Frequently Asked Questions


What do you mean by a minimalist or essentialist approach?

Minimalism has a harsh ring to many people. It may call to mind austere, empty spaces or a cold, joyless existence. But I think minimalism is the opposite of stark—it simplifies your life and makes it easier to stay organized. It makes daily life smoother and creates more time for the things you love.

You might find this idea more appealing if you use a newer term, essentialism. Essentialism shifts the focus. It reminds us that paring down is not about limits or constraints, but about holding on to what is truly useful and important—essential—and letting go of the rest. I think this simpler, streamlined approach is liberating.

I do encourage my clients to pare down, sometimes past their initial comfort level. But I never press them to keep only a fixed number of items or to strip the personality from their spaces. Instead, we thoughtfully examine their possessions and let go of the ones that don’t add value or meaning to their lives. It then becomes easier for clients to use, enjoy, and organize what remains.

How are you different from other organizers?

I believe that limiting possessions is the best way to stay organized and that it improves your life in many other ways. So as part of my organizing mission, I help my clients rethink their relationship to their stuff and adopt a simpler, more pared-down approach. This approach is often called minimalism, but I prefer the newer term essentialism. I help my clients let go of items that no longer serve them and hold on to what’s really important—things that are truly meaningful and useful to them.

My clients want to solve the practical effects of disorganization. But they also want to feel less burdened by their collections or less overwhelmed by the volume of things they own. Many are worried about the broader impacts of having so much stuff: waste, environmental damage, the effects of consumerism, the values conveyed by buying and owning so many things.

What does this mean in practice? Let’s say we’re working on your bedroom. We won’t just cull and arrange your clothes till they fit neatly in your closets, maybe with a little breathing room. We’ll also consider how many clothes you need in the first place and the various benefits of having a smaller wardrobe: less laundry, easier decisions about what to wear each day, saved money, reduced waste, and more.

Is minimalism/essentialism for everyone?

No, I don’t think so. It’s possible to have many possessions and still be organized. (It’s also possible to have only a few things and still be disorganized.) You might have a lot of stuff that you truly love, and that doesn’t cause you any problems or pain. If that’s the case, great! You don’t need me or any other organizer.

But many people do feel weighed down by their stuff. Their excess is contributing to their disorganization and causing them pain. Those are the clients I aim to help. People often tell me they are overwhelmed or burdened by their things, or that they experience guilt or shame about the volume of their possessions, or that they yearn to simplify their spaces. If these emotions are familiar to you, then you might find that paring down makes you feel lighter and happier, and helps you to stay organized. You are a great candidate for a more streamlined, simpler approach!

Who are your clients?

organized wardrobeClients come to me because they feel overwhelmed by their stuff. But often it’s not only the stuff itself that bothers them—they may also worry about waste, or the environmental impact of having a lot of things, or the values they are conveying to their children and others. They want to do more than “just get organized.” They want to pare down their possessions in order to uncover calmer, simpler, more organized spaces, alleviate feelings of stress or guilt, and inspire a more minimalist/essentialist approach in the future.

Here are some challenges that prompt clients to contact me:

  • the cluttered appearance of their homes
  • the ever-present baskets of laundry waiting to be washed or put away
  • the time they spend decluttering before they can clean their houses or have a cleaning service come in
  • their habit of buying duplicates because they don’t know what they already have
  • the hassle of removing things from overstuffed cupboards or closets (or returning them) because they are so crowded—and the tendency to then use or wear the same items over and over, despite the abundance of things they have.

My clients also worry about larger issues:

  • a feeling of “too much” (overconsumption, consumerism, wasteful spending, waste in general)
  • anxiety about how much money they spend on their too-many things
  • the environmental impact of all their buying and stuff
  • the values they are conveying by purchasing and owning so many things
  • the disconnect between their values and the effects of their overaccumulation.

What type of client do you work best with?

My clients are most successful when they want not only to organize their spaces, but also to critically consider and then pare down their possessions. They are yearning for simpler spaces, which is precisely the goal of this more minimalist/essentialist approach.

Clients get the best results when they are willing to invest time and energy, because they realize that getting organized is a process. After all, it took time to accumulate their possessions, so it will take time to evaluate them and decide what should stay and what should go. I am there with my clients throughout the process, for support and guidance.

