All spaced out

Published 12:55 pm Tuesday, February 24, 2009

You say you will get around to it next week. You say it is all your husband’s clutter. But let’s admit it; it is time for a confession. You are cluttered, an abashed ‘messy’ as All Spaced Out’s owner, Kim Sumpter would say.

Being a passionate believer in all things organizing, I was quick to ask at what point a person needs intervention from a specialist.

“When you began thinking, ‘Why everyone else can pull it together, and I cannot’ is a start,” Sumpter said.

If your mess begins to cause depression, marital problems, issues with your children’s livelihood or affects your day-to-day routine, it is time for a change, she explained.

To say Sumpter takes her career seriously is an understatement. Being a reformed ‘mess-y’, she knows the personal toll such disorganization can take on your life. She was not always as ordered as she was when I sat down with her.

She began learning the skills in her previous career life as an event planner. She then offered to clean her husband’s office, and her skills quickly spread to his coworkers. Making a business out of it never crossed her mind until a friend suggested it.

In 2002, Sumpter began All Spaced Out from her home, and took a leap of faith by opening her current location on Amphitheater Road and absorbing the inventory of a distributor that went out of business in 2005.

Four years later, there are five full-time organizers and five part-time ‘space cadets’ serving Shelby and Jefferson county, as well as homes throughout the state. All Spaced Out has even organized homes in New Orleans and Atlanta. They cater to any budget from a $50 closet to a $25,000 garage, but the prices usually fall into the $1,500-$2,500 range.

Sumpter admits to relishing the smaller spaces because they pose a greater challenge.

“The more angles and obstacles, the more creative I have to get. I am forced to think out of the box,” she said.

Sumpter has seen chronic hoarders with “snow plow paths” as the only way to walk, young children who won’t even throw away sentimental gum wrappers, and a man with 120 pairs of shoes.

With regulars returning and word of mouth bringing her greatest draw of customers, Kim Sumpter is happy with where the business is going. With a personal closet that has stretched beyond my control, she may be getting a follow-up visit sooner rather than later.

Jessica Vance can be reached by e–mail at