Nov 10, 2022

Sunbound Asks: Sandi D’Arezzo of Hello Simplified Professional Organizing

Nat Miller

This week on Sunbound Asks we sat down with Sandi D’Arezzo, owner of Hello Simplified Professional Organizing, serving the East Coast and with locations in Cary, North Carolina and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was amazing welcoming Sandi to the blog, and we loved covering a wide range of topics including why Sandi’s company Hello Simplified has branches in both North Carolina and New Hampshire and Sandi’s favorite methods for keeping her own life organized. To learn more about Sandi and Hello Simplified check out her website here or read our interview below.

Q: How long have you been a professional organizer?

A: I started Hello Simplified in Portsmouth, New Hampshire in 2017 while I was still teaching elementary school music. One year later, in 2018, I left teaching to organize full-time. In 2019, my husband and I moved from New Hampshire to Cary, North Carolina, where I opened my second location. Now I manage an enthusiastic, talented team of organizers in both my New Hampshire and North Carolina locations.

Q: How’d you get into professional organizing?

A: I started reading about living with less and decluttering. Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up book got me even more hooked. I loved going through years of accumulation and only keeping what I loved and used now. It was freeing to let go of so many “just in case” items. I got to the point where there was nothing else to declutter, but I wanted to keep going. I wanted to help others feel this same joy of letting go too. That’s why I started Hello Simplified.

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

A: Closets and pantries are my favorite spaces, with big transformations possible for both. My favorite type of project overall would have to be one where we’re really improving the client’s life. Making spaces aesthetically beautiful is rewarding, but helping clients be less stressed and more at peace in their homes is the real reward of what we do.

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

A: My favorite memory is working with one of my first clients and my team is actually still in their home occasionally now, doing ongoing maintenance/organizing. The wife had early onset Alzheimer’s, which resulted in a lot of disorganization. She was transitioning out of her career, and they had two homes that needed to be consolidated into one. They really needed help and guidance in many aspects of their life. I was at their home for countless hours over the first year and we grew very close. It was amazing to see their home transform and to be able to help them in the life-altering transitions I mentioned before. I gained a lot of experience early in my organizing career from working with them as well. I am forever grateful to have them in my life!

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

A: Decanting items in your pantry isn’t always best! Pinterest and Instagram will tell you, via beautiful photos, that pantries with every individual item in clear containers is the way to go. This can work for some, but remember, you have to fill these containers every time you come home from the grocery store. You have to eat the same foods consistently or clean the containers often. It may not be as pretty, but doing broader categories in large bins, in original cardboard/plastic containers, is usually the better route for most! I do recommend baking items like flour and sugar decanted into containers though.

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

A: That’s a tough one, since I use a lot of what we teach our clients daily! Something that I have to remind myself often though, since I’m still human, is about “just in case” items. It’s hard to not want to hold onto things, just in case, and let items accumulate. I remind myself of the worst case scenario: if I get rid of this item I’m not using, what’s the worst thing that will happen if I need it again? Is it as simple as ordering it on Amazon or running to the store and spending a small amount of money? Then it’s safe to let go. If we keep all the little items around us “just in case,” it makes it harder to find and use what we actually need and stresses us out with visual clutter in our homes.

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

A: I love seeing more eco-friendly products. We’re one of the two Raleigh, North Carolina Container Store Organizing Partners, and they have some really beautiful recycled plastic organizing bins.

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

A: It’s not just organizing! A lot of what we do is decluttering. Yes, we have clients who want us to come in and just organize what they have, but the biggest benefit to clients comes when we coach them through decluttering and letting go of items that no longer serve them. It’s human nature to accumulate items over the years, but clutter increases our stress and makes it harder to live with and utilize what we love in our homes. We help clients make those difficult decisions and give them the motivation to look at items that have been hidden away/avoided for years. We take that weight off clients’ shoulders and give them a smiling companion to go through the process with.

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

A: I have a toddler, so I’m having fun with her when not running my business. I was an elementary school music teacher for 5 years, but organizing has been a much better fit for me. I also did financial coaching for a couple of years, in addition to my organizing business, but I stopped offering that to focus on the home organizing aspect. Luckily, I’ve tried other things and there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing!

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

A: There are some wonderful organizing books out there, depending on your style. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo is the book that got me started, but some of it can be intense! The general principles are very helpful though. Although a morbid name, Swedish Death Cleaning is a concept that many people find motivating: going through the process of letting go now, so that when we pass one day, we don’t leave that burden for others. There are so many books and articles on this concept. I would start with the idea of decluttering, before going out to buy bins and baskets. You don’t want to attempt to organize all your “stuff”, before you cull it down to what you use and love, first.

If you want to learn more about how a professional organizer like Sandi can help you with your move, please reach out to us at info@sunboundhomes.com or check out our FAQ page to learn why Sunbound is the best way to pay for senior living.

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