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December 19, 2006 - GAITHERSBURG, MD – At 10 a.m. yesterday, Irene Salazar said she finally believed there is a Santa Claus.

When she opened her front door, she was amazed to see 20 smiling volunteers - armed with trash bags, label makers, boxes and a junk removal truck parked out front. The volunteers were from Clutterbusters!!, a Derwood, Maryland-based franchise that provides professional organization services. They surprised Salazar with the gift of a lifetime -- spending the entire day organizing her three-story townhouse free-of-charge.

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!,” said Salazar, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, as tears welled in her eyes. “Thank you so much for doing this!”

Betsy Fein, president of Clutterbusters!!, explained that Salazar was selected for the free day of professional organizing because her illness causes her trouble in maintaining order in her home, noting the annual “X The Mess for MS” holiday event has received the strong support of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Fein added that Salazar has a compelling story, as a wife and mother who is expecting plenty of family and friends to arrive for the holidays.

“The National MS Society is continually surprised by the creativity and innovation of our supporters. With people like Rick and Betsy Fein and their organization on our team, we know a cure for MS can’t be far away,” said Betsy O’Brien Anderson, Vice President of Development for the National Capital Chapter of the MS Society.

“This year we have selected an incredible person who just needs a little helping hand,” said Rick Fein, CEO of Clutterbusters Franchising, Inc., the parent company of Clutterbusters!! “We want to bring attention to the fact that many people with MS cannot maintain order in their homes, and it is a very serious problem for them.

“As the clutter accumulates, it causes stress, leading to an exacerbation of their symptoms, leading to even more problems maintaining order,” he added. “It’s a vicious cycle, and a major quality of life issue for them as well.”

There are thousands of “Irenes” out there, and while the MS Society generously provides financial assistance to others in this situation, more help is needed. If you want to give a more decent quality of life to sufferers of MS, we strongly urge you to contribute directly to the MS Society. It’s a very worthy cause, and we have seen an immediate and dramatic improvement in their outlook on life every time we do this event.

The Clutterbusters team concentrated their efforts in the basement, which had become a disorganized dumping ground for the family's furniture and clothes. As the day progressed, the team worked through the floors of her house, culminating with the organization of the bedrooms.

Besides the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Clutterbusters!! received support from other local organizations who want to ensure a merry holiday for the Salazar family.

• College Hunks Hauling Junk, which donated a truck and manpower, including disposal services

• Safeway and Giant Foods, both of which are donating grocery gift certificates for Salazar

• Lakeforest Mall, which donated a gift certificate for mall stores

• New Day Massage, which donated a massage for Salazar

• Qdoba Mexican Grill, which donated lunch

• Nikken Wellness Consultants, which donated Mag Steps, which are foot insoles that relieve foot pain

• Sonic Promos, which helped donate T-shirts for the organizing crew

• Jim Atkinson, who provided the photography

Clutterbusters!! holds the distinction of being the first professional organizing company to franchise. Locations include Howard County, MD, Metro DC, and Port St. Lucie, Fla.

About Clutterbusters!!:

Clutterbusters!! is the largest and most highly regarded professional organizing firm in the U.S. and the first to offer franchises to the public, with locations in Howard County, Md., Metro DC and West Palm Beach, Fl. It has been featured in Redbook Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, Franchise Times, Washington Spaces, and many other national and regional publications. Professional organizing is one of the most rapidly growing professions in the U.S., with membership in the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) growing by more than 40 percent in 2005. Popular television shows such as Clean Sweep, Mission: Organization, Clean House and Life Laundry have exposed the public to the amazing results that a few short hours with a professional organizer achieves.

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