San Francisco Public Defender’s Office

“One employee had a complete turn-around from a very unorganized workplace to a clean, compartmentalized environment.”

San Francisco Public Defender’s Office Gives Its Employees an Extreme Makeover

•  Organization makeovers
•  Group seminar and workshop
•  Paper systems
•  Time management
•  Storage systems

When your office represents 20,000 people a year, organization skills aren’t merely an option. They’re a necessity.

But in San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s office, not all employees are natural-born organizers. Some employees in this “high-volume, intense, and busy” office also had high-volume piles of paper.

In February 2008, Adachi realized everyone in the office—and not just the messiest—could benefit from expert guidance. The challenge was how to get everyone excited about organizing—without putting anyone on the spot. He decided to hold an Extreme Organization Makeover contest. During the contest, employees voted for the coworkers they thought most needed a makeover. “Winners” got to work with a professional organizer—but only if they wanted to. (They did.) Everyone else attended a group workshop.

After interviewing several professional organizers, Adachi decided to work with Custom Living Solutions’ Joshua Zerkel, CPO®. “I was impressed with his professionalism,” Adachi said. Joshua worked with the contest winners in 3-hour individual sessions and several follow-ups. In a separate group workshop, Joshua taught the entire office strategies to implement right away. Everyone improved, Adachi said. “One employee had a complete turn-around from a very unorganized workplace to a clean, compartmentalized environment.”

“I’d highly recommend Custom Living Solutions,” Adachi said. “Josh is a true professional and knows what he’s doing. He can help you organize your workspace to enhance both productivity and creativity.”

Is it time to cut clutter and boost productivity at work like the San Francisco Public Defender team did? Contact us today.

Sandra – Holistic Health Counselor, Author

“I knew Josh could help me get the right business systems in place – and he did.”

Sandra Grows Her Business with Easy-Bake Systems


•  Paper systems
•  Overall business processes
•  Storage Development
•  Space planning
•  Improving processes with assistant

As a holistic health counselor, Sandra teaches busy people how to create simple systems for healthy cooking.

From the best time of day to shop for groceries to how to make 10-minute egg-drop soup, Sandra’s clients learn how to incorporate health into their lives—without living in the kitchen.

When Sandra started her business 3 years ago, she realized she needed someone to do for her business what she helped her clients do for their health: Create simple, effective systems.

A naturally organized person, Sandra instantly recognized a fellow detail-junkie in Custom Living Solutions’ Joshua Zerkel. “I could tell he was ‘anal’—just like me! But he was also calm and non-judgmental,” she said. Sandra hired him on the spot. “I knew Josh could help me get the right business systems in place—and he did.”

For example, they set up shelving and systems so she could grab client handouts on the go, and easily track who got what. By working with Custom Living Solutions up front, Sandra prevented overwhelm down the road. She grew her business quickly. Today, years later, she has time to focus on higher-value activities like writing a book and speaking.

Thanks to Custom Living Solutions, Sandra’s business supports her life—and not the other way around.

Do you want to grow your productivity – and your bottom line? Contact us today!

Marjorie – Full-Time Mom

“Josh got the clutter out of my brain and into something physical.”

Marjorie Turns Overwhelm Into Delight with New Home Office Systems and Storage


•  Home organization
•  Paper systems and file storage
•  Computer systems
•  Processes for to-do lists
•  Coordinating with personal assistant

Marjorie had boxes everywhere. And emotional clutter to match.

The mother of two had never felt the need for a “system” before. But a series of major changes brought matters to a head: She’d just moved to California from Connecticut. Her family had just bought a home. Her four-year-old had just started school. Her father had just passed away.

It wasn’t that things weren’t getting done. It was that Marjorie had so many things to do that she couldn’t do anything.

Hoping a personal assistant could help, Marjorie hired someone to come to her home office a few hours a week. But searching through boxes for important records proved even more difficult for her assistant than it was for Marjorie. Marjorie’s assistant recommended hiring a personal organizer. After interviewing several candidates, Marjorie’s assistant recommended Custom Living Solutions.

Marjorie was a believer as soon as they met. Joshua’s non-judgmental, professional demeanor made her believe there was a way out of the clutter. Over the course of several weeks, they sorted through all the boxes and set up systems for getting things done, including how to delegate. Segmented lists like “to call” and “to pay” gave Marjorie bite-sized actions to take. “Now I can accomplish things instead of getting so overwhelmed that I shut down,” she said. “Believe it or not, my favorite file is ‘bills to pay.’ I have yet to pay a bill late.”