How long will it take? How much will it cost? What are your fees?

All clients are different, because there are so many variables. How much stuff do you have? How big is your space? How fast can you make decisions? Will you have to consult with a spouse?

Most people can plan to spend several hundred to a few thousand dollars to address their organizing challenges. We discuss the options on our initial call. I offer half- and full-day sessions, as well as packages; I also offer a do-it-yourself option. For a list of services, click here.

Here are some points to keep in mind. First, a more minimalist/essentialist approach will save you money going forward. Fewer clothes, fewer groceries, fewer items in general—not only will your life be easier, but your expenses will also go down. Plus, in keeping with my philosophy, my preference is always to limit the number of new items you need to buy. Whenever possible, we will use supplies you have on hand.

Second, I ask you to think of getting organized as an investment with big payoffs beyond the money you can save over the long term. The process will make your home look and work better, it will give you more time for the important things in your life, it will reduce your impact on the environment, and it will help you put your values into action.

Will you judge me? Is the process discreet?

No, I will not judge you. I’ve seen everything from minor clutter to looks-like-a-tornado-hit chaos (even in my own house!). To me, a disorganized space is a challenge waiting to be solved. And I love coming up with the solution!

And yes, the process is absolutely discreet. I will never reveal anything about your home or its contents to anyone, ever, unless you give me explicit permission. (For example, posting before-and-after pictures on my website.) But many clients are so happy with their progress that they’re eager to share!  And I love to use their happy stories in my own marketing.

Do you customize your services?

Yes. Always. No two people or families have the same challenges. Nor do they have the same lifestyles or habits or hobbies or preferences. That is why I spend a lot of time up front getting to know you—so that we can tailor our solutions to your needs.

What do you offer that I can’t do myself?

I offer motivation, accountability, a new perspective, expertise, specialized knowledge, and hands-on help. You might need some or all of those, or you might need none, because many people can get organized on their own.

But organizing doesn’t come naturally to everyone; neither does paring down. So the process may seem mysterious or daunting. Or you may simply feel overwhelmed and unsure of how or where to start. If these feelings sound familiar, my help may be just what you need.

I realize that there’s a lot of free (or cheap) help available from web sites, blogs, and magazine articles. A lot of it is great (I read it myself), but I believe that many of these resources can actually make getting organized harder. For one thing, they can be very discouraging, because they may make you feel that your home must be magazine-spread perfect in order to be organized—even though in real life those rooms would never work. More often, those pictures and articles prompt what I think of as “organizing for organizing’s sake.” What do I mean? Rearranging things, perhaps in matching containers, maybe with pretty labels, but without that all-important step of considering what is truly essential. This process may make things look better for a while. But it won’t make your life simpler or easier or help you feel less overwhelmed. That’s the result I deliver to my clients by working directly in their homes, tailoring solutions to their needs and habits, and helping them streamline their possessions.

It can also be hard to see beyond the established patterns and habits that contribute to disorganization, which is why it’s common for newly organized spaces to revert to their former state. I can help you tackle the root causes of your disorganization. I also suggest tips, tricks, and products you may not be aware of and prevent you from committing a common and costly error: investing in storage solutions that don’t meet your needs.

Are you affiliated with any professional group or associations?

Yes. I am a member of NAPO, the National Association of Professional Organizers, the country’s premier professional association for organizers, which has a strict code of ethics and provides rigorous training for members. I am also a member of the New Jersey chapter.

How long are appointments?

The assessment visit is usually 30-45 minutes. Work sessions are half-days (most often) or full days.

How do I prepare for appointments?

You don’t! At least not for our first appointment. This is very important. If you clean or straighten or declutter, I won’t get an accurate picture of your challenges. Please, don’t feel at all sensitive about this. I’ve seen all levels of disorganization.

For later appointments, you may decide to do “homework”—perhaps some further decluttering, dropping off donations, etc. This is your choice, of course. If you prefer, we can do all of this together.

Are any contracts involved?

Yes, I have a simple contract for us both to sign.

What is your cancellation policy?

I ask for at least 48 hours’ notice by phone if you must cancel or postpone a session for any reason other than an emergency. Otherwise, I must charge half of the fee for the canceled session.

How can I get in touch with you?

Please call me at 908 758 3378 or send me an email at Info@EssentialHomeOrganizing.com

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