Aug 29, 2022

Sunbound Asks: Ellen Delap of

Nat Miller

This week on Sunbound Asks we sat down with Ellen Delap, Certified Professional Organizer and owner of located in Houston, Texas. We really loved having Ellen on the blog, covering a wide range of topics from how she got her first client as a professional organizer, to her favorite tip on how to get started with your decluttering. To learn more about Ellen check out her website here, or read our interview below.


Q: How long have you been a professional organizer?

A: A little over 20 years.


Q: How’d you get into professional organizing?

A: I started reading articles in The Houston Chronicle about people who do this work and thought “wow that’s remarkable.” So it was a very organic start for me. The article was about NAPO, so right away I was learning about the association. I had heard of NAPO because I was transitioning to work full time (I had been a teacher). This article was about NAPO and people who had done work as professional organizers. It wasn’t on my radar to start a business, but it was so easy to do with the support of NAPO, including the instant credibility and all the training that came with it. 


Q: What’s your favorite type of project to work on?

A: I do a lot of pantries with families. It’s been a lot of fun because they’re highly visual, and people really want to be able to easily feed their family and share time around the table. I would say my favorite and most frequent jobs are in the pantry. 


Q: What’s your favorite memory as a professional organizer?

A: Most of my clients I’ve been with a really long time, in fact I still work with my first client from time to time on all sorts of paperwork and things like that. One favorite memory would be getting that first client. Years ago, another NAPO member Sandra Felton had written a book on chronic disorganization. My first client reached out to her looking for help, and Sandra looked at the NAPO register and said we actually have a NAPO member in your community. The client’s husband needed help keeping his papers organized because he had always had a secretary at work and wasn’t used to keeping his papers straight at home. Getting my first client was special, and we’ve been working through these challenges together as a family ever since. It’s particularly nice helping older adults with these challenges.


Q: What’s your most unconventional professional organizing tip or trick?

A: I’m a big follower of categorizing stuff before you start decluttering. I think most people think of decluttering as the first step, but what I’ve learned from all the homes I‘ve gone into is that people don’t start by getting everything into one place (but they should). It’s really hard to declutter when you have things all over your house. For example, if you have gift wrap stored in five places in your house not only do you not know where it all is, you don’t know how much gift wrap you even have. So don’t start by getting rid of things, start by knowing what’s in your space and then once you see it all together, it’s much easier to edit.  


Q: What professional organizing practice do you use most in your own life?

A: I really limit the amount of things that come into my home. I’m very much what I call an essentialist. The only things that come in are things that are essential to everyday living. I’m also big on points of use. That means storing things where they’re going to be used, so things are easy to access as a result. So for example, my mugs are right by my Keurig, which is right by my Keurig pods. 


Q: What’s your favorite new professional organizing trend?

A: One really interesting thing I’ve been hearing a lot about is Gen Z and their level of connectedness with technology. Because of this I think there’s going to be a lot more digital detoxing and digital organizing as a result. Everyone is working from their phone as opposed to a desk or a computer, so I think there’s going to be some forward motion with people realizing what they can do to with their phones to simplify their lives and give themselves a little more calm and structure. One example would be to keep phones out of the bedroom to get a good night’s rest.


Q: What’s one thing you wish more people knew about professional organizing?

A: The variety of ways that a professional organizer can help you. It’s not just about your physical space. We have a lot of overlap with financial daily money managers, for example. There’s a large group of financial organizers, a large group of digital organizers, a large group of physical organizers. More and more I’m seeing these highly specialized organizing niches. Moving is another one I see all the time! Everyone should have help moving. It’s an enormous task emotionally and physically, and we have a lot of move specialists at NAPO. 


Q: If you weren’t a professional organizer, what else would you be doing?

A:  I can’t even imagine not doing this because I love it so much. I think this is the dream job.


Q: What professional organizing resources would you suggest for our readers?

A: I love NAPO. If it’s for people who want to become an organizer they should look on NAPO. For people who want to be more organized, I work with a lot of people with ADHD and the resources I recommend are some books and podcasts on ADHD. ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life by Judith Kolberg is a really great book. I would also recommend checking out Additude Magazine, which also has some amazing resources.

Sunbound is the best way to pay for senior living. If you want to learn more about how Sunbound can help make senior living more affordable for residents and easier to manage for communities, email us at or request a demo here. Sunbound is on a mission to make senior living more affordable for everyone.

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