Way back in 2005, I was working as a family day carer. Each weekday, from early morning, families would arrive, leave their precious people with me, and return at the end of the day to take them home again. I had been doing that for 13 years and I loved it. I really enjoyed playing with the children, seeing them grow and learn. It was a lot of responsibility on my shoulders and the pay was dreadful. Childcare workers do not get paid well, especially when you consider the enormous responsibility they take on. But it was a great way for me to earn an income while supporting my family at home.
I learned a lot in those years, especially about people and how different everyone is. I had to be super organised to get it all done. At the start of each day my home became a child-friendly environment, and as the last child left my house returned to “home”. Toys, books, dishes, washing and paperwork were packed away efficiently, ready for use again the next day.
I was licensed to have up to 4 pre-schoolers and 3 school aged children in my home. I provided healthy meals, safe transport to and from school and kindergarten, indoor and outdoor exercise, engaging and imaginative play that aided development.
I observed and recorded the children’s development and watched for any concerning signs of illness or delayed development. When worrying signs did appear, I would discreetly recommend a doctor visit or review. There were tearful shared moments when a diagnosis sent the parents into despair. And when milestone events happened, like a baby’s first step, I let the parents enjoy the moment for themselves, rather than stealing that precious memory. I’d say, “He’s so close to walking. Watch him tonight. I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes his first step.” And the parents would report proudly next morning that indeed he had taken that step.
I wiped noses and bums, negotiated sleep times and tantrums, taught manners and the alphabet and colours. I read endless books and told made-up stories. From small mouths I heard amusing tales from home, keeping my face straight and my mouth shut. I got cuddles and sloppy kisses and high fives. Those little people were with me for a long time and I valued my contribution to their lives.
By 2005, my own children were teenagers. They didn’t need me to be at home for them like I was before. And I had a burning ambition to get started as a professional organiser and use my organising skills to help people in a different way. I first heard about the organising industry from UK and US magazines. Here were these people actually making money by helping people to get organised. I could do that!
After all, so many of the skills I had nurtured throughout my 13-year career as a family day carer had equipped me for helping people to get organised. Things like:
- Observation skills
- Problem solving skills
- Flexibility and resilience
- Listening skills
- Communication skills
- Time management skills
- Developing individual plans for each child and family
- Boundary setting skills
- Understanding human nature
- Efficiently storing a large amount of age-appropriate toys
- A strong stomach and a sense of humour
Like many organisers, my previous experience combined with my natural abilities had set me up for a career in helping people get organised and stay organised.
Also like many organisers, I was known in my circle of friends as the “organised one”. There’s always one friend in any group who organises the get togethers and outings. In our group, that was me. It just seemed so natural to progress this hobby and skill to a profession.
Once I let my intention to become a professional organiser be known, my friends were keen to use my skills. I helped them organise their wardrobes, their pantries, their home offices. The practice I gained there was invaluable. And so it was time to take the leap.
But how could I make my dream to become a professional organiser become a reality?
How could I say goodbye to the low but steady income?
How could I step outside of my comfort zone of work-at-home-mum and into the business world?
And how could I tell my husband that I wanted to risk our financially comfortable life to try something new?
I did what I do whenever I face a problem or a challenge, or nowadays, when I work with someone in their home. I gathered the facts, and I made a plan.
That’s where I started.
Are you ready to get started as a professional organiser? Talk to me about your options.