2012, while she was the NAPO president. I loved reading this part, which I can just hear Angela saying:
Q: How do you feel about the Container Store, or any store that sells organizing supplies?Angela, we will miss both your brain and your heart, so very much.
A: I think it’s given more options for solutions. And yet the average person buying stuff in there is just going to become more cluttered. I never take anything with me to a job. They already have enough boxes. My biggest tool is my brain.
Photo courtesy of organizer Julie Bestry, taken at the NAPO 2013 conference in New Orleans.
Update later on Nov. 13: Here's one more photo of Angela, courtesy of Rhonda Elliott, and also taken in New Orleans, at her presidential reception. It's a photo that Angela really liked; she had asked Rhonda for a copy.