Get to Know More About NEXT LEVEL Organizing
How did the idea for NEXT LEVEL Organizing come about?
The idea actually started back in 2007. I had just moved back to Connecticut from NYC after working in the fashion industry as a Merchandiser for Josie Natori. I had moved back to be closer to my family and my boyfriend (now husband) and I was looking for something new. I had loved working for Natori and living in NYC but my heart was in Connecticut and I knew commuting was not something I wanted. I decided to take the summer to decide what my next move would be. In between job searches. I tried to make myself useful. While everyone else I knew was at work, I started rethinking their linen closets, reorganizing their cabinets, and pulling rooms together that needed a little extra love. My favorite part was creating systems that worked better in their spaces. I didn’t think much about it until one day when I came across a magazine article about a local professional organizer. The article resonated with me so much that I decided to reach out to the organizer and I soon began working for her. After realizing this was my new path, in 2009 I went off on my own with Organized Interiors by Emily, which transitioned into NEXT LEVEL organizing in 2018.
Like many self-employed parents, over the years I catered my business to my life changes. I was very busy with work for a couple of years then transitioned to working part-time when my daughters were babies (they are currently seven and four). About three years ago I noticed my business growing rapidly and I decided I was ready to go back to full-time organizing. Pretty quickly I realized I couldn’t keep up with the demand. The projects were coming in faster and they were getting bigger and I couldn’t manage them the way I wanted to on my own anymore. As I grew with employees I realized my business name no longer felt aligned with what we were doing together collectively in clients’ homes. I wasn’t doing all the organizing myself anymore. We truly were working as a team bringing spaces to the NEXT LEVEL. Last year when contemplating a name change with some colleagues, someone reflected back to me that I had just said “we take spaces to the next level” 3 times (and I hadn’t even noticed)! Our new name was born then and there.
How does the process work?
Our process is to: Consult, Organize and Maintain.
Consult: When new clients find us, we start our work together with a phone call or an email correspondence where they share what type of organizational project they need help with. The projects range from new home or post-renovation unpacking and setting up, whole home organization for busy families or a specific project they just need help tackling among other things. Assuming our team can help, I then schedule an initial consult in their home where I hone in on the project goals and figure out how and when we could accomplish them. The consult is also my opportunity to get a sense of the client’s space, their lifestyle, their design style, their potential involvement and product needs. Our consults usually take 1-1.5 hours and set the stage for our working sessions.
Organize: When we show up for our organizing sessions we confirm the goal for the day with the client and get right to work. No matter the size or type of project, our organizing process always consists of doing 4 things: sorting, deciding, containing and labeling.
-We SORT like items together after emptying the space we are working in.
-We DECIDE what everything is and where it belongs.
-We CONTAIN and create homes for the “keep” items using baskets, bags, folders, or whatever is needed/wanted for the space.
-We LABEL where appropriate. This step is important because it communicates to all parties what the space is intended for. At the end of the work day which is anywhere from 5-8 hours long, we clean up our work space, talk about next steps that either the client or our team is responsible for, and take away any donations if there are any (and we are able to).
Maintain: We offer ongoing maintenance to all our clients where we tidy up existing systems that we previously had created or tackle new projects. We offer this service monthly, quarterly or on an as needed basis. We love being a service provider that families can count on and trust to support them in their homes.
What are some tips for ways to get organized in the home?
This is a hard question for me as I start to go down a rabbit hole of all the things you can do to be more organized but I am going to try to narrow this down to a few favorites…
1.) Designate a spot (or a bag or a box) for donation items in your home.
The best way I know to keep clutter at bay is to keep those items you don’t want or need moving out of your home on a regular basis. When your designated spot fills up, move it to your car with a clear vision of where you are going to donate it. Even if it drives around with you for a few days, it is more likely to get where it needs to go if it is in your front seat rather than at a bottom of a toy bin or at the back of a closet.
2.) Go through your mail daily and sort it over the recycle bin.
This eliminates most of the mail and leaves the remainder that can go straight to be filed as a reference or to a “follow up” or “bills to pay” location.
3.) Be intentional with what you bring into your home.
The more you own the more you need to care of. I would even go a step further for those really interested in being clutter free and think about how you will get rid of the item if you decide you want to. Will you be able to easily sell/donate/recycle this item later? Personally, if it is something that will only complicate my life later, I do my best to keep it out.
4.) Create homes for every item in your home and organize for NOW.
If an item doesn’t have a home it will always be hanging around as clutter. Take the time to find a location that makes sense for how you use the item and how often you use it. The prime real estate in any given space should be reserved for what you regularly access.
How would you describe your method?
I would describe our method as personal and customized. We recognize that every client and space is unique and we tailor each project to meet the individual needs. We truly try to understand the flow of the household and where the challenges are to come up with solutions that are functional and stylish.
What's the best way to maintain your space?
The best way to maintain your space is to create systems and habits that work for your whole family and to re-evaluate those systems often. Make sure that everyone in the house knows what the system is and is on board with it. Additionally, people’s lives are not stagnant, so their systems cannot be either. If a system is not working take a few minutes to evaluate why.
Often giving yourself just a few minutes to brainstorm alternatives is all you need to determine the next steps to fixing a broken system. In our home, some systems that help to maintain the space are the following: a drop zone for all when entering the house, a five-minute daily pick up before dinner, a weekly schedule for laundry and chores, seasonal closet changes for all closets, and consistent purging as new items enter the home. Another tip I like to share is that my kids know that 1 toy in = 1 toy out. I am not a huge stickler about this rule but it serves as a guide for them and is a great conversation to have with my kids on a regular basis. This simple rule has lessened their desire for more and helped to keep clutter at bay.
Anything else to add?
Yes! Organizing can be hard and it takes time. You are faced with so many decisions and that can be both physically and mentally exhausting. Be kind to yourself in the process and take it one step at a time. If you find that you need support, call in a professional. We truly love helping others find peace in their homes through organization.