Welcome back to my Summer Organizer Spotlight series where I’ve been interviewing different Professional Organizers throughout the summer. I’ve really been enjoying reading the variety in the answers and gleaning some fabulous organizing tips along the way. Today I’m happy to introduce you to Cynthia Murray, a Professional Organizer in Tampa, FL, who you might recognize as the lady over there in my sidebar (with her cute baby boy!). Cynthia and her husband have been long time advertisers with me to promote their awesome second business called Profitable Organizer. Their business is designed to help you set up your own Professional Organizing business from start to finish. I only wish they were around when I started my business a number of years ago. I hope you enjoy today’s interview….the before and after pictures at the end are AWESOME!
Name: Cynthia Murray
Business Name: Tampa Home Organizer
Location: Tampa, FL
Second Website: www.profitableorganizer.com
Number of Years in Business: 3 years
Recently writing and publishing my first book! “Ultimate Guide to Organizing: How to organize yourself, your family, & your home” To learn more, watch my free presentation here.
What is your favorite space to organize? Why?
My favorite space (and most fun) to organize is playrooms. There, I can be the most creative, and therefore so can the kiddos I’m organizing the space for…all while making clean-up a cinch, which makes their mommy and daddy very happy!
What is one of your favorite organizing products? Why?
I’d have to say the cardboard type boxes with lids from IKEA, “Kassett”. They come in a few different colors, very inexpensive, and are fantastic for home offices and all those little extra supplies, DVDs, CDs, keepsakes, things in your linen closet such as extra makeup, medicine, nail polish…you name it! Slap a cute label on the front and you’re golden!
What do you find is the toughest part about being an organizer?
The physical part! Just kidding…but sometimes it is! I’m pretty handy, so I assist clients through putting together furniture, installing shelving, hanging pictures, and so on. But, in all honesty, you need to be able to work with a wide-range of personalities and react accordingly. Some clients are more sensitive, where some are more humorous and say “PLEASE organize my junk!!!”
Do you think you were born with the organizing gene or have you developed the skills over time?
I was definitely a born organizer! I recently looked in my baby book when visiting my parents, and my mom wrote “She’s very particular in everything she does” and “She’s great at putting her shoes on by herself, and on the correct feet”. It’s funny looking back at how little things turned out to have been a “sneak peak” to how I would turn out and my career path.
What area of your own home do you find the most difficult to keep on top of?
Probably the kitchen. Mainly because it’s in constant use, since my husband and I work from home, and we have a 10 month old son. Meals throughout the day, snacks, baby food, bottles, and everything in between. All the other rooms in the house are fairly easy to stay on top of and keep organized. Luckily!
What do you have a collection of? How do you display/organize it?
I can honestly say I don’t collect anything…other than décor. :) I love to accessorize everywhere I can and group frames and art work on the walls and tables. But I have a feeling my son is starting to collect things…TOYS!
How would your mom describe your room as a kid (in terms of organization)?
I was always pretty organized growing up. I knew where everything was and arranged my posters and knick knacks very precise. I loved getting new binders and folders before school started up so I could pick out my stylish organizing tools. haha
Do you have an organizing mantra for yourself and your clients?
Only to get rid of clutter! I would call myself a “hider” when it comes to organizing. I like clean lines, things in cute baskets, boxes, or bins with pretty labels instead of a clear plastic container where you can see everything inside. I have my degree in Interior Design, so every space I organize, I incorporate functionality with style; all while doing it on a budget. That’s how I roll.
In a few sentences, can you tell us what your approach is for taking clients from overwhelmed to organized?
First things first, purging. Getting rid of items they don’t use and will never use. I offer to bring all donations to a nearby Goodwill for my clients too…one less trip for them, and it gets the job done pronto. Next, is organizing. We assess what’s left and I come up with a plan on how to best use the space provided, while getting input from the client.
What is one thing you want others to know about working with a Professional Organizer?
That it’s a great tool, if you will, to getting things done. People hire organizers for different reasons, but the result is the same. To create a calm, stress-free, functional environment that works for that individual.
Bit of advice to those looking to work with an organizer: Use the consultation as a test-run. See if you connect with the organizer, if you feel comfortable around them, and that you don’t feel judged or belittled by their character or what they say. After all, they will be all up in your stuff and business, so you better like them!
Before and after pictures are so motivating. Could you share an example of your work with us and tell us a little about what you did?
Sure! I love taking before and after pictures…it shows the client side-by-side how much we achieved, and I post them on my website to show potential clients my work.
This before/after is of a playroom…my favorite space to organize! :) Obviously, there were way too many toys; stuff lined up all along the perimeter of the room and every nook and cranny filled. Not to mention the busy area rug pattern adding to the chaos.
First step, as with any space, was to purge, purge, PURGE! I think we got rid of over half of the toys in the space and donated them to needy families. The mom and I had a fun shopping day at IKEA and picked up a few goodies, including a great storage piece with slide out bins that fit perfectly under the window.
The window wasn’t a great spot for art work, since they faded quickly from the sun. So, I moved their art work across the room on a wall and used a wire with clips from IKEA to display. The Large wall unit was great in that it held a lot of stuff, and since there wasn’t a TV in the large middle space, I created a sitting area using pillows and cute flower light. I even took the wooden knobs off and painted them white to brighten things up. It’s all in the details!
The children now have an area to do arts and crafts, color, do puzzles and whatever else their creative hearts desire! The soft green ottomans underneath hold coloring books and paper and slide out for additional seating. What is one of the biggest noticeable changes? That rug! Using a solid color rug adds to the clean lines and organized look. This allows the art work and bright colors to be the main attraction, not the busy floor pattern!