Tuesday Ten: Get to Know Professional Organizer Perri Kersh

neat freak organizing 1

I am so excited to introduce a new series to the blog! My plan is, at least monthly, to introduce you to a professional organizer who will share interesting information + helpful tips, all via their responses to 10 questions. First up is a dear friend + mentor of mine who is also based here in Chapel Hill, the fantastic Perri Kersh.

Honey Hive Home: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Perri: I live in Chapel Hill, NC with my husband Carter and our 14 and 11 year old children. I’ve had my organizing business, Neat Freak Professional Organizing, for 10 years, but truth be told, I’ve been organizing my entire life. When I was 3 years old, my imaginary friend was a tie organizer named “Wrinkles,” and my senior superlative in High School was Neatest. I am truly doing the work I was born to do.

perri kersh headshot

Top three words to describe yourself.
Generous, Funny and Speedy.

What do you love most about being an organizer?
I love that people feel better after we’ve worked together. Clutter causes a lot of stress and anxiety, and for many clients, they just don’t know where to get started. I like to bring in a framework of productivity, help facilitate decision making and help them start and finish a project. By the time we’re wrapping up a session, most people feel happy—and I love that!

What do you find to be the most challenging?
It can be challenging when people aren’t ready to change. It’s not my job to force my clients to get rid of stuff or to live their lives differently. And not everyone is ready, even though they thought they were when they hired me. It’s challenging to see the potential for organization but the client just isn’t quite there yet. But hopefully they’ll call me back when they are!

What advice do you have for a new professional organizer?
Just get started! Many people spend a year or more “starting their business” but they don’t start seeing clients. While there are some amazing educational opportunities for new organizers and plenty can be gained from networking and marketing your business, it’s important to put yourself out there and start working hands-on with people. Even if you work for cheap in the beginning (but never do it for free!), you’re gaining that hands-on experience we all need to be better organizers.

neat freak organizing 2

What about for someone thinking about hiring an organizer?
Recognize that organizers do more than just make things look good. They are there to coach you on productivity, time management, and help teach you how to organize on your own. Making things look good is helpful, but learning how to get AND stay organized is what will make the experience of working with an organizer last.

What are your must-have products when organizing?
I carry around a lot of tools with me, but the tool I use most often are garbage bags! Not only for trash, but also for donations or items to sell or consign. I encourage my clients to embrace a “less is more” attitude and to recognize that having less stuff to take care of and to work around in a home or office makes life easier.

What’s a favorite space you’ve organized?
One of my favorite spaces to organize in any home (including my own!) is the pantry. Not only does an organized pantry make your life easier—you can see what you have, avoid buying duplicates or having to throw things out, and you can save money!—but it also symbolizes family time together. Cooking and eating meals together is so important and is practically a lost art. Anything I can do to help a family sit down together, even if only once a week, makes me feel like my work matters.

What do you love most about where you live?
Our home is in the middle of a town that we love and we’re up in the woods—we have the best of both worlds. We’re also situated on a hill so we’re literally up in the trees. Having lots of natural light in our house is so awesome—and it actually helps me stay organized! I don’t want a lot of clutter sitting around to catch dust since the light allows you to see every speck! I also love that our house is lived in—having two kids, two cats, and a not so neat husband means our house is not perfect. And it shouldn’t be! Everyone should live and love in their house and keep it organized just enough to let them function on a day to day basis.

Please share your #1 tip for someone looking to get organized.
Figure out what matters most to you and focus on that. Only keep and do things that bring you joy, cause you to laugh, create a feeling of warmth and make you feel like a rock star.

Thank you so much for sharing with us today, Perri! I found myself nodding along through everything, particularly in your last point about keeping a home organized enough to function well on a daily basis. I hope that this makes the process of organizing seem at least a bit less daunting for folks looking to get started!

I’d also love to hear from folks in the comments: what do you think of this new series? If you’re a fellow professional organizer and would like to be featured in the future, please let me know!

Home photos by Kathleen Hunter; head shot by Tommy White; all photos provided by Perri Kersh.

Tuesday Ten is a series here on the Honey Hive Home blog. Each time, we’ll meet a professional organizer who will share interesting information + helpful tips, all via their responses to 10 questions.

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