Jo-Ann Lemieux loves order. She revels in taking a pile of clutter, paring ito essentials, stacking, sorting, piling, filing. Control of clutter.

When she started her own business, Strategically Organized, earlier this year, she realized she’d found her true mission in life.

And now, with the season of giving and Christmas upon us, Jo-Ann has taken her desire to give and found a very worthy recipient... the David Busby Centre. This busy Collier St centre provides daytime activity, companionship, health care, personal care, and just a place for people without work and without home. Located at Trinity Anglican Church basement, the David Busby Centre is a collection of busy caring people working with donated resources and scant funding.

And here, with every cupboard door opened, and half-office walls housing committed staff, Jo-Ann has found her calling.

So, she’s rallying area professionals--office organizers, construction trades, interior designers, painters, cleaners--to make a clean sweep of the centre one weekend in January. Planning for this will require finite detail.

“I droppd into the centre, not knowing anything about it,” said Jo-Ann to me this week. “We need you here!” said the staff. They showed me their place, and at first I felt the challenge was too big; I couldn’t do anything for them. I listened. I watched as they showed me their main room with its wooden tables and chairs where people sit and visit day after day. Then they showed me two office spaces made of up office dividers. One worker comes weekly and sits at a table in the main hall. The two office spaces don’t have any privacy, no locking file cabinets.

“As I listened and went from room to room, looking at the bathroom with one shower used by men and women, I saw a need for paint and a door. And I thought about all the people I know who could help.”

And that’s how Barrie’s version of Clean Sweep was born. Jo-Ann has taken stock of the needs for the two office spaces, a third main office which houses the director, an accountant, and a couple of part time workers. The nurse has an office that needs storage and order.

The kitchen calls out for a re-org! And the clothes donation cupboard!!! Bags upon bags of donated clothes, but who can find what?

Jo-Ann has put on her organization hat and put out a needs list that includes: 100 heavy duty plastic hangers (for the dozens of revolving winter coats donations), filing cabinets (one with a lock), file folders and hanging files, bankers boxes for archiving much of the paperwork that consumes precious floor space, room dividers (at least four), free standing shelving units (one for the nurse’s office, a couple for the clothes donation cupboard), large rubbermaid bins with lids for sorting clothes, storing health aids, and supplies. Paint (oil) for the bathroom stalls. Freestanding towel racks for the bathrooms. Labels. Markers. Someone to deliver food to the volunteers who’ll be working through an entire Friday night, all day Saturday and Sunday.

Jo-Ann has already had offers. Mike Feld of Cowden Woods is building wall mounted shelving units for the main office. Shirley Harris of Hodges Landing is the interior designer who’s making existing space much roomier. Susan Gill and Jane Laker of Simcoe County Clean will whip through the entire place once it’s been emptied early one Friday night in January.

Katie Whissel of Accord Media is developing the web site which will keep track of needs, wants, donations, and deeds. Lorraine Rice of Boss Technologies is writing proposals for various Barrie businesses to help out.

So here’s the plan. Once Jo-Ann has her team and supplies in place, volunteers will completely empty the basement facility one Friday early evening. Everything will be in the gymnasium level where volunteers will begin sorting, binning, archiving material, labelling bins. Downstairs, the cleaners and painters and construction people will be working their magic.

Once the surface work is completed on Saturday, teams will relocate everything, setting up offices, installing partitions, placing organized desks, filing systems, and boxes in places designed to give more floor space.

It truly is like a Trading Spaces version, Barrie style.

And what a January gift for the staff and visitors to The Busby Centre!

Interested in helping out? Take a look at the needs list and contact Jo-Ann to get involved. Email: info@strategicallyorganized.com. Phone 737-1718.

Clutter and chaos, give way to control!

Thanks, Jo-Ann.

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