Jul 4, 2022

Sunbound Asks: Janine Adams of Peace of Mind Organizing

Nat Miller

This week on Sunbound Asks we sat down with Janine Adams, a Certified Professional Organizer and founder of Peace of Mind Organizing located in St. Louis, Missouri. Check out our interview with Janine below, as we talked about a wide range of subjects, from her first career as a writer (about pets!), to how changing something’s name can help it stay clutter-free, to tips and tricks on how to keep your own life organized. 

Q: How long have you been a professional organizer?

A: 17 years. I started my business in 2005.

Q: How’d you get into professional organizing?

A: I was working as a freelance writer(I wrote about pets). I did it for 10 years, and after about 10 years I was pretty much burned out by the publishing industry. I knew about the professional organizing industry because as an interested civilian I had attended a NAPO conference in the early 90’s. I had helped my husband organize his home office, this was a couple years before I started my business, and I remember saying to him “I could do this for a living, this is really fun.” So when I was working on my last book I said to myself “the only way I can finish this book is if I know what’s next”, and that was professional organizing. So when I finished my book, I joined NAPO, and the rest came naturally from there. NAPO was incredibly helpful setting up my business and reaching my first clients (this was before social media).

Q: What’s your favorite type of project to work on since you started your business?

A: I have two ways to answer that. My company generally works in organizing teams, and I love organizing big moves. Right now we’re working on a super complicated move, and that’s very fun and very challenging. But when I’m working one-on-one with a client I love a junk drawer. I jump at the chance to work on those! I also love organizing pet supplies and bars, generally I like smaller spaces. My favorite tip for organizing a junk drawer is first to start calling it a utility drawer. Words are very important and you are far more likely to keep it clean if you call it a utility drawer. If you refer to it as a junk drawer, it will be harder to get out of the habit of just dumping your junk in there. After that, make sure to sort it out and use some drawer dividers to maintain the order. 

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

A: I was very fortunate because I had a wonderful long-term client who moved to Hawaii from St. Louis and she had me come unpack there. I was very fond of her and I knew her stuff so well, and of course we were also in paradise. So that was a very amazing memory. 

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

A: Everything feels conventional because I’ve been doing it for so long, but the thing that pops to mind is to stick a basket under a pile and call it done. If you have a place where stuff lands, just put a basket where you’re always throwing that stuff. So for example, if you find yourself always throwing the dog’s leash on a particular spot on the floor or a bench, put a small basket in that spot to always hold the leash (and other related dog-walking items). Working with your natural instincts is a very great way to stay organized.

 

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

A: I am a big developer of daily habits. With my clients I always stress the importance of doing things daily and not letting them build up. So there are lots of things I like to do everyday like looking at my bank accounts and making sure I’m on top of my money, and trying to do yoga. I also write a daily task list. I keep this little tracker and I get the satisfaction of having checked each task off, as well as seeing the frequency at which I’ve done things. If you create a chain of things you’re doing daily you’re motivated to keep going so that you don’t break the chain.  

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

A: I don’t know if this is a trend, but in my business, I’m using smaller teams. Pre-COVID, I led large teams. That is what set my business apart and we could get things done really fast. And then when we went back to work after COVID, we worked in smaller teams, to be safe. So we were working in teams of 2 to 3 instead of 4 to 5. But interestingly we found that we could be more efficient with the smaller teams, because it freed up the team leaded to do more organizing. Everything is also a little more predictable using a smaller, and therefore more consistent, crew, and it can be much more efficient having the same team each time.

 

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

A: I wish more people knew how valuable hiring a professional organizer can be from a financial standpoint. It can be an investment, but there’s a great return whether it’s in productivity, efficiency, or peace of mind. I love it when someone writes me a check and says“this was worth every penny.” And I hear that a lot, which is amazing! I wish more people knew that professional organizing was worth the investment. 

 

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

A: I’d be spending more time with my genealogy life. I have a blog called Organize Your Family History, and I love genealogy. I got into it about 20 years ago when I found a family history of my mother’s side of the family and I started doing my own exploring. I wanted to learn to do it right so that I could trust my research and know that it was reliable. Also, because there can be so much data involved in genealogy, it can be a challenge to keep the data organized. I really enjoy being able to help people keep their genealogy organized.   

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

A: I have recently become acquainted with the website Clutterbug. The woman who writes it has an organizing philosophy that I think is very interesting. She splits people into4 groups (or bugs) based on whether they like to see things or hide them away, or if they like broad categories or detailed categories. Her philosophy is really informative in terms of figuring out how to organize in a way that will be easy for you to maintain. So if you’re moving, you can take her quiz, and see what type of “bug” you are. This might help you organize your stuff as you move in. And of course please feel free to check out my blog! For those who are struggling with organization, the Institute for Challenging Disorganization has some fact sheets that folks might find useful (particularly if they have a lot of stuff to declutter and organize before moving). 

If you want to learn more about how a professional organizer like Janine 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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