My Story – Q&A With Professional Organizer Kathy McEwan
When working with my clients I usually get to know them really well. We go through many of their personal belongings and they often tell me some wonderful stories. Now I want to share my story, so that you can have a better understanding of who I am. Here is a sample of some of the questions that people ask me: “How did you get into the business of organizing? Is your home totally organized? What kind of organizing products do you use?” .
I am happy to answer some of those questions here:
1. How did you get into the organizing business?
I knew I wanted to start my own business and it was important to me that it would be a business where I was helping others. My degree is in Sociology, and I was working in the Government of Ontario – Ministry of Community and Social Services, when I quit my full-time job and put 100% into Second Set of Hands. This is a decision I do not regret to this day because I get to get up every day and do what I love.
2. What qualification do you have?
My degree in Sociology really helps when working with certain clients and I also have certificates in Chronic Disorganization, Time Management and Productivity, Senior Move Management, and Basic ADD issues with the Chronic Disorganization Clients. Also, there will be more certificates to come as I believe in continued education! I am also a member of Professional Organizers in Canada (POC) and the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD). Plus, after moving I have 11 times, I know the ins and outs of moving!
3. Is your home totally organized?
Not totally but mostly. Because I don’t live alone it can be challenging for me to have family members that are not organized. Also, there are times when I am tired and don’t have time to organize, but because we have good systems in place, it doesn’t take long to get organized.
4. Were you always this organized?
Yes and No. I always tried to keep my living room, dining room, kitchen and bathrooms organized. There wasn’t really any clutter in those rooms. But I did have some clutter in cupboards, junk drawers and closets. My bedroom was the one room that I left to the end to tidy up so it was not always perfectly tidy. I am better now though and my cupboards, junk drawers, closet, and bedroom are pretty organized.
5. How did you manage with a family of seven?
We are a blended family so we have 5 children and I would be lying if I said that trying to balance all that we had to do was easy, but we did manage. Keeping a home organized, taking the kids to their activities, driving the kids here there and everywhere, making suppers for 7 people, plus working full-time. It wasn’t easy but if you have systems and schedules in place, it is manageable. Four out of five of our children have moved out, so it is easier now, but I really miss having them home.
6. Have you ever worked with a hoarder?
I have worked with many clients that could not walk into certain rooms of their homes, including their living room, dining room, basements, spare bedrooms etc. There was not even a path to get into those rooms, and we were able to get them decluttered and organized. Some of the clients have been able to maintain them. But so far, I have not worked with hoarders that are like the hoarding shows that you see on T.V. They often have no running water or hydro, can’t sleep in their beds because of too much stuff on them, have possible dead animals in their homes etc. In those situations, a team of professionals must be present to get the results that are needed. I have taken quite a few hoarding courses and plan on getting a hoarding certificate soon.
7. Do you work alone or with a team?
Both. If it is a small job like organizing one small room, then I or one of my team members will tackle it alone. On larger jobs with several rooms, or a basement, or our clients want to get organized quickly, then there will be at least two of us. When there is a lot of packing or unpacking to do, or if heavy lifting is involved, then I bring a team with me to do the job.
8. Do you really enjoy going through all this stuff?
Yes we do. A lot of people tell me they could not do what we do, but we love it. We especially like the finished results and seeing how happy and emotional (in a good way) the clients are when we’re finished. They are so thankful and that is why we do what we do.
9. What is your typical client?
There really is no “typical” client. I work with busy professionals and moms/dads who don’t have the time to organize, pack or unpack, or with clients who have health problems or seniors that can’t do the heavy lifting that is involved. And last, I work with those who do not have the skills to be organized. They want to be able to organize on their own, but need some guidance on how to change certain habits so they can be organized.
10. What are your favourite organizing products?
There are quite a few good organizing products on the market, but my favourite is a tie between two products. 1. I absolutely love drawer organizers. You can use them in any room of your home, they come in all different sizes depending on what you want to use them for, they keep your items organized, and it is so easy to find what you are looking for. 2. My other favourite is a lazy susan. They are perfect for those hard to see or reach areas, they come in different sizes, and can be used for many different items.
11. When you are not organizing, what do you like to do?
I work a lot! If I am not with a client, then I am usually doing work from home. I especially like spending time with my family and friends. Actually, I wish I had more time to spend with them. I also live in the country on a lake and love to spend my summers outside by the water.
And that’s my story! I hope this gives you a better understanding of who I am. If you have any additional questions you would like answered or comments please post below.
Wishing you all the best,
“Being Organized is Like a Breath of Fresh Air”. Kathy McEwan
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