Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Stay at home mom turns into professional organizer, regular on 'Hoarders'

Posted April 8, 2012 8:59 p.m. EDT

More than a decade ago, before launching her successful organizing business and becoming a regular on the popular A&E series "Hoarders," Geralin Thomas was a stay at home mom.

You could find her shuttling her young children to play groups and getting to know the other moms. Bit by bit, she began creating what would eventually become her career.

She started helping moms prepare for the playgroups. She began rearranging her friends' cabinets or laundry rooms. Then she started an informal lecture series for moms, talking about her favorite products.

A friend's husband finally convinced her that organizing could be more than a hobby after she helped him with his garage and files.

"He said, 'you know, you have to start charging for this. You have a business here,'" said Thomas, whose boys are now teens.

Metropolitan Organizing was born.

Thomas, who lives in Cary, began helping what she calls "normally disorganized people" get their homes and lives in order, cleaning out closets, rearranging homes and decluttering offices.

And while she and her staff of organizers continue to help clients who need their homes or businesses organized, her focus switched gears several years ago.

Thomas had been working with a long-time client when she noticed a major shift in her behavior. The woman began drinking regularly and started spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in a short amount of time. Thomas recommended she see a mental health professional.

"Long story short, she got the help she needed," she said. "She was indeed in need of some therapy."

Thomas began working with chronically disorganized people with mental health issues, often collaborating with their therapist.

Eventually A&E called, looking for professional organizers like Thomas who specialize in hoarders. She's been on the show "Hoarders" for all four seasons and calls the work "fascinating."

"I like this niche of people," she tells me. "And I like helping people who are isolated and embarrassed."

Hear more from Thomas in the video. And check back here on Wednesday as we launch a series featuring Thomas and Susan Orenstein of Orenstein Solutions. They'll share tips and information on getting your life and home in order.