I started reSPACEd 11 years ago in 2008. At the time, my son Nathan was 2 years old and I was back at work part time, working for a high-end flower shop, creating floral arrangements for huge weddings, parties, fundraisers, Bar Mitzvahs, etc. When the president came to town, I created flowers for him. When Jennifer Aniston was filming a movie in town, we did flowers for her. I loved the creativity of the work, and I learned a tremendous amount about project management and meeting clients’ specific goals.
Floral design work was fun, but I also loved organizing the work spaces. At the last place I worked, I would reorganize our huge store room and flower cooler on slow days. This meant reorganizing all the wedding props, the vase wear, the floral supplies. I found this work to be so satisfying! Nobody else ever wanted to organize these spaces, but I loved doing it. Best of all, my co-workers loved how I organized things, and so did my boss. One day, I thought, I wonder if there’s a career where people go and organize other people’s homes for them? A quick Google search revealed the professional organizer industry, and I decided to take the plunge into that world shortly afterward.
On my days off from the flower shop, I attended a stroller exercise class with Nathan called Baby Boot Camp. It was one of the best business decisions I ever made, because all of those moms became my unofficial focus group! While we were running with our strollers up hills in Laurelhurst Park or standing in Lloyd Center Mall doing band work, I would talk over my ideas with the other moms, asking “would you hire someone to do this?” or “what if I called myself this?” And all of my initial clients were moms from that group, who let me try out organizing at their home. One of the moms made my website, and after that I started getting more regular clients.
One of the things that helped me get reSPACEd off the ground pretty early on was getting contacted by Real Simple magazine to provide some quotes for an article on organizing they were working on. After that was published, my name must have gotten put on a publicist’s list, because I was also contacted by Redbook, Time magazine, Good Housekeeping, Oprah.com, Country Living, NPR and a few others for articles they were writing. All of that publicity helped me grow reSPACEd.
The first few years of reSPACEd, I was working mostly with moms with little kids at home. But after a while I started noticing that a lot of people with ADHD were seeking me out. I joined a professional association called the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD), which offers weekly classes on issues such as organizing with a depressed person or working with a person with working memory impairments. My clients inspired me to learn as much as I could about these more complex organizing situations.So today about 70 percent of my clientele is women with ADHD or some other diagnosis, such as depression, anxiety, OCD or hoarding disorder. The other 30 percent are still those moms with kids at home, but also a mix of everyone else — small business owners, offices, retirees, women, men and children.
That’s how I became a professional organizer and started reSPACEd. I feel like I was born to do this kind of work, and I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life. Organizing has been really rewarding and life-changing for me. Happy Organizing, everyone!
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