I’m Mary, founder and co owner of Sort and Sweet Inc, a professional decluttering and organizing business. My main job is to help people understand the importance of simplicity and that less is more in a world where more is seen as the end goal. I’m also on a personal mission to demonstrate how decluttering three main areas of our lives – our physical space, our thoughts and our emotions, and our schedules – will make us successful in both our personal and professional lives.
When I started Sort and Sweet in 2017, I had zero business training, no start up funds other than what was in my bank account, and not a lot of support from those around me. I finally took the leap of faith though to follow my dream of not only being my own boss, but also to help others get organized. It was rocky, to say the least, for the first year. I managed to build up a clientele and pay the bills but I was royally burnt out and secretly regretting my decision.
A large reason for this, I came to realize, is that my life had become cluttered. I was trying to do all the things and help all the people and my life and business was entirely too complicated. When I decided to take on a business partner in the beginning of 2019, we vowed to simplify things for the sake of the company and our sanity. We became very clear on who we wanted to help, our niche in other words, and created a streamlined process for every single area of the business. In addition, we learned the value of outsourcing in the form of both a team of organizers who we trained thoroughly (and yes, we also have a streamlined training program we put them through), but in an assistant to help with scheduling, social media, and other things that must get done but don’t necessarily require our time or brain energy to do.
This not only made things get done faster and more efficiently, it also made us happier! We weren’t constantly stretched too thin and found ourselves with, dare I say it, time to actually relax and have a social life again! As entrepreneurs, especially in the first few years, that’s usually hard to come by and we’re not where we want to be 100% yet but we’re getting closer to it and we have being organized to thank for that.
To think that a professional organizer was struggling with clutter is a funny concept but not one that’s foreign. I also own a coaching business, Organized Overall, where I work one on one with those who are looking to declutter their lives so that they can pursue a big dream, usually the dream of starting their own business. The number one demographic to come to me for this? People who want to become professional organizers! Due to the fact that Sort and Sweet has expanded and is continuing to expand to several states in the U.S., I actually do not work one on one with those looking to start their own organizing business (and instead refer them to someone I know and trust), but I always have a conversation with them to find out what they’re struggling with. Their struggle is exactly like anyone else’s I hear and that’s that they are too bogged down in their current situation – whether that be with too much on their plate, their family has too much clutter in the house, they are lacking in self confidence, and so on – that they know they want to attain their goal but can’t seem to find the path to get there.
Decluttering those three main areas is the key to clearing that path. Again, those areas include your physical space, your internal thoughts and emotions, and your time. Some of the advice I give to my clients – and also myself daily – is to focus on what doesn’t spark joy in your life. If it doesn’t add to your overall happiness and goals, it’s time for it to go. This can go for a closetful of trendy clothes that don’t feel like you, negative self talk that holds you back from taking positive action, or obligations on your calendar that you really aren’t at all obligated to do or attend.
When it came to my business, I found that I was doing things that I thought I needed to do an entrepreneur even if I didn’t need to, didn’t want to, or it was way too early in my career to. I also had crippling toxic thoughts that made me self conscious when speaking to new clients and an undefined, disorganized work space (aka wherever my laptop landed) that was blurring the lines between work and life. By writing down what I actually wanted to accomplish (not what I thought everyone else wanted me to), practicing positive mantras to help replace the negative ones (“there’s no room for doubt” became a favorite), and creating a boundary around my desk (meaning I couldn’t work outside the space), all greatly helped me in decluttering myself as an entrepreneur.
And the best thing of all was that the happier and more productive and organized I was in my business, the better my personal life became! I was more confident in my goals and allowed time for self care which, in turn, has made me a better boss, business partner, and friend. There’s a reason that my coaching business is called Organized Overall and that is because when one part of your life is organized, everything else tends to fall into place.
If you find yourself struggling with clutter in any form, my best advice is to write down what you actually want in life. Find simple systems to follow each day, whether it’s how your business is run or your morning routine, that will get you closer to those things. Remember that less is more and quality is truly better than quantity. And lastly, know that you come first and by filling your own cup up with what sparks joy for you, you will become the highest, most organized and happiest version of yourself!