Pro Corner: Home Organization Coach, Kelly Howe
This month’s Pro Corner highlights Kelly Howe, a home organization coach in Memphis, TN.
Kelly has been helping understand their relationship with their home space and organization methods for years. I chose to highlight Kelly and her services this month since getting and staying organized can certainly help on the journey to financial well-being as well! From keeping bills and papers organized so you don’t rack up late fees, to a general sense of peace and well-being to knowing you can find what you’re looking for when you need it, an organized life can do wonders in all areas of life. Kelly shares some tips for us below as well as the various ways she can help. If getting and staying organized is on your to-do list, reach out to Kelly at her contact information below.
Kelly, tell us more about what you do as a home organization coach.
As a home organization coach the main part of my work is not necessarily putting things in pretty bins with fancy labels (although don’t get me wrong, I love a good label maker!), it is getting to know my client and their individual needs for their space. I like to think of it as holistic organization. Our space is so much more than inanimate objects we are storing; many times our space tells our story louder than our words. Knowing your why, the reason this has become problematic for you, is key in changing your behavior.
What do you see as the greatest need people have when they reach out to you?
Direction and encouragement. They have probably been aware of the problem for a while and have kept trying various means to fix it. They believe if they get the perfect container or implement a popular complex organization system they saw on-line, everything will magically get better. Usually a container or complex system doesn’t do the trick and they end up feeling more defeated. I not only help them with the practical side of organizing, but I help them understand and improve upon their relationship with “stuff”.
How can an organized home help your financial well-being? Your overall well-being?
One of the biggest things people are amazed at is how many duplicates they have! They can’t find the lightbulb they’re looking for, so they buy more. A child needs a book for school – they know an older sibling has a copy – but have no idea where it is, so they buy a new one. The examples are endless; this is how disorganization causes a lot of wasted money and time. Not to mention the problem with late fees when you can’t find a bill that’s due, or not depositing checks because you can’t locate them. At one client’s home I found over $800 in gift cards! Unfortunately many of them were expired or were from stores no longer in business. Clients have told me how much calmer and more peaceful their homes and relationships feel once they clean out, contain and develop simple systems for organizing.
Can you share a few tips with us about how to tame an unruly house?
Hiring an outside, neutral consultant to help assess and develop a plan will often help when a couple can’t agree on a way to get and stay organized. But even before you decide to hire a professional, there are a few things you can do to get started:
1. Avoid following the latest fads in organization. In my experience they are not helpful.
2. Start small. A junk drawer, a pantry or a linen closet. Take everything out and give it a good cleaning. Then make a pile of everything that doesn’t belong. Determine what purpose the space will serve going forward.
3. Buying all the latest gadgets and containers can feel satisfying, but usually it just adds to the clutter you’re trying to eliminate. Determine your need for organization containers only after you have determined the purpose of a space and have thrown away or given away everything you no longer need.
4. Before buying new containers, shop your home first. You’ll be surprised at what you find that can be repurposed for a useful storage container.
Any tips for families where most family members would rather not stick to a plan?
Use clear containers and make the system simple. Clear containers allow everyone to see what’s being stored inside so there’s no guessing about where items belong. And for items that need to be replaced frequently, a clear container allows you to quickly identify when you’re running low so you can plan your upcoming shopping trip instead of making a late-night run to the store. Also, let children have a say in the organization of their spaces. They are much more likely to maintain the system if they have some ownership in it.
Who should seek your help?
Anyone who is ready to be rid of the emotional and mental clutter that comes along with physical clutter and disorganization. It breaks my heart to see people live with such a weight on their shoulders; it doesn’t need to be this way. Anyone who is willing to look at things in a different way and is ready to let go of what no longer serves them in their current season of life would be an ideal fit for my services. Additionally, I enjoy working with young people who are moving out on their own for the first time and helping them establish systems and routines that will impact them for the rest of their lives!
Finally, tell us more about why you are so passionate about your profession!
I was that child who loved to clean her room. I was constantly changing things around and organizing my closets and drawers. I would even go to my friends’ houses when they were stuck at home cleaning their rooms and offer to help. I was always looking for ways to make things easier to find and use but also aesthetically pleasing. It’s such a satisfying feeling to bring beauty and order to a space that was previously chaotic. I am blessed to have a profession where I can see tangible results in the lives of my clients. It’s my passion to help people see the beauty in what they have and realize that it truly is enough.
Do you work in-person or remotely?
When people are ready to experience greater peace in their homes, how can they reach you?
E-mail me for a free 45-minute consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll review your goals and identify the first area you’d like to tackle. If, at the end of our call, you decide we’re a good fit I’ll review my recommendations for moving forward.