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8 Questions for Terri Albert, professional organizer, folk-music lover, world traveler

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JYSK Terri Albert photo 1

The Chicago Organizer

Terri Albert wants to get into your drawers… and closets, basements, attics and garages. Terri is now in her dream job as a professional organizer. Dubbing herself The Chicago Organizer, she says: “I hold your hand to help you make necessary decisions you have put off, to get rid of the excess clutter in your home— freeing you up to enjoy what really matters in your life. I take a no-nonsense approach to clearing your space and setting you up for success.” Even as a kid, her folks made her a T-shirt that said “Neat Freak”!

A native Michigan-er and U of M grad, Terri has made Chicago home for 25 years but has traveled the world. She worked in magazine ad sales for 13 years— for everything from Ms. to Soap Opera Digest. She still sells ads, on the side, for Divorce Magazine, which she helped launch. And she substitute-teaches at Jewish schools.

So if you collect clutter, read incessantly, or ride elephants, Terri Albert is a Jew you should know!

1. What is your favorite blog or website?
My favorite website is The Chicago Public Library site as I’m always requesting books to read, DVDs to watch, and frequently renewing online since I have so many books I want to read and don’t get to them by the due date!
2. If time and money were limitless, where would you travel?
Around the world— I want to go everywhere! Probably Spain as first choice since I’ve never been there. I’ve been to Russia twice already, but would go back even to places I’ve been before (i.e. Budapest, Prague, Israel, Thailand, Portugal and The Rock of Gibraltar). Get me back on that elephant’s back and white-water rafting!!

3. If a movie was made about your life, who would play you?
Someone who has hyper energy like I do— I was told when I was younger that my looks resembled Tatum O’Neal’s. (Do I still look like her and is she a Tasmanian devil-type like I am?)

4. If you could have a meal with any two people, living or dead, famous or not, who would they be? Where would you eat or what would you serve?
Eleanor Roosevelt, because I liked reading her biography as a kid and Hillary Clinton, as I admire strong and smart women. The last meal I cooked was damn good so that could be the menu: cranberry chicken; quinoa with butternut squash, cranberry and almonds; and roasted butternut squash and dark chocolate for dessert. Dinner will be in a beautiful but warm and inviting apartment in NYC with a good view of the city. I love the energy of New York City!

5. What’s your idea of the perfect day?
Biking for hours on a ‘rails to trails’ path in Wisconsin; maybe hitting some tennis balls; jumping in a lake/pool; hiking in the woods for awhile; cooking over an open fire; and singing by the campfire with a wonderful man under the stars (with a beer of course!). And then going to sleep in a motel! Or, second choice: matinee on Broadway in NYC. Lunch of a pizza slice and iced coffee. Then evening performance of another play, musical preferred. And then some people watching in The Village.

6. What do you love about what you do?
I love straightening up messy spaces—especially when the owner of the clutter feels their clutter is insurmountable. It’s a win/win for both of us. Bring on those messy closets and drawers and corners and cupboards!

JYSK Terri Albert photo 2

For those extra dirty jobs...

7. What job would you have had if not the one you have now?
Teacher in a Jewish day school or maybe administrator.

8. What’s your favorite Jewish thing to do in Chicago?
I love listening to Jewish music and have loads of CD’s from Debbie Friedman to The Piamentas, Tirzah Firestone, Shefa Gold, Hannah Tifferet Siegel… and my new favorites from The Kallah— Martin Levson and The Kirtan Rabbi.

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