Tuesday Ten: Get to Know Professional Organizer Becky Marple

Bee Neat Organizing
In this week’s installment of Tuesday Ten, I’m excited to introduce you to fellow professional organizer Becky Marple of Bee Neat: A Professional Organizing Company. Becky and I connected via Instagram and I’ve loved getting to follow along with the great work she does in the Oklahoma City area.

Honey Hive Home: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Becky: I am a mom to a 3-year-old little girl and happily married to my guy for 8 years.  I am #7 out of 10 kids!  Yes, 10: 5 boys, 5 girls.  Dad was military so it’s no wonder I am a pro organizer 🙂

Becky's Website Photo


Top three words to describe yourself.
Tenacious (don’t tell me I can’t do something), energetic, empathetic & sensitive – I wish I could rescue the world.  It hurts me deeply when I hear of child abuse, neglect or hunger.

What do you love most about being an organizer?
What I love most about being an organizer is probably two parts. I love seeing the results of a big project and showing the client how pretty their home can be. Equally, I love teaching and coaching the client so that they can maintain our work long after our appointment.

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What do you find to be the most challenging?
For me, a hoarder who is a resistant client is the most challenging aspect of my job. I am a happy go lucky person and love to work in happy environments where the client is open to changes and new systems. In negative environments where a client is borderline rude and I am having to explain how it’s unsanitary or not okay to hoard trash or certain items, it wears on me.

What advice do you have for a new professional organizer?
My advice for a new PO would be to do as much research as possible. Read, take online organizing courses, read magazines and work for free helping friends and family for at least a year before launching your business.

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What about for someone thinking about hiring an organizer?
I would recommend someone who is considering hiring an organizer to do their research. To see before and after photos, to ask for at least 5 references and to ask a lot of questions before hiring someone. Hiring an organizer is a very personal thing, and you want to find the right the right fit for your personality and your home.

What are your must-have products when organizing?
My label maker and cute labels, chalk marker and chalk labels, contractor trash bags, plastic gloves and my measuring tape.

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What’s a favorite space you’ve organized?
My favorite space I’ve organized was a client’s master closet. It was a huge mansion, there was no budget and she wanted everything top of the line. She is an Interior Decorator so I felt so much pressure to get it right. I asked the right questions and used how she already decorated as my guide to her taste. I ended up spending $3000 just in containers, boxes and baskets but it was the most beautiful finished closet. It looks like a closet straight from the Kardashians! 🙂

What do you love most about where you live?
I live in Edmond, OK, which is just 15 miles outside of Oklahoma City. Some of the nicest people live here and although we have a bad rap for tornado alley, it’s really not that bad. It’s usually beautiful just about year round. Our schools are ranked some of the highest in the nation and overall just a great place to raise a family.

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Please share your #1 tip for someone looking to get organized.
My number one tip for someone who is looking to get organized would be doing something is better than doing nothing.  Start somewhere, you can do it! If you get overwhelmed, recruit a friend or hire an organizer!

All photos provided by Becky Marple.

Thank you for sharing with us, Becky! I love your tip for folks looking to get organized. I’m a firm believer in progress, not perfection, so making even small steps to get organized can yield big results over time. Also, I’m totally ready to move into your client’s closet! Anyone else? It sounds like a dream!

Are you a professional organizer? Get in touch so we can feature you in a future edition of Tuesday Ten!

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Tuesday Ten: Get to Know Professional Organizer Beth Penn

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This week I’m thrilled to introduce you to the Los Angeles-based professional organizer behind Bneato Bar, Beth Penn. Beth works to make organizing affordable and accessible to her clients, which are two things I can totally get behind. She has also worked with some of my very favorite bloggers and designers, including Bri Emery of DesignLoveFest, Joy Cho of Oh Joy!, and Emily Henderson (whose HGTV show I watched religiously when it was on the air #nerdalert). Needless to say, Beth is the real deal, and, as you’ll see, brings a fun and fresh take to organizing.

Honey Hive Home: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Beth: I am a professional organizer living in Silver Lake, CA. I recently got married and we jumped right in and got a puppy last month! I enjoy running my own business, eating and then finding ways to burn off those calories so I can eat more:)

Beth Penn

Top three words to describe yourself.
Goofy, punctual, routine-oriented.

What do you love most about being an organizer?
Staying up to speed on the newest apps and ways to keep my clients efficient and organized. Helping folks and experiencing that moment with clients when they’re like, ‘OMG, this is SO MUCH BETTER!!’

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What do you find to be the most challenging?
Managing client expectations. A lot of folks think that it can all happen overnight (reality shows— while I love them, often give unrealistic expectations on how long things take).

What advice do you have for a new professional organizer?
To be a great organizer, you need patience, an open mind. Get as much experience under your belt by assisting fellow organizers. Read as much as you can and take as many NAPO classes before going out on your own.

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What about for someone thinking about hiring an organizer?
Ask around and see if a friend hired an organizer and get their feedback. What was their experience? What would they have done differently or done the same? For me, I try and go with my gut, Yelp reviews and if I can get it, a referral to someone that a friend worked with.

What are your must-have products when organizing?

  • Clear wall pockets
  • A label maker
  • Sharpies and Post-its

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What’s a favorite space you’ve organized?

I love decluttering and containerizing closets. The before and after is just so much fun!

What do you love most about where you live?
Hands down, the weather. Also, we live on the Silver Lake reservoir so all I have to do is step outside and I have a pretty amazing race track at my feet.

Please share your #1 tip for someone looking to get organized.
Read Do Less: A Minimalist Guide to a Simplified, Organized, and Happy Life by Rachel Jonat.

