About Hazel

Hazel Thornton


I am an author and genealogist who loves helping others to discover and tell the stories of their photos, families, and things.

During my professional organizing career, I helped my clients find the freedom that comes from getting Organized for Life, which is the name of my Albuquerque-based company. I decluttered homes and offices and created organizing systems and ideal schedules. I was the only organizer in New Mexico with a background in both engineering and fine arts, which makes me a creative problem-solver. The engineer in me created The Clutter Flow Chart Collection, and my artistic side came in handy when redesigning rooms and staging homes for sale.

But it was photo organizing that eventually rekindled my love of genealogy research. I also became interested in end-of-life matters, which include downsizing and making decisions now, so your loved ones won’t have to later. All my experience and interests dovetailed in the form of my 2021 book, What’s a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy.

My qualifications include three decades of genealogy research experience; 17 years of organizing clients’ stuff, space, and time (homes and offices, in person and virtually); formal education in mechanical engineering, drafting, and fine arts; and 20+ years as a technology planner at a large telecommunications company.

Clients appreciate my straight-forward, non-judgmental approach to their unique projects and challenges. No single organizing system — or approach to preserving your family history — works for everyone. Whether you are organizing your photos, downsizing your possessions, or telling your story, my job is to help you find the methods and tools that work best for YOU!

Let me know how I can help you by contacting me via email or scheduling a free 20-minute call.

Stay in touch by finding me on social media, subscribing to my newsletter and subscribing to my blog.

NAPO2017 Networking for Introverts

— Hazel

More background:

Born to Organize (blog post)

The egret represents freedom from clutter (blog post)

Organized for Life….and beyond?! (blog post)

Accomplishments, Honors, and Awards:

NAPO2017 President’s Award

Org4life: The First 15 Years (blog post)


Platinum POINT Contributor NAPO2015 Los Angeles President's Award
NAPO2017 Pittsburgh
FeedSpot Top 100 Blog
Megastar Blogger


Professional Organizations:


  • National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) 2004-present (Emeritus, Golden Circle, Authorship and Publishing SIG, POINT Committee, Education Committee, 2017 President”s Award recipient)
  • Professional Organizers of New Mexico (PONM) 2005-present (Founding Member)
  • NAPO Virtual Chapter  2013-2020 (Secretary 2013-2014)
  • The Photo Managers (APPO) 2015-present
  • Former member of the former Interior Redesign Industry Specialists (IRIS)

Professional Education:

Hazel was honored to receive the President’s Award at the 2017 NAPO conference in Pittsburgh, PA. Left: NAPO President Ellen Faye. Right: POINT Committee Chair Nadine Levy.



Golden Circle Ask the Organizers Panel, NAPO2014 in Scottsdale, AZ (Hazel far right)

Golden Circle Ask the Organizers Panel, 2014 NAPO conference in Scottsdale, AZ. That’s Hazel on the far right, and Barry Izsak, former NAPO President, in the middle.

shooting for the stars photo of me ramona and donna

Having fun with Ramona Creel (left) and Donna Smallin Kuper (right) at the 2015 NAPO conference in Los Angeles.

  • Ongoing Organizing and Genealogy Classes, Webinars, and Conferences
  • NAPO Specialist Certificates: Workplace Productivity, Residential Organizing, Household Management, Life Transitions
  • TPM Certified Personal Photo Organizer
  • IRIS Certified Interior Redesigner and Real Estate Stager

Formal Education:

  • BSME (Mechanical Engineering), San Diego State University
  • AS (Drafting), AA (Fine Arts), MiraCosta College
  • Various classes, Boise State University

Previous Career:

Hazel Thornton and Sandy Dixon

Hazel (left) with Sandy Dixon, former Executive Director of IRIS (Interior Redesign Industry Specialists). 2007

  • 21-1/2 years in the Network Engineering & Planning Department of a large Telecommunications Company


PONM members (Hazel on the right) with Standolyn Robertson (middle), NAPO President, at 2011 NAPO Conference.

PONM members (Hazel on the right) with Standolyn Robertson (middle), NAPO President, at 2011 NAPO Conference.

  • Click here to see PONM group volunteer organizing project photo stories!


    Hazel (far right) with her PONM colleagues and Organizing Expert Geralin Thomas, on the set of A&E Hoarders. Click on the photo to view our behind-the-scenes photo album! 2011

  • Friends of the Public Library Volunteer (2005 – 2020) and Board Member (2007-2009)
  • Women Make a Difference Advisory Council and Photographer (2011-2018)
  • Volunteer Team Leader on a local NM episode of A&E Hoarders (2011)
  • Albuquerque Shred-A-Thon (2009)
  • Albuquerque Recycle-A-Thon (2008)
  • Recording for the Blind (1990’s)
  • Girl Scout Camp Counselor (1970’s)


  • Current: Genealogy, Backyard Birding, Book Club, TV
  • Back-burner: Piano, Photography, Travel, French

Social Networking:

Albuquerque Shred-A-Thon

Albuquerque 2009 Shred-A-Thon, organized by by PONM, of which Hazel (in black pandounding member, to celebrate GO (Get Organized) Month.

Hazel with Angela Wallace (RIP), NAPO President, at 2013 NAPO Conference in New Orleans.

Hazel with Angela Wallace (RIP), NAPO President, at the 2013 NAPO Conference in New Orleans.

About the Egret Logo:

In the spring of 2007 I attended the NAPO conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Can you imagine 800 professional organizers in one room?! Need I add that the event was very organized? Afterwards, while touring the backroads of Minnesota in my rental car, I observed an egret taking flight. I thought, That’s it! The feeling of getting organized! Of freedom from clutter. Of being able to relax, exhale, appreciate life, enjoy one’s space, and reach one’s goals. Thus I was inspired to create the egret logo. My business cards became less corporate-looking and more personal. And my new tag line is: Less clutter. More life.

You can read more in this blog post: The egret represents freedom from clutter

Meanwhile, as my business grew and changed, the egret took on additional meanings: Organized for Life….and beyond?!


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  1. Hi – I’m eighty-two now and I’m planning to put together a very thorough family history. So — I would love to have your help. Just what the doctor ordered..!

    I’ve been in the arts all my life – professional jazz pianist for nine years – then into graphics: silkscreen printing and sign-making – photography – I shot many reels of 16mm as the kids were growing up (we had five). I also do woodworking.

    I’ve written three books. One about jazz piano playing – one entitled “Route 66 – Postcard Art” and “John Clark Bresnik Answers Questions” – so I’ve done some writing and now I’d like to do an extensive report on the families.

    All for now,


  2. I am a Boone descendant. In tracing the Boone family back, I run into name changes. It seems Boone came from Bohun, Debohun, de Bohun, and so on. I get confused with the different spellings, particularly when royalty enters in, such as Sir Humphrey of Midhurst, Lord of Midhurst, etc. Do you have recommendations tracing these lines?

    • Have you compared notes with any Boone “genealogy cousins”? (The kind you meet by doing research online, or by testing your DNA?) Or joined any Boone family tree groups on social media?

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