Marjorie still falls off the wagon, she said. But that’s okay. “Now I have a place to go. My system keeps me on track.” As new challenges arise, she checks in with Custom Living Solutions every few months to keep things humming. “This takes a lot of anxiety out of my life,” she said. “My life is much more manageable.”

Whenever Marjorie meets another overwhelmed mom, she sings Joshua’s praises. “I tell them, ‘Josh got the clutter out of my brain. He replaced my brain with my filing system,’” she said. “They always say, ‘I want a Josh, too!’”

Ready to get more productive in your home office? Contact us today!

Milo – Financial Advisor

“Clutter is a hallmark of indecisiveness. It has a psychic pull on you. But if you put the right processes in place, you can regain your focus.”

Milo Boosts Business By Clearing Off His Desk (& Creating a Few Good Processes)


•  Coordination with assistant and workflow
•  Paper management
•  File and storage setup
•  Time Management

Milo has been a financial advisor long enough to know what clients want.

“I’ve come to believe it’s imperative that the only paperwork my clients see on my desk is their personal folder,” he said. “Anything else is a distraction. Any amount of paper accumulated is a sign they’re crowding my schedule.”

But, with success comes more paperwork. Although Milo was far from being messy, he found the paper monster increasingly difficult to avoid. “Sales and marketing are a part of my job, so the more clearly and crisply I deal with client routine services matters, the more clients I can invite into my business,” he said. “I thought I needed a fresh pair of eyes and new organization techniques.”

After seeing a mailer from Custom Living Solutions, Milo was so impressed he scheduled a consultation. He and Certified Professional Organizer Joshua Zerkel began working together. Custom Living Solutions helped Milo with everything from workflow between him and his assistant, to paper management, to file and storage setup, to time management. Keeping his office running smoothly meant keeping papers off his desk—without creating the need for a larger office.

Milo went from feeling “stymied by paper log jams” to being inspired. He eliminated old paper in cabinets, and experienced a “feeling of liberation and a renewed sense of clarity.” Now there was a “protocol for handling paper” and a “home for everything,” he said.

Years later, the change has stuck. “I get more work done, and that means more business,” he said. “I feel my clients are a little more relaxed now. Clutter is a hallmark of indecisiveness,” he said. “It has a psychic pull on you. But if you put the right processes in place, you can regain your focus.”

Want to control your paper – and more? Contact us today!

Janet – Independent Consultant

“Josh’s relaxed, pragmatic, can-do approach to it all made it seem pretty easy for someone like myself.”

Janet Redesigns Her Life—Starting with Her Closet


•  Organizing home
•  Home office
•  Closet Systems
•  Storage
•  Paper systems
•  Overall lifestyle design

Many people think of organization as a luxury. Something you do when you have time, like sorting paperclips or arranging books on a shelf. But for Janet, organization was no luxury at all. It was a lifesaver that gave her the clarity she needed to redesign her life. Starting with her closet.

It all began with a series of unpleasant events. In a single year, Janet moved twice—from the
East Bay to Los Angeles and back again—helped her daughter through a personal problem, and quit a stressful job. She returned to the San Francisco to find her home a mess and her mind feeling just as cluttered. She didn’t know what to do next.

That’s when she discovered Custom Living Solutions. After arranging a home consultation with Certified Professional Organizer Joshua Zerkel, she decided to work with him. “His professionalism indicated that he took organization very seriously,” she said. “He didn’t present it as a decadent, extravagant thing. For him, it was pragmatic and practical. I found that very reassuring.”

They started with the closet, transforming it from a gigantic filing cabinet into a soothing home office. They proceeded to the kitchen and then through the entire home. Rather than dreading organizing, Janet began to look forward to their sessions. “Josh is so professional and congenial,” she said. “It feels like your friend is coming over.”

Janet and Joshua also worked together to put systems in place that gave Janet a process for organizing her ideas. For Janet, getting systems in place was personal as well as professional. The new physical space translated into new mental space—just what she needed to envision a clear professional path. She started her own consulting practice from the home office they had created.

“Josh’s relaxed, pragmatic, can-do approach to it all made it seem pretty easy for someone like myself,” she said. Today, whenever she faces a challenge, Janet asks herself: “What would Josh do?” Thanks to their work together, she usually knows the answer.

Want to learn how to regain control in your office or home? Contact us today!

FTC compliance statement: Results not typical. Individual results may vary. None of the people providing testimonials have been given compensation for their testimonials.