Teenagers looking to bronze on the beach this summer are not alone in celebrating the return of the sun. Shelburne resident and owner of De-clutter Me! Ellen Gurwitz is anxious to get out on the water for a sailing adventure. “The sun is shining and there’s quite a wind blowing – we’re really going to be working as we race tonight!” The former Mamaroneck, New Yorker is a jack of several trades as it turns out.
Born and raised in New York, Gurwitz found her passion for the water at a very young age. “Living along the north shore of Long Island Sound was wonderful…. There was also so much culture in New York and that was really fantastic.” Gurwitz attended SUNY College of Brockport, N.Y. and obtained a degree in business management from Simmons College in 1983, or, as she likes to joke, about 150 years ago. In 2002 Gurwitz relocated to Shelburne to be closer to the lake as well as to help manage Something’s Brewing – a retail business offering homebrew supplies that she co-owned and managed with former spouse Tom for six years. “It was my full-time job,” she says. “I did everything from customer service to shipping – that includes hiring people, doing the financing, ordering product, supervising the staff, accounting, inventorying, and… I know I’m forgetting something!” This extensive and varied experience created a strong foundation of skills that Gurwitz utilizes daily in her new business.
“I finally listened to some friends who urged me to start a business to help clients get out from under too much stuff,” Gurwitz says, laying a business card on the table. Although she does not offer the work seen on reality television shows like Hoarders, De-clutter Me! offers a broad spectrum of services including space clearing for studios, closets, basements, gardens, and office spaces; organizing solutions to prevent further clutter and healthy habits coaching – all with assured confidentiality. “You never know what a person is going through. He or she could be embarrassed from the past, so I am always respectful. I also try to use humor, when appropriate, to keep things light. It can be hard work.” Immediately, there are visible results when you vacuum a cleared carpet or dust off a previously cluttered desk, but according to Gurwitz, the physical changes aren’t the most gratifying aspect of her work – it’s seeing a client’s frown of worry melt away into pure happiness.
When not putting her organizational skills to work, Gurwitz can be found reading the latest installment of Alexander McCall Smith’s Botswana detective series, sailing on Malletts Bay, or rifling through her ever-growing bedside pile of “The New Yorker.” During the summer she can be spotted enjoying the sunset at Shelburne Point – if she’s not in the water. Gurwitz does not have children, claiming that motherhood just wasn’t meant to be. “My romantic life,” she says, leaning forward and laughing, “is a source of ongoing interest and intrigue.”
Gurwitz is involved with making and broadcasting music as an alto in the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus and its spin-off, Bella Voce Women’s Chorus of Vermont, and as a producer and host of “Stone Soup,” a radio show that airs Thursday evenings on internet station www.wbkm.org. Gurwitz volunteers for several cultural organizations in Burlington and has served on and chaired the Richmond Selectboard. She once attended a 1966 Beatles concert where the box seat tickets sold for a mere $5.75 but she got a free ticket. “Nothing will ever top that show. Their sound system didn’t work, so they had to use the stadium’s, which was terrible, they forgot the words to a song, and police chased and caught an audience member who had run onto the field. It was incredible.”
To learn more or speak to Gurwitz about De-Clutter Me! visit her website www.clearclutternow.wordpress.com.