All photos provided by Beth Penn. Photo #1 by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy; photos #3 & 4 by Tessa Neustadt for Emily Henderson; photo #5 by Sheila Gim for DesignLoveFest.

Thank you kindly for joining us, Beth! I’m so excited to add Rachel Jonat’s book to my reading list. I also love what you said about that moment when clients realize how much better their space is after working with an organizer. It’s totally worth its weight in gold! I may be a tad bit jealous that you live on the Silver Lake reservoir; it’s absolutely beautiful there.

Be sure to keep up with Beth on Instagram, too. She’s the perfect mix of inspiring and hilarious!

Tuesday Ten: Get to Know Professional Organizer Tara Bussema

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This week we’re back with our second installment of Tuesday Ten, this time with Portland-based Tara Bussema. I came across Tara via Pinterest and fell in love with her talent and eye immediately (just visit her website if you need further proof!). I immediately knew I wanted to include her in this series. Through emailing back and forth, I found out that she grew up just minutes away from where my brother-in-law and his family live. Talk about a small world! Without further adieu, I’m so excited for you to meet Tara!

Honey Hive Home: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Tara: My name is Tara Bussema and I founded Neat Organization and Design about two and a half years ago. I grew up in Long Beach, California but have resided in Portland, Oregon for the last year with my husband, Kevin.

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Top three words to describe yourself.
Intentional, relational, genuine.

What do you love most about being an organizer?
My favorite thing about organizing is the people. It is an honor to be in someone’s space working with them and their belongings. It is an intensely personal process. I love getting to know people, hearing their stories, and giving them a fresh start. I truly believe that the state of our space reflects the state of our heart and vice versa. Organizing is not just physical work. It is also emotional and even spiritual. I love taking this journey with people and ultimately, helping them lighten their load and start fresh.

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What do you find to be the most challenging?
Hmmm… good question. I would say the business end of things is the most challenging for me. Being a relational person, I am not great at marketing or self-promotion. 90% of my business has come by word of mouth, and I almost prefer it that way. As far as the actual process of organizing, the only part that can be a little challenging is entering a space for the first time and having to figure out where to begin. After that, the rest just flows.

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What advice do you have for a new professional organizer?
I would say to start by offering help to family and friends, especially those who are willing to spread the word. One of my best friends owns a mommy-n-me workout franchise. I organized and redesigned much of her house and she was absolutely crucial to the initial growth of my business. Also, take lots of before and after pictures and start using social media!

What about for someone thinking about hiring an organizer?
Organizing your own home can be absolutely overwhelming. It’s so easy to put it off or be paralyzed about knowing where and how to start! While it may not be your first choice to pay for help, the truth is that it will totally be worth it. Organization is not like re-decorating. It is not just an issue of whether your home is attractive or not. This is about your day-to-day ability to function efficiently in your home. It’s about feeling a sense of peace and calm in your space. It’s about saving time, reducing stress, and increasing enjoyment of your domain! Good organizers provide guidance, accountability, systems that are easy to maintain, and a fresh start! It’s like sending your house to therapy! 🙂

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What are your must-have products when organizing?
Good question! My personal basics are definitely a camera, measuring tape, and my trusty labeler. As far as must-have products I use in almost every home I organize… here’s the trifecta:

  1. These Handled Baskets from The Container Store – $3.99 to $4.99 – They are perfect for everything from organizing snacks in the pantry to making it easy to retrieve items stored up high. The handles make them easy to grab and return to their place.
  2.  Small to Large Lid Organizers like these from The Container Store – $3.99 to $4.99 – These are excellent for everything from pot lids, baking sheets and cutting boards to sorting and storing reusable bags, tupperware lids, purses, craft paper, etc!
  3. Turntables! Like this one from The Container Store – $5.99 – These are especially helpful in deep cabinets, high places and small spaces, where it is hard to reach in and find what you need. They are great for spices, jars and cans, water bottles, perfume, nail polish, vitamins, etc! You can use them in the refrigerator, pantry, and even under your bathroom sink!

What’s a favorite space you’ve organized?
I would say one of my favorite spaces I’ve done was also the most unique. I converted an overly packed coat closet into a crafting nook with a desk. Once other closets in the house were organized, we were able to clear out this particular closet and give a young mom her own space to keep crafting supplies and spend some much needed creativity time.

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What do you love most about where you live?
Portland is a great city. It’s the best of all worlds. Culture, nature, and great food and drink! We’ve lived here only slightly longer than a year, so we spend tons of time exploring. You can go to the amazing farmer’s market downtown, hike to a waterfall nearby, visit distilleries and breweries, pick from an unending number of amazing restaurants, and then finish off the day with some amazing Salt n Straw ice cream! And… it is just beyond beautiful here. We live up the street from Mt. Tabor, which is a forested, extinct volcano. I go for walks there frequently and I forget I’m in the city!

Please share your #1 tip for someone looking to get organized.
If you feel you can take on your home by yourself, my advice would be to start small. Focus on one area at a time. Set aside a few hours each weekend to organize a different space. Strangely, I recommend starting with the garage or basement. That’s where things tend to build up, and chances are, most of the stuff has been out there forever and you haven’t thought about it in years! Once that’s cleaned out, it will be much easier to organize and re-situate other items in your home. If you’re still overwhelmed, call a professional! We’re eager to help! 🙂

All photos provided by Tara Bussema.

Thanks so much for sharing, Tara! I particularly love her tip about starting to organize in the garage or basement. This will also give folks more space to spread out when organizing other areas! I also strongly agree that organizing is more than physical; as a person of faith, I definitely think that it can be a highly spiritual process.

What do y’all think? Aren’t Tara’s spaces just fantastic?!

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.

Tuesday Ten: Get to Know Professional Organizer Perri Kersh

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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.

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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.