Lake Forest author publishes ‘Another Man’s Treasure’
James V. O'Connor
Updated: November 10, 2011 2:14PM
Jim O’Connor of Lake Forest hopes his newest book, “Another Man’s Treasure,” will make as big of a splash as his first.
“CUSS CONTROL, The Complete Book on How to Curb Your Cursing” was described as a media sensation when it was published in 2000. O’Connor, a former corporate public relations executive, appeared on more than 100 TV shows, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, The Today Show, The Early Show, CBS News Sunday Morning and The O’Reilly Factor.
In addition, he was interviewed by phone on more than 600 radio stations in seven countries and appeared in more than 400 newspapers and magazines.
Today O’Connor owns O’Connor Communications, Inc. of Lake Forest, which specializes in public relations for books, with his wife and business partner Lynda and Clutter Control, a home organizing company that serves clients on the North Shore.
Through his latest book, released last month, O’Connor has managed to meld all of those interests.
Q. Why did you write “Another Man’s Treasure”?
A. At first I wanted to write a how-to book on home organizing, but there were already 25 books on the market. I decided to write a novel, a mystery-romance, with a home organizer as the main character. It entertains readers while indirectly teaching them a few things about professional organizers, particularly their commitment to client confidentiality.
Q. How did you become a home organizer?
A. In 2003, we downsized our public relations firm to just the two of us and took an office in Lake Forest. I wanted to do something in addition to PR. I love organizing and physical work, so I became a home organizer while continuing to have PR clients. For three years I was the PR director for the Chicago Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers.
Q. How widespread is the problem of disorganized homes?
A. Almost every time I tell people I’m a home organizer, they said, “Boy, could we use you at our house.” Some people hire me on the spot, others have a spouse who resists or is too embarrassed for me to see how they live.
Q. What is the consequence of disorganization?
A. People can’t find what they are looking for. They don’t know where to put things because they’ve run out of space. Often, the messy spouse drives the neat spouse nuts — or vice versa.
Q. Is there hope for the hopelessly disorganized?
A. Yes. I show them that there is a logical place for everything, and everything should be returned to its place. Once I have made their home more livable, they are usually motivated to keep it that way.
Q. What is your No. 1 tip for getting organized?
A. Tackle one closet or one room at time, and get rid of everything you don’t absolutely need or love. Everybody has too much stuff. They feel a tremendous burden has been lifted after they toss or donate things that they no longer need.
Q. What is the benefit of an organized home?
A. Beyond the obvious benefits of having a neat home is peace of mind. I’ve had clients who invited guests over for the first time in years.
Q. What is your personal organizational challenge?
A. Helping people sell or find a home for furniture or other belongings that are too valuable to donate. One family had a custom-made marble table that seated 18 people. We even tried giving it to companies as a boardroom table, but no takers.
Q. Can people truly change?
A. Yes, if they are willing to change, which is usually the case if they take the first step of hiring a professional organizer.
Q. Who should read your book?
A. People who enjoy a search for hidden riches and figuring out clues, romance or romantic entanglements, and surprise endings. Men or women who have ever been attracted to someone other than their spouse — and I think that includes just about everyone — will be intrigued by the main character’s situation and how he handles it. The book is primarily about the complexity of relationships. It has plenty of conflicts, tension, surprises and even humor, but no murders, violence, vampires or drug dealers.
For more about O’Connor’s books, visit www.jamesvoconnor.com