My Recent Interview on Dream Design Live

I was recently interviewed for the blog Dream Design Live and I thought I would share it with you.

Meet Guest Blogger: Janet Schiesl, Owner of Basic Organization and co-author of “Get Organized Today.”

Today I am happy to have Janet Schiesl, Owner of Basic Organization here to answer a few questions on the business of professional organizing. The first months of the year are all about New Year’s resolutions, clearing clutter from your life and starting fresh and we want to empower you with some words of wisdom from a master of the trade. I am a strong supporter of professional organizers – they do amazing work and often help my clients immensely. There is a lot of hustle and bustle in and around Washington, DC and people often don’t have the time to get to those large projects that require systematic organization: your garage, a child’s closet that is packed with clothes that no longer fit, kitchen pantries and attics.  Janet was kind enough to answer my questions about her business and give tips and insights on better organization in your home.

Q: Janet, tell us a little about Basic Organization. Why did you start the business and what services do you offer?

A: I started Basic Organization in 2005, at the height of popularity of cable organizing shows. That is really how I became aware that organizing other people could be a career and a business. Shows such as “Mission Organization” and “Clean Sweep” not only educated me, but informed the public that being more organized can change your life.

My company offers clients the option of working with a single organizer or a Basic Organization team. It depends on the scope of work (size and deadline of the job) as to what we will suggest for each individual client. For instance, a downsizing senior will need a team if they are interested in our service called “Done in a Day”. This provides them with a complete unpacking the day they move into their new home. An organizing team would be needed for the client who wants to clean out and organize their garage on a single Saturday because of the size of the job. A single organizer is appropriate for the client who needs to set up a filing system for their home office and get a handle on their piles of paperwork.

Q: Who is your typical client?

A: Basic Organization works with busy families, small businesses, downsizing seniors and the chronically disorganized in the Washington DC area. We help people rethink their priorities and simplify their lives. Our clients realize how their “stuff” is affecting their life and are looking for expert advice on how to make lasting positive changes.

Q: Do you have any training or hold any certifications in organizing or related areas (chronic disorganization, coaching, feng shui, interior design, etc.)?

A: Everyone at Basic Organization is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). It is an association focused on educating the professional on best practices in the organizing industry. I am currently the president of the Washington DC chapter of NAPO.

There is a certification for professional organizers. I am preparing to take the certification test in the Spring 0f 2012. I am currently a specialist in chronic disorganization with the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) and a member of the Association of Interior Design Professionals (AIDP).

Q: What is your process?

A: The process is always different, because each client is different. But our standard procedure is to meet with each new client for an assessment. This is when we study and discuss the project. We identify the client’s goals for each area they want organized. We then set up appointments for hands-on organizing. Our appointments range from 3 hours to all day.

The organizing process starts with sorting what a client has, so that they can decide what items will help them achieve their goal. The next step is to decide what to do with the items that are not supporting the client in the process. Basic Organization aids clients in determining how they will let go of the possessions they no longer need. We use whatever storage the client has or suggest options to purchase. The part of the process that is the most fun is when we get to put everything in its place. This is when it all comes together. Maintaining organization is the final and continuing step. We often help busy clients maintain the level of organization that they are comfortable with.

Q: How can clutter negatively affect a person’s life and well-being?

A: People don’t realize how their possessions affect their everyday life. It takes a lot of time and money to buy, bring home, place, clean, move, find, insure and use your stuff. There is research to show that the average American spends 55 minutes a day looking for things that they know they own, but they cannot find. Being more organized cuts down on that wasted time and frustration. What could you do with an extra 55 minutes a day?

Many of our clients have been through a dramatic life change: whether it is a positive change, like getting a new job or getting married, or a negative change, like an illness or unexpected move. They lose the level of organization that they are comfortable with, while focusing on the change. When things settle down, people don’t know how to get back on track. Basic Organization offers the support they need to get back on track.

{Clutter can leave you feeling overwhelmed and unproductive.}

Q: What are the benefits of hiring a professional organizer and how does a person know it’s time to take action and get the help of a professional?

A: Many of our clients are busy professionals who have a project they want to accomplish, like organizing their garage, but just don’t have the time to do it. We can offer the expertise to get the job quickly and completely. It’s great when our client can pull their car into a newly organized garage at the end of the day.

But if you have tried to get organized before and just can’t seem to accomplish much, or if you want options for the systems that are just not working for you, it’s time to hire a professional organizer. Many people can relate to hiring a personal trainer. You want to learn how to improve your life from someone who can offer you the most benefit for your time and money.

Q: What are everyday tips a person can do to keep their home organized?

A: Some of my favorite tips are:  1) Give everything a home; 2) Use labels to identify items; 3) Do a little each day and 4) Keep it simple.

Q: Are there any new organizational products on the market that you suggest?

A: One of the most important organizing tools is a calendar or planner. If you can manage your time and tasks, you are way ahead of the curve. It is easy to get stressed over what is required of our busy lifestyle. Staying on top of your commitments will ease that stress and give you a clear outlook on your day.

Everyday technology has become an important part of our 24/7 life. Look for apps to help you schedule your time, list your to-dos, and keep and share your files.

Another favorite tool for all Basic Organization organizers is a label maker. We love to label. It’s all about communicating.

Q: Tell us a little about what we can learn in your book, “Get Organized Today?”

A: “Get Organized Today” is a collaboration of many professionals, providing inspiration that affirms the power and importance of getting organized. The book provides practical ideas that you can use immediately to live a better, more effective life.

Look for my chapter Staging Your Home – Transforming Your Space to Eliminate Clutter and Fit Your Lifestyle in the book. I wrote from my years of experience working in an interior design firm. I teach you how to change each space in your home to reduce the accumulation of clutter.

Q: Any last bits of advice or inspiration you can give us before we embark on our quest for a more organized home in 2012?

A: Be clear about your goals for the project. Focus on the outcome you want. If an item doesn’t support your goal for the space then you don’t need the item.

It’s been shown that organizing is a social activity. If you don’t enjoy organizing by yourself, you are not alone. Find a friend or professional organizer to help you achieve your goals.

Thank you Janet for guest blogging with us and sharing your invaluable knowledge on this subject.   To learn more about Basic Organization, visit Janet and her team, or follow her Basic Blog. You can also connect with them on facebook at Basic Organization Professional Organizing Services, or on Twitter atBasicOrganizer.

I hope you find this information as valuable as I do. Organizing is not only visually appealing, but also it helps us to live a more balanced life.

For today our mantra is: Dream. Design. Organize.  Happy sorting!!!

If you’d like help creating a beautiful home or office you love, contact me today to learn how easy it is to get started.


About Basic Organization

Basic Organization provides professional organizing services to busy families, business owners, down sizing seniors and the chronically disorganized. We can teach you the skills to get organized and live a more simplified life. By providing you with ideas, information, structure and solutions to help you regain control of your space, we can cure the chaos in you life!
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