Aug 22, 2022

Sunbound Asks: Heather Bifulco of Tidy Style

Nat Miller

This week on Sunbound Asks we sat down with Heather Bifulco, professional organizer and founder and head designer of Tidy Style located in Boise, Idaho. We had an amazing time welcoming Heather to Sunbound Asks, and discussed topics ranging from her philosophies on the most effective organizational methods, to tips and tricks Heather uses to keep her own home and life organized. To learn more about Heather and Tidy Style, visit the Tidy Style website here (www.tidystylehome.com), follow them on Instagram @tidystylehome or read our interview below.

Q: How long have you been a professional organizer?

A: I started Tidy Style in 2016 and have been growing year over year since.

Q: How’d you get into professional organizing?

A: I started my career in sales and marketing, working for a large corporation.  When my daughter came in 2012 I decided to stay home for a few years.  My son came shortly after and so I had time to really think about my “why” behind going back to work. My criteria for going back to work was #1 it had to be doing something I really enjoyed and #2 the schedule had to be flexible.  I looked for about 6 months and realized that I was going to have to create this for myself.  Organizing is something that comes naturally to me, and something I really love. I’ve never thought of myself as entrepreneurial but I decided to take things one step at a time and see how it worked. In 2016 there weren’t a lot of professional organizers out there, and it was difficult at first spreading awareness. But now, with all the shows and everything, it’s become very popular and people for the most part understand you can hire someone to come in and help you organize. Today we have over 20 passionate organizers working at Tidy Style and we’re so proud of the work we do.

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

Here in suburban Idaho many people have a large, walk-in pantry. So when I started my business we were doing like 90% pantries. I still love them, but the projects that are the most satisfying are the ones where we are doing major decluttering. This doesn’t have to be for a specific type of space, but those are the jobs where the end result is really dramatic and where the client really has experienced a life changing event.  We can take our clients from existing in a space where they are stressed and have anxiety when they open any door or closet, to all of a sudden feeling light and easy in their space. What’s amazing is that we can see that physical transformation!  We leave them feeling lighter, less stressed, and with the gift of calm. Those are the jobs we walk away from feeling really good.

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

A: I have two that immediately come to mind. One was an elderly woman who had recently lost her husband within the year she called me. She had been in her house with her husband for 30 or 40 years and they had accumulated a ton of stuff, and she felt like she was drowning in it. When her husband died she didn’t get rid of his stuff, but that ended up making her a little depressed. It was hard for her to keep up her routines because she would always see his things around the house and before she knew it, there was clutter everywhere. When I first came to her the shades were drawn, it was dark, and no music was playing. So the first thing I did was open the windows and start playing music. We decluttered for 4 days, with Goodwill trucks coming every day to take stuff away. By the end of it she was a completely different person! We had another woman who had a craft room that she said used to be her sanctuary, but her husband had developed early onset dementia and in taking care of him she had let it become completely disorganized. So we went in and organized that space for her and were able to give her sanctuary back. When we were finished she had tears in her eyes, it was so gratifying for us. So those are two, but we have memorable clients every single week.

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

A: One thing I’ll say, even if it isn’t unconventional, is that we’ve found that a lot of people really overspend when it comes to buying organizational tools (like bins or baskets). But our whole philosophy is that while those things can be helpful and sometimes necessary, organization is really more about keeping it simple. A lot of times if a gadget says it’s an easy fix, it will actually end up being more of a barrier or pain point. Organization really is about editing down to the right amount of stuff for the space. This is not always what people want to hear, especially when they have an emotional attachment to the things they’ve accumulated. But we never ask people to get rid of things they are truly attached to, it’s really more about getting rid of the things that they don’t need, use or love.

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

A: Keeping things simple. For example, a lot of people have a Tupperware drawer or other food storage cabinet that is a pain point. I find it’s because they have 3 or 4 or 5 different types of food storage containers. If you minimize to a single type, it’s more convenient to store and easier on the eye. This is really true for many different categories kept in the home.

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

A: I don’t know how much of a trend it is, but the last few years our unpacking and home set up service has really grown. That’s where we meet our clients either the day the movers are arriving or the day after. This way we can set up the client with organizational systems from the beginning of their time in the home. It feels so nice for our clients to be able to cook a meal in their kitchen that first day because we’ve unpacked and set up the space and cleared out all the boxes.

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

A: I think there’s a misconception that professional organizing is about organizational tricks and life hack.  It’s much more about the fundamentals of sorting things into categories, and really examining which things really serve you and which things you want to let go. We’ll tell clients “don’t buy a gadget to organize your water bottles, just own less water bottles.” We organize for a lot of families, and some pretty big ones, and so we understand it can be difficult limiting the number of possessions you have. But we still like to keep focused on the fundamentals of organization.

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

A: I think I’d be doing something in health and wellness. And actually, I do believe that organization is a foundation for your own personal wellness.   I see that every day with my clients and their families. I had a client just this week text us that after we organized her home she was able to come off her antidepressants and feels like herself again. If you can’t feel good in your home, where can you feel good?

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

A: I would say one of the big inspirations behind my business was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. She’s become quite famous and now also has a Netflix show, but her book was a huge inspiration behind my company Tidy Style. I think it’s a really beautifully written book. She talks a lot about the energy of a space and that’s something that really resonates with me. A lot of what we do at Tidy Style is really inspired by her philosophies. If you want to learn more about how a professional organizer like Heather can help you with your move, please reach out to us at info@sunboundhomes.com or check out our services page to see how Sunbound can help you have your easiest move yet.

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