For many people, the new year means new beginnings. January 1st gives us a fervor to get our lives in check and get ourselves organized. But once we’re knee-deep in the cans and jars that we’ve pulled out of the pantry or wading through the papers that were crowding our desks, we often realize that real organizing isn’t all that easy to do on your own. So in the spirit of getting really and truly organized in 2019, we turned to Cassie Thompson of Serene Spaces Professional Organizing to get some inside tips on working with a professional organizer to declutter your life and get your world in order.
St. Augustine Social: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get started in professional organizing?
Cassie Thompson: I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Business Administration. I have worked in Mental Health, Social Work, Medical Office Management, and Administration at a preschool. I am a very environmentally conscious person and do my best to reduce, reuse, and recycle when possible. I am married with 2 young sons and enjoy spending time outdoors. Organizing my own and other’s spaces is a passion of mine. I even enjoyed sorting and rearranging my toys as a child! I started Serene Spaces Professional Organizing in 2014 in Savannah, GA. Helping my clients create more functional spaces is my dream job.
How long have you worked and lived in St. Augustine?
My family relocated to St. Augustine a little over a year ago. My husband and I lived in Jacksonville 10 years ago when he was in the US Navy so moving to St. Augustine felt like moving back home.
What kind of services do you offer? Do you have a specialty?
I help clients with residential, home office, garage and attic, financial, storage unit, classroom, workplace, downsizing, and move management (including unpack and organization). Most of my work is residential.
What’s your favorite client story? The biggest project you’ve tackled?
My favorite clients are those who really experience the mindset change and realize the power, freedom and stress relief of letting go of the clutter holding them back from the serene space they want. My biggest projects have been corporate clients. I helped an eye institute by organizing the files, the rooms, and creating a better workflow as they prepared to add more doctors and services to the practice. I helped a veterinary clinic create a more functional workspace prior to their grand opening. I have also organized and created systems in a preschool’s large storage rooms so all the teachers and administration were able to utilize and find all of the resources on hand quickly and easily.
What are your first steps to getting a space organized?
My services are tailored to each individual client or organization. My initial consultation with all clients, whether it be virtual or in person, begins with getting to know their wants and needs. From there, we create a plan of action.
Is there a room or a space that organization should always start in?
Not necessarily, sometimes it is best to start in the room that is causing the most stress but others it is necessary to start in a room that is used the most frequently. For instance, if you have a home office that isn’t functioning well and causing clutter to build up in other parts of the home it would be best to tackle the office first. The first step is always the hardest but once you see and feel the freedom and stress reduction of a functioning space it ignites a spark and that momentum keeps you moving throughout your spaces.
Are professional organizers only for people with serious clutter problems?
Absolutely not. What is problematic for one client may not affect another client the same way. It’s all about creating functional systems that work for each clients’ specific needs. I bring a fresh set of eyes to the space and can help clients utilize their rooms they may have never thought possible.
How is hiring a professional organizer different than just organizing on your own?
With a professional organizer, you will have accountability, coaching, concrete steps, a plan of action and hands-on help. When tackling an organizing project on your own it can be hard to move forward and see the big picture. When I am there virtually or in person I help clients push through hard work while also being patient, compassionate, and empathetic. As a member of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and Faithful Organizers, I am constantly learning new techniques and continuing my education to offer the very best service to my clients.
How do I stay organized after the professional organizer has left?
When I am working with my clients, I’m not just helping create organized spaces I am helping create functional and workable systems. Everyone naturally gravitates toward disorganization, but with functional systems in place, you should be able to get things back to “normal” in less than about 7 minutes.
Do you have any favorite St. Augustine spots to pick up organizing essentials?
I frequently pick up organizing items from Bed Bath & Beyond and Target but I also like to find new uses for items clients may already have in their homes, which saves them money and is earth friendly. Organizing doesn’t require expensive or certain products to be functional.