As I write this, it’s 2022 and I’m currently celebrating 16 years in business as a Professional Organizer!
16 Years of helping women be more peaceful, productive, and prosperous by organizing their homes, businesses, and lives. I’m so passionate about organization because I know that when we’re organized and in harmony, our entire lives and well-being are better.
I’ve always been organized by nature. At five years old (much to my parent’s dismay), I’d show up at the neighbor’s doorstep with a dustpan and broom offering to help them clean. Throughout my childhood, I was constantly organizing closets, drawers, and cabinets throughout our house.
It made perfect sense that I’d end up in the field of accounting, where I worked for thirteen years before retiring from that career so I could stay home with our children. I began working in direct sales and raising my kids.
That’s when everything changed. As my children grew and my business flourished, I lost my parents within weeks of each other.
My once organized home and business were in complete chaos and trying to manage home, business, and life became a struggle. I began pouring myself into research to get back on track and eventually, I learned the tools and strategies that worked for me to get organized. For the past 16 years, I’ve built my business helping others do the same and never looked back!
In this blog, I’m sharing the five top lessons I’ve learned over the past 16 years as a business owner that you can apply to your organization efforts too.
Lesson #1: Stop Spinning Your Wheels and Just Implement.
As a business owner, I fall into the trap that many do of taking training after training, course after course, and thinking about ideas until I’m blue in the face. What I see with so many other business owners and professionals that do this is we often don’t ACT. We keep waiting to get all the knowledge we need, or learn just this “one more thing”.
After 16 years in business, I’ve learned that the power is in doing it. You definitely need a certain level of skills and training, but so often we’re simply using this course or program to delay, procrastinate, and stave off the fear of taking action.
This relates to our organizational efforts as well. I see clients waiting until everything is “perfect” before they start organizing or they rush out to purchase all of the systems, pretty bins, and fancy organizational tools before they get started. The reality is, the time is NOW and the time has always been now to begin. More often than not, you need to get into the clutter and start purging, before you know which system to implement.
The perfect moment never comes and you’re more ready than you think.
Stop delaying and begin.
Lesson #2: Saying “Yes” to Things that Aren’t in Alignment
This has been a tough lesson to learn and I’ve learned it the hard way time and time again. As a professional organizer, I work closely with my clients to help them through their struggles. Oftentimes, there is an emotional component as well. It’s really important as a business owner that I have a good connection with my clients, there’s a level of mutual trust and respect, and we both respect one another’s boundaries.
And at the same time, it can be so easy, even when we see those red flags to say “yes” out of a place of fear, desperation, or wanting to help. Every single time, the clients that aren’t in alignment end up being the ones that cause issues or result in my feeling drained and discouraged.
The same goes for organizing, both in your physical environment and personal environment. If your life is filled with commitments, relationships, projects, or even stuff that isn’t in alignment with you, it’s going to leave you feeling off.
It takes trusting your gut and being able to spot what doesn’t serve you to start weeding some of this out of your life. If the people, situations, or things in your life are causing you stress and bringing you down, it’s OK to steer clear of the toxicity.
When you start inviting in only things in alignment with you, you will flourish and those around you will as well.
Lesson #3: Put Systems and Strategies in Place that Work for YOU
In business, there’s a system, strategy, and tool to solve just about any problem. The issue is, it’s not always the way YOU need it to solve it!
Remember that systems, strategies, and tools (everything from project management software to organizational methods) are often created for the masses and are cookie-cutter in nature. They may not be the solution that works for YOU.
Over the past 16 years, I’ve leaned into taking approaches that work for me and leaving the rest. I don’t need to do it anyone else’s way and you don’t either!
Lesson #4: Setting Boundaries
I could write an entire blog on boundaries alone. Establishing boundaries as a business owner is a huge key to success. This includes boundaries of when you work and when you take time away, when you’re available for people to reach you, and whether or not you’re doing things you don’t want to be doing. Boundaries can be physical or emotional and can be loose or rigid. You need to understand yourself and what works best for you.
I’ve gotten really good at establishing boundaries in business and as my clients get organized, I watch them begin to get stronger in their boundary-setting as well. They establish boundaries around what they will let into their space, when they commit to tackling their decluttering projects, how they set time aside for themselves to focus on these tasks, and they establish boundaries about what gets time and space on their calendars.
You can do some major decluttering simply by establishing strong boundaries about what you’re willing to bring into your life, and what you’re not.
Setting and maintaining boundaries are the number one way to show yourself respect, care, and kindness.
Lesson #5: Don’t Buy Into Everything You’re Being Sold
When I started out, I often met my clients in their houses or offices. On one occasion, I’d agreed to work with a male client and sat down for my initial meeting with him at a diner. He seemed nice enough but little did I know that he’d already contacted multiple professional organizers (apart from me) and was turned down by them.
He told me that he and his “business partner” needed help organizing their home office. Despite a little twinge in my gut cluing me into something suspicious, I went ahead and followed him to his office space. As a protective measure, I had a piece of paper with the address on it and I sent it to my husband to let him know where I was going.
Once we got to his house, he brought me down to his home office… in the basement. No business partner was in sight. It was just him and I in his moldy, overly cluttered office space.
He kept talking and talking and talking and tried to keep my ear for so long before I finally told him I had to go. Thankfully, nothing happened, but as I think back on it (often), if he did have any mal intentions, I would’ve been in trouble.
When he contacted me again, I turned him down as a client, simply because something told me it wasn’t safe, and the working environment was going to cause a risk to my health as it was extremely hard to breathe.
Since then, I’ve learned that you can’t always believe everything people are trying to sell you and you have to trust your gut when you know something’s not right for you.
The same goes for organizational tips, tools, tricks, or “hacks” that you see from others that just don’t feel right for YOU. You can’t buy into every productivity tool being sold to you and you can feel OK saying no to things in your life that just aren’t for you.
I hope this reflection helped you whether you’re a business owner or a woman seeking more peace in your own life. This journey is full of lessons and I can’t wait to see what the next 16 years will bring!