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Meet Kathryn Bechen

Award-winning writer and bestselling book author

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I'm an American award-winning writer and bestselling book author who has written for many years about all things home and home office organizing and decorating, especially for small spaces.

I've spent most of my life weaving together a "portfolio career" of writing, organizing, decorating, and teaching.  I hold a B.A. in English/Education, and a C.I.D. decorating certificate. 

 

Nearly  every  boss I  have  ever  worked with -- including lawyers, educators, and librarians, just to name a few, asked me to help them organize something, and my 7th grade English students were my favorite "organizing clients" when I was a public school teacher.

After working for so many others, my entrepreneurial instincts kicked in and ...

In the early 90s, I founded my own consulting and seminars organizing business, Organized With Ease, which I managed for several years, before most people had ever heard of a "professional organizer" and before HGTV was on TV.  One of my favorite things I did in that business was to hire and mentor teen students and teach them my real life organizing tips on the job.  I also started Kathryn Bechen Designs online decorating website many years ago, but realized quickly that I'd rather write about decorating and organizing. That led me to be hired to write for some national home magazines and wedding magazines, (home article for newlyweds), and eventually to also write my Small Space Organizing book which has sold thousands of copies 'round the world and is published by a major Christian book publisher.  The publisher repackaged and retitled the book recently and it is now known as Maximizing Your Small Space.

Married 42+ years to my beloved husband Steve Bechen, who is now retired from full-time banking and working a "fun" seasonal virtual job helping people with their "tax thing-y muh-gigs," he also thinks spreadsheets are great fun. (!) He enjoys doing handy things around the house as well as golfing, and luckily he is incredibly patient being married to this words-are-her-whole-life-girl who thinks libraries are the best place for date night and that cozy old-fashioned little bookstores with sink-down-in-comfy-chairs, cats, and a tea  bar might just be what heaven will be like.  Steve also never complains when he's a "Kindle widower" but that could be sheer relief because he hauled my personal library of about 1000 books I owned at one time around the U.S. when we moved, and then he even put the bookshelves together for me. (Don't worry, I reciprocated for his handyman/assembly skills with his favorite home-cooked meals.)  :) Speaking of words and books, I have worked jobs in six libraries starting while at university, so Dewey Decimal and I are good friends! 

 

Steve and I moved to the Phoenix, Arizona area in 2018,  (pix),  after living in the San Diego, CA area for nearly 20 years, (pix), and both of us growing up on the U.S. Great Plains.  (Yes, near the Little House on the Prairie stuff.) We also spent many years living and working in Nebraska, (pix), where I interviewed Warren Buffett and his mother for my first article published in a small town newspaper when I was just a twenty-something. Years later, I found the article while cleaning out my writing files and on a whim, I sent a copy to Mr. Buffett's office as it mentioned his Mom so I thought he might enjoy it.  Amazingly, he wrote me this nice letter back. 

 

Regarding our own home-sweet-home, we have always chosen to live in small space homes so I know the challenges, and joys, firsthand.  The current home we bought for our retirement years is a little cottage-style patio home -- all 748 SF of it.  And yes, it's usually tidy and clean and we're also usually dreaming up our latest DIY home project that we work on together. Most recently, we turned our carport into a "secret garden getaway" using only faux plants we sourced online.  (Those "grow" better in the Arizona desert.)  We also enjoy cooking in our little kitchen and dining in our "at-home-bistro." (The pandemic did away with our former try-out-new-bistros hobby so oh well, we made a bistro at home!)  

 

Fifteen relocations of DIY organizing and decorating our homes together in three U.S. states and several towns and cities, and here's a marital miracle:  We still kiss goodnight. :)  Our mutual Christian faith helps that cause along and is the linchpin of our marriage as we joined the Episcopal/Anglican church denomination at a little church here in the early 1980s as newlyweds and have attended and served in other Episcopal churches too as we moved around America. One of my favorite things to do when we travel is to photograph welcoming Episcopal red church doors.  I also love to photograph homes and historic buildings with red doors.

Since both Steve and I are homebodies and adventurers, when we travel our favorite lodging is Bed & Breakfast Inns, because they "feel more like home" and we also like supporting inns as small businesses.  We have logged 69 inn stays around the U.S. in 17 states to date and are planning our 70th inn stay post-pandemic and hope to find one that's very unique to celebrate inn stay #70.  Staying in inns as our personal hobby also led to me being hired to write about some inns, which was great fun!

Why is organizing and decorating such a passion of mine?  I was born in Honolulu, HI and have lived across the U.S.A. all my life, but I'm of German descent with my ancestry traceable back to 1600s Germany.  Since Germans are the poster child for order, I'd say I come by my penchant for organizing honestly with about eight generations or so of organized ancestors! But contrary to stereotypes, we orderly Germans do have a sense of humor even though we love rules, systems, and punctuality.  (I've never ever missed an assigned writing deadline for a publisher, and I'm proud of that fact because publications rely on conscientious writers who can meet deadlines so as not to hold their publication date up!)

 

True story:  A realtor once said to me while he was in our home:  "Kathryn, are you German? Organizing is in your DNA!"   Well after all, "Ordnung muss sein" means "there must be order" in German. And Germans also have a word for coziness and belonging too:  "Gemutlichkeit."  So, when someone is in my home as my guest, I want them to enjoy the calm order, the comfy coziness, and a feeling of belonging.  

Quotes I love and strive to live by ...

 

"For God is not a God of disorder but of peace."  --1 Corinthians: 14:33, The Bible 

"Do all the good you can."  --John Wesley

"Never lose an opportunity for seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting."

--Emerson

"What the world really needs is more love and less paperwork."  --Pearl Bailey

"A home without books is like a body without a soul."   -- Cicero

"I am going to make everything around me beautiful - that will be my life."  --Elsie de Wolfe

Wishing YOU a beautiful and orderly life and home!    Kathryn Bechen

Hi, I'm Kathryn ...