There is big-business in small businesses, and I want to give them a shout-out and my support now more than ever.
Day-to-day life in a home can be more functional and peaceful when well-organized. My interiors function well on their own. They rise to a new level with the help of a professional organizer.
We’ve heard tales about folks using this time at home to tackle organizing tasks, and Sophie Gilotti, owner of The Neat Method franchise in Des Moines, uses organizing to get its clients to a place of calm. Let’s hear how she has managed these unusual circumstances.
We can’t ignore the obvious. Let’s talk quarantine. Tell us how your business has changed.
Since my team can’t make home visits, I am scheduling virtual consultations with new and existing clients. We start the same way. A client sends an online inquiry with basic information about the room that they’d like to tackle, including measurements. I either give direction so they complete our recommendations on their own, or we can do it together virtually. I also provide decluttering tips and a shopping list that takes them through the process.
Tell me how this new reality will change your business model long-term.
We’ve always offered virtual services. They’ve just never been the heart of our business. Our full service is full luxury, and that means us physically making a home visit so it’s a hands-off experience for the client. But we are happy to lend our services virtually, too. We just received an inquiry from France from someone who wanted our help. Virtual services allow us to share our expertise with everyone.
What do initial consultations address?
People call me when they are confused. Their concerns hover around their clutter. They want to reduce their contents and assign a specific spot for the varying categories of what they have.
From the perspective of our professional journey, we put so much time into our résumés, making sure they are polished and attractive. But so many other components of life need to be mastered, too. I think that more emphasis should be put on important aspects of adult life: health insurance, taxes, how to use specific tools—and what to buy, have, and organize to make life easier.
How has being trapped at home changed the way people think of your services?
I think it’s an eye-opener. When you are home all-day, every day, you quickly come to terms with what’s not working and what needs to be done. All of a sudden, people are at home for every meal. You discover your kitchen needs a tool, or you learn it is not as functional as you want. This is an opportunity to examine every part of the house to make sure it works. It’s difficult to think about all of those things when we are busy and away from our homes.
Any tips for dealing with this at-home situation?
Develop a routine. That’s how to keep productive. If organizing is one of the ways that you want to be productive, examine your spaces. Declutter and organize. Creating order within your home gives you control when you have little control over anything else.
Tell me the difference between a house that’s clean vs. a house that’s well-organized.
Cleaning makes a house healthy—free of dust, free of germs. An organized house has to do with functionality and ease. Plenty of families live in a completely clean environment. That doesn’t mean it’s clutter-free or that products are in places that make sense. Getting organized requires a mindset of wanting to live efficiently and time to execute it.
What’s one tip that you use to direct people as they attempt to stay organized on their own?
I always say that you never want your space to be at 100 percent capacity. There needs to be room to revolve things in and out.
Design. Describe the huge role it plays in the world of organization.
My team handles that last layer of design. We make everything inside of cabinets, shelves, and drawers look perfect. We like to get in early to work with designers on remodeling or building projects. It’s super important to take inventory of what a client has before coming up with a system. It’s the best way to make sure that everything has a home.
For the organization system, anything color-coded gets people excited. Decanting into jars and canisters always helps. Products with repetition and symmetry automatically make a space look better.
What tips do you have for buying organization products?
There is SO much great product out there. A mistake that people make is buying containers blindly without designating contents to them. Consistency creates visual magic. I do think that mixing and matching containers is OK. My tip is to buy less-expensive containers when you need them in bulk, but splurge on nicer baskets and boxes when a smaller quantity is required.
organize in style
The kitchen. Kitchens are used every day, so it only makes sense that they are organized to make them as functional as possible. I love the process of decanting bulk items into clear canisters so it’s easy to see what you have and what needs to be replaced soon. Having a system for the refrigerator makes the day-to-day far simpler AND reduces waste.
Will the movement to stop buying “stuff” for the sake of budgeting, clutter control, and carbon footprint affect your business?
People will always have their “stuff.” And they are always going to have to understand how to deal with it. Life changes the types of things they need. Downsizing requires reducing possessions. Having a baby introduces an entirely new category of product to home. It’s knowing how to manage everything.
Sophie and The Neat Method have been a life saver for me and more than one client. It’s amazing how an objective eye and smart organization can help us find a little control in this uncontrollable life.