Meet Regina Leeds

Organizing Expert. Author. Speaker. Coach

Meet Regina Leeds

Organizing Expert. Author. Speaker. Coach

Defying Expectations, Forging My Path...

I grew up in Brooklyn at a time when life was simpler and a path was indicated for men and women. My issue was I wanted a different path and my tenacity caused my parents and teachers much upset. My parents didn’t have a perfect marriage (does that exist?) but they shared laughter when they watched a TV situation comedy. I asked my mother how actors on a show made money. I could not believe anyone got paid to have fun. She looked at me as if discovering for the first time that her child was insane and said: “They get paid just like daddy does when he goes to work.” That was the moment I decided to become an actress. I was five years old.

I majored in Theater at Hunter College in Manhattan and was an actress for many years. Unemployment is rampant in the ranks of Screen Actors Guild and most have what is now called a ‘side hustle.’ Organizing was just being recognized as a profession and I thought it was a perfect fit for me. For 10 years I did both acting and organizing and then a funny thing happened. One day I realized that I got as much joy from transforming an environment and making someone’s life easier as I did from acting. I left acting, embraced organizing as my life’s work and decided to write one book. The rest as they say is history.

A Journey of Transformation...

I am a perennial student. I am always in quest of knowledge that makes life easier. Along the way I studied meditation and breath work; got interested in conscious eating and took up numerous forms of exercise. I never dreamed that these stress relieving modalities would one day be things I would teach my organizing clients. Society says you ‘should’ be organized as if the steps are planted in your DNA rather than a skill set anyone can learn. The guilt and shame interfered with the work at hand. A few tips not only freed my clients they became tools they could use every day of their lives. It was all win-win.

Actors portray other human beings and I felt I needed to understand myself better in order to create believable characters. I began therapy solely to enrich my acting career never once imagining that a deeper understanding of my life would bring a surprise benefit. From the start as I listen to my clients tell me about their situations I can easily intuit the deeper issues that keep them mired in chaos. Until the unspoken and unrecognized causes of pain are addressed, one is not getting organized, healing or making lasting change. You are simply making the space tidy. The change is  cosmetic. It’s why most people see the chaos return in two weeks.

I have learned that all knowledge is one. Everything works together and nothing is wasted. While I am a planner for sure, I have also discovered the great gifts that await us when we surrender. There’s no greater impetus to surrender than a serious diagnosis. It forces you to reexamine every facet of your life.

A Journey of Resilience and Revelation...

My business flourished and much to my surprise I wrote 10 books including New York Times bestseller One Year to an Organized Life. I didn’t see the deeper components of organizing until life tossed me into the unknown territory called cancer. I tell the story in One Year to an Organized Life.

My best friend at the time was in my home about 2 hours after the diagnosis was delivered. I was doing the ugly cry. You know face scrunched, tears tumbling uncontrollably and snot running out of my nose. It wasn’t pretty. She asked: “What is it you teach your organizing clients, Regina?” Truly I wanted to smack her. I assumed I was going to die and she wanted to talk about organizing?!


I told her I didn’t know and she said: “You teach them that the whole of anything is overwhelming and they have to reduce projects to small increments they can handle, right?” “Yes,” I muttered through tears wondering where she was going with this. “Well,” she said, “tomorrow when you get up the only thing you need to do is prepare for your hysterectomy. After surgery all you need to do all you need to do is prepare for the first chemo and so on until you are done.”

Lights went on in my being as I understood for the first time that my work wasn’t about creating gorgeous closets, pantries and file systems. Those were the by-products of a way of thinking and approaching life. Zen Organizing™️ was about finding and achieving your life purpose. Cancer gave me more than it took and that’s over 20 years ago.

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