In this interview, we delve into the world of professional organizing with Angie Aranda, a seasoned expert in the field. Angie shares her insights on the importance of decluttering and establishing sustainable organization, dispelling common myths and misconceptions surrounding her work, and recounting a notable success story that highlights the transformative power of her strategies. Through Angie’s experiences, we gain a deeper understanding of the practical and psychological aspects of creating harmonious living spaces, making our daily lives more efficient and enjoyable.
[Q] Who do you help, and how?
I’m a professional organizer. Initially, I started helping friends and family with cleaning up rooms and such. Over time, as they referred me, I built a business. My first clients were busy families, often with kids involved in various activities. Coming from a blended family of seven children, with the youngest 4 living with us the longest, I learned strategies for managing our hectic schedules. Families were my initial focus. Then, I expanded to assisting small businesses and offices. Now, I help anyone in need. It all began with those Saturday cleaning rituals from my childhood. Spending too much time on weekends cleaning up meant missing out on quality family time. So, organizing became a way to maintain tidiness throughout the week and enjoy more family moments.
[Q] Why is it important to organize your space?
Reducing clutter also means managing fewer things. For instance, having just 8 cups instead of 50 means less time spent washing. It’s about streamlining our lives and cutting down on unnecessary tasks.
During the pandemic, I noticed heightened anxiety and depression among clients due to clutter. Being stuck in cramped spaces with visual chaos added to their stress. So, organizing is also about improving mental health and finding peace in our living spaces. After a hectic day, you want to come home to a calm, clutter-free environment.
[Q] What’s the biggest challenge your clients face with decluttering?
Time is the most significant obstacle. Many clients find it hard to spare the time for decluttering. They look at their cluttered spaces and feel overwhelmed, unsure where to start. Some think they must complete the entire process at once, but not everyone can. People have busy lives with jobs, family, and other commitments, so managing time is a real challenge.
A structured process is crucial, given these constraints. Many clients can only dedicate short, sporadic periods to decluttering. Feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of belongings is another common challenge they encounter.
[Q] How do you assist them in overcoming these challenges?
Overcoming these challenges involves tailoring the approach to each individual’s personality and needs.
For those who like completing tasks at once, we take a more intensive approach. We clear out a specific area, like a closet or pantry, clean it thoroughly, and then sort and organize items as we put them back.
However, for clients with limited time or who get overwhelmed easily, like some with ADHD, we take a gentler approach. We work in smaller sections, avoiding the need to empty out entire spaces. For instance, we might tackle just one shelf or a specific set of items in a session. Once that section is organized, they can continue with their day or decide if they want to tackle another section. It takes longer but aligns with their capacity and comfort level.
It’s crucial to dispel the pressure to achieve a picture-perfect look, as influenced by social media. Functionality comes first. Clients are encouraged to make their space work for their needs and their family’s, with aesthetics as a secondary consideration.
For practicality, I often recommend labeling. Labels help keep items in their designated places. For example, using a labeled container for “light bulbs” ensures they don’t end up scattered around. Depending on one’s preference, we can use simple labels or go into greater detail with categories like different wattages or colors within labeled bins.
In essence, I adapt the organizational approach to each client’s unique style and help them establish systems that are sustainable and work effectively in the long run.
[Q] How do you help your clients with establishing a more sustainable organization?
Sustainable organization begins with decluttering. It’s about letting go of unnecessary items. We need to question if we genuinely use things or if they’re just taking up space out of habit. Often, we accumulate belongings unnecessarily, like souvenirs from every vacation. We must shift our mindset and be mindful of what we bring into our homes. Simplifying is crucial to making organization easier to maintain. Otherwise, we’ll keep thinking we need a larger space when, in reality, we just have too much stuff.
[Q] What myths or misconceptions do you encounter about your work?
There are a few common misconceptions:
- Some people believe I can magically organize their clutter without decluttering it first. The reality is that decluttering is the essential first step before organizing.
- Another misconception is that clients need to buy all the bins and containers before organizing. I always advise against purchasing anything until we’ve assessed their space and needs. Buying containers first can lead to unnecessary purchases.
- Organizing is not a one-time event; it’s an ongoing process. Even after decluttering and organizing, belongings should be periodically reevaluated. It’s okay to let go of items that no longer serve a purpose.
I also teach practical habits, such as tackling tasks that take less than a minute immediately. We work on physically placing items in their designated spots to make it easier for clients to maintain order. Building muscle memory for organizing is essential, making quick decisions about where things belong becomes second nature.
I maintain a connection with clients beyond our initial work, offering check-ins and further guidance. Sustainable organization is about establishing effective systems and habits that clients can maintain on their own.
[Q] Can you share a success story of helping someone declutter and the outcome?
Certainly, one memorable success story involved a family with young kids who had a cluttered living room. Both the husband and wife were eager to make improvements. We implemented strategies like using a designated toy basket and committing to keeping only what could fit in it, preventing clutter from accumulating. This basket had a specific place next to the fireplace.
We also introduced the concept of rotating toys every few weeks to maintain variety without adding more clutter. The involvement of both parents was crucial, allowing them to apply these principles not only in the living room but throughout their home.
The husband later applied similar strategies in their garage and other areas, leading to a more organized and intentional living environment. This success underscores the importance of involving all household members and creating effective systems for lasting decluttering results.
[Q] How can someone learn more about you?
To find out more about me and my services, you can visit my website at:
For direct contact, you can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 972-843-1225. I also maintain a new Facebook page called “We’re Simply Organized” for additional information and updates.
While I’m in the process of growing my presence on Instagram, I primarily operate through word of mouth and within my local community. However, I’m actively working to expand my visibility and now offer affordable virtual packages to coach families around the globe. Please don’t hesitate to connect with me through the provided channels. You can also locate me on LinkedIn under the name Angie Aranda. Mention this article to receive 10% off on your virtual package.
Jeremy Baker is an Author and contributor to Small Business Trendsetters and Business Innovators Magazine, covering Influencers, Innovators and Trendsetters in Business, Health, Finance and Personal Development.