VM blog 2015 10 30 (before & after 1)There are many ways Sandy Spatz helps her clients reorganize their homes, condos and offices.

“I think what makes me the happiest is when I check in with them, and they say it’s still working,” Spatz said. “(When they say) ‘I’m using the new filing system,’ (or) ‘my home just flows better.’ Your house should be a sanctuary. That’s my goal, for you to feel really good in your space.”

Spatz, who lives in Andersonville, started her business in 2002, but it’s fair to say that she’s been interested in organizing and re-organizing all her life. She’s worked with clients living in Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, Rogers Park, and the Chicago suburbs, helping them move or to create a more stress-free environment.

Over the years, the owner of Step-by-Step by Sandy has had a variety of clients, some of whom have had a more difficult time sorting through their belongings than most. One woman in particular was recovering from a personal tragedy, and “she was scared to let go of anything. She had experienced so much loss.”

After working with Spatz for an extended period, the client lost 50 pounds, started entertaining again, and obtained a job. “She started feeling better about herself and the future and was able to finally make some progress,” Spatz said.

How did she do it? Every client is different, Spatz said, and she takes time to determine what process will work for VM blog 2015 10 30 (before & after 2)them. Are they more visual, meaning it’s helpful for them to have reminders within their sights of what they want and need? Do they have a small apartment or home filled with belongings they don’t need anymore, that they are working to pare down?

“I encourage people to buy a file cabinet and a shredder, but I think the learning comes from establishing a new habit,” Spatz said. “It’s really helping them see and really give 100 percent to try a new system, especially with paper. You have to practice it, learning and asking yourself the right questions. I try to learn how they think and how they live in their home.”

Spatz works with realtors and others when helping her clients move, packing and unpacking boxes and arranging furniture. “If you are able to, the next day, to take a shower, eat breakfast and get dressed for work, then that shows (great progress),” she said.

Different organizers fit different people, Spatz said. “You have to find the one that works for you. It’s a very personal, intimate process. Somebody is going through your stuff with you, and you want to feel comfortable.”

For more information about Step-by-Step by Sandy, visit Spatz’s website at

Victoria MartyVictoria Marty has written for newspapers and magazines for more than 15 years and recently moved to the Lincoln Square, Chicago area. A frequent runner who loves learning and exploring new places, she has perfected the art of getting lost while simultaneously finding unique landmarks, boutiques and out-of-the-way nooks worth writing about. Her blogs are geared toward the newly transplanted who want to learn as much about Chicago as they can, as quickly as possible.