Karen White from The Sorting Angel operates in the Melbourne metro area, particularly the east side of town. She agreed to be interviewed.
Tell me, Karen, who do you work with?
I work with people who are feeling overwhelmed and need someone to work alongside them to rediscover what is good about themselves and their homes.
Who is your ideal client?
My ideal client is someone who has been successful in raising a family and in their work life but has not taken the time to prioritise their own needs. One of my favourite moments is when a client says, “I’ve been looking for that for ages. I’m so glad we found it.”
What drew you to the organising industry and how long have you been in it?
I have always enjoyed sorting and organising apparent messes. When I was a Kindergarten teacher, I often found myself sorting equipment and trolleys. My holidays were spent helping others to sort out clutter in their wardrobes and cupboards.
Many of the skills from preschool teaching, such as breaking down tasks into manageable parts and making tedious jobs more fun, have been useful in my new job too.
My business started off part time in 2015 and has been full time since 2020.
What was the pivotal moment for you starting out as an organiser?
Someone suggested that I was good enough to do this for a job. After my initial reaction “No one would pay me to do that”, I discovered the professional organising industry and gradually transitioned into my own business.
What’s your favourite thing about organising?
My reward in decluttering comes when we can see a noticeable difference in a space and, more importantly, in the way my client is feeling as we work on a project. Many of my clients come through NDIS referrals and have mental or physical health challenges. To experience some acceptance and achieve a sense of control of a space is motivating for my client and for me.
Everyone has a story and as we build trust, we also build momentum.
To what do you attribute your success as an organiser?
I was always interested in the area of hoarding and trained with Hoarding Home Solutions to better understand this area of the business.
When working with an agency, I was lucky enough to be involved in a hoarded home situation. I felt confident and prepared to give it a go and found the task really rewarding. The feedback from clients is that they feel embarrassed to start with but that they find my approach is patient and understanding. I am there to help the client and not to judge their homes.
Tell me, what’s a guilty pleasure of yours?
My guilty pleasures are doing puzzles and word games for leisure.
What is one habit that helps your life run smoothly?
One habit that helps my life run smoothly is the motto “Don’t put it down, put it away.”
What is one thing people may not know about you?
I have been able to share my enjoyment in my business with my family and my son is now working as a handy man with NDIS and other clients too.
Is there any area of your life or home where you are not organised?
My own home has organised areas and some we are still working on. I find that the challenge of organising for family reminds me of how emotionally fraught this task can be and helps keep me “real” when helping others.
What would you say to someone just starting out as an organiser?
My advice to someone starting out is to encourage them to get started, to try any decluttering jobs that they can and work out what they are best suited to.
When you feel energised and excited by your everyday job and you have the chance to work for yourself, it is worth taking the step into the unknown.
Thanks for sharing, Karen. You really are an angel.