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Decluttering the classroom

Businesswomen pitch in to get Alta Lake School in tip-top shape for September



Forget sharpening pencils and cleaning chalkbrushes — staff at Whistler’s Alta Lake School did a complete overhaul on the weekend, with the help of two professional organizers.

Sara Leach, owner of Organomics Professional Organizing, and Hailey Guille, owner of Perfect Fit Strategies, decided to team up and offer their services to help prepare for the new school year.

“By getting them organized prior to September, it’s just one less thing to stress about once everybody starts coming and school starts,” said Leach.

Vicky Bunbury is administrator at the independent school. She was delighted to hear that Guille and Leach had volunteered their services to help get the school organized.

“It’s really one of those things that you always want to get to, and in the busy day to day, you just don’t have the time,” said Bunbury.

The facility itself is very small, housing only about 40 students in two portable classrooms.

Guille and Leach developed a plan to declutter the school, rearrange office spaces, and implement new organizational tools, like a whiteboard message system for staff members and a centralized notice system for each grade level.

“We needed to find something that wasn’t going to create more work, while at the same time, helping smooth out the communication system,” said Leach.

They presented their plan, complete with diagrams and detailed directions, to a team of parents and staff who were in charge of implementing the strategies last weekend.

Though Leach and Guille are competitors in the local organizing business, they have been trying to find a project to collaborate on for a few years now.

In the spring, both women attended a business event put on by the Women of Whistler.

“One of the sessions we attended was on strategic alliances and how you can turn your competitors into your co-operators,” said Leach.

Since both women have ties to Alta Lake School, they decided to team up and give staff organizational tools they can use for the upcoming school year and the future.

“The plan that we applied for them and the process that we took them through is something that anybody can do after they’ve been with a professional organizer,” said Guille.

Leach and Guille also hope their project at the school will help raise local awareness of their profession.

“Professional organizing is a growing industry and it’s something that a lot of people don’t know about, so we thought well, maybe there’s an opportunity to do something that could showcase what we’re able to do, while at the same time doing good for the community,” said Guille.

Students will head back to their reorganized school on Tuesday.