Let me introduce you to Narelle Sheeran from Organise and Enrich. Narelle is a graduate of both Intro to Your Professional Organiser Career and Hoarding Home Solutions, and she agreed to share her thoughts with other organisers just starting out.
So tell us, Narelle, where do you operate?
I’m located on the outskirts of the Dandenong Ranges and will take on clients in the east or southeast of Melbourne, or West Gippsland. I don’t mind a bit of a drive. It gives me a chance to listen to some great books! Also utilising Zoom is now allowing for limitless expansion.
Who do you work with?
I work with a wide range of clients who mostly have one thing in common. They are suffering from overwhelm. They’re not sure where to start with getting things organised and their level of productivity is suffering. A mixture of privately funded and those on the NDIS, my clients cover a wide spectrum from those needing a little help to reset, to those who need a totally fresh start. That’s one of the things I love – no two days are the same. Whether my clients are overwhelmed with general clutter, or have a tendency to hoard, or need some guidance around the best way to keep on top of daily tasks, or want to get organised and feel in control in order to make way and allow the space to take on something new – I love the variety.
Who’s your ideal client?
My ideal client is anyone who is ready to make a change. Productivity looks different to every person. It might be aiming to have the washing hung out on the line any time before bed, or it might be getting organised on the home front in order to make room for major changes like changing jobs or returning to the workforce, or it might be those who have been through major change and just can’t seem to get on top of things. While the definition of productivity is unique for each individual, the feeling of knowing you have accomplished something – that’s universal. That’s satisfaction. That’s empowering.
For some people, being in a state of overwhelm can be all consuming and inhibit productivity in any form. I love helping people get focus, get under control, and see them make room for new things in their life.
What drew you to the organising industry and how long have you been in it?
When our children were young, I wrote a Time and Home Management Program, published a purpose-built diary system and ran workshops based around this system. It went very well, but for me, the timing wasn’t right. I had a lot of other things I had to prioritise at that time and running a business did not fit. However, I am firm believer in “everything happens for a reason”. Everything I’ve done since then, every role I’ve taken on, every responsibility I’ve carried, have all combined to make me ready for this role, at this time. I almost feel like I didn’t choose this – it chose me! I dipped my toe in the water at the right time (for me) and got caught in the current that is pulling me along! So, while my business, Organise and Enrich, has been running for 12 months, I have in fact been organising in some form or another since 2003.
What was the pivotal moment for you starting out as an organiser?
One day I was driving home from the theatre, where 70 children had just performed an outstanding production of “Hairspray” under the very talented direction of our daughter (hence how I got roped in to organising behind the scenes) and I thought “That would be my dream job – I wish I could just get paid to organise things. So, as you do, I went home and put Google to work. Well, blow me down, I discovered that it was actually a full-time profession! Organising! In Googleworld I came across you, Angela. So I picked up the phone. We had a long chat, and you were just so encouraging. After finding out my background you were very confident in my ability to pursue this as an option. When the time was right, I got myself involved in one of your courses, and then decided to follow that up with the specialty course on hoarding run by Hoarding Home Solutions. They were jam packed with so much information and set me up so well with everything I needed to jump right in. As my confidence grew in this role, so did my client base, and I was very quickly filling up my calendar weeks and weeks in advance. It soon became apparent that doing some study in the area of life coaching would be very complimentary to my business and allow value adding to the services I currently offer, as well as enabling me to expand into Productivity Coaching, so I began studying for my Diploma mid last year.
What’s your favourite thing about organising?
Oh, without a doubt it’s the difference it makes to people. While it’s very satisfying to see an area decluttered and organised, my absolute favourite thing has nothing to do with the tangible. It’s the feedback about how it makes people feel. One of my clients has survived trauma, major life changes, upheaval, and crippling overwhelm. When she called me in, she was ready for a fresh start. We’ve been working together consistently, and she’s made some major gains. One day, after organising her bedroom and hanging her clothes in a new wardrobe we had installed, she looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “I feel like a real person.” You can’t beat that.
To what do you attribute your success as an organiser?
Well, I think it’s a combination of a lot of things, but I’m in no doubt that the encouragement and training I got from you, Angela, and the support from the Professional Organisers of Melbourne group was instrumental in getting me started with such great momentum.
What is one habit that helps run your life smoothly?
Wherever possible, I try to implement the “touch it once” habit. By taking a little extra time and effort to deal with things straight away it saves time later. I don’t have to go back and revisit 10 things put off or put down during the day.
What’s one thing people do not know about you?
Well, I homeschooled our 4 children – and that was before COVID made it compulsory! Our decision was by choice and it lasted 17 years! We loved the homeschooling experience, the community was awesome, and the experiences that our children were privileged to have were such great building blocks to launch them into their various university studies and chosen careers. Loved every minute.
I’m passionate to point out that the experience everyone has been forced into over the last 2 years is not a representation in any way, shape, or form, of a homeschooling experience. Remote Learning and Homeschooling are two extremely different things. Homeschooling students suffered through this 2-year period as much as anyone with all their activity groups, study groups, outsourced subjects, excursions, camps, extra curricula’s and social experiences banned as well. Thank goodness all of us are on the other side of that moment in history!
What would you say to someone just starting out as an organiser?
Give it a go! Experiences in your past are useful for drawing information from to help you on your journey into organising. Every organiser can offer a different set of skills – that’s why we are unique. Equip yourself with some practical advice (from one of Angela’s courses for instance!) and give it a go!
What else should people know?
While I got into the organising field because I thought it would be a good fit for me and something I would enjoy, I soon came to understand, both through your courses and my study as a Life Coach, that it actually has very little to do with me. It’s not about what I think, or how I think it should be done, or what I think it should look like, or what steps I think a client should take to reach their goals. It must, at all times, be centered around the client. Listen. Listen well. Listen deeply. Listen to what they are not saying. The client will reveal, whether knowingly or not, the best way to address the issue that will work well for them. We can facilitate great things for these clients, and it’s a privileged role that we are in. I feel very honoured when people open themselves up and allow us in to help them live a life enriched.
Thank you Narelle. You’ve said such kind things about me, and given some great advice for anyone starting out or wanting to get ahead as an organiser.