Chief Clutter Cutter and Move Specialist Extraordinaire
Beth Blacker is a professional home organizer for clients through the Rocky Mountain area. She has been in business for over ten years and finds the biggest satisfaction when her work creates a positive domino effect in her clients lives.
Even though she is now considered an “empty nester” she’s very familiar with the demands and hectic schedules of busy families. She is partnering with DispatchMom to help relieve these stresses and is looking forward to taking part in positive movement towards a balanced lifestyle.
What led to a career path as a home organizer?
Beth Blacker: I always say that I was born with that weird gene that wants everything in a proper place. As a kid, my parents never had to say “clean your room” because I was always trying to figure out ways to make it seem bigger. It was only 8x10 with a tiny closet so I was more than prepared for dorm living in college. Even more so when I moved to NYC where I had just slightly more square feet to fit all of my “stuff.” Clutter has always made me uncomfortable because it stands out to me... most people don’t after a while and that is why they struggle with how to maintain it.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
B: My clients! They are all so uniquely different. Many of their stories are both fascinating and heartbreaking and my job is to get them to organize or eliminate the external clutter in their lives. At the same time we work to try and understand where it comes from, which is oftentimes an internal clutter. While some of us manage this “clutter” better than others, others simply need an outsider to step in and be the extra set of eyes, ears and hands to get through the physical and emotional demands of decluttering. Honestly, anyone can purge a cabinet or closet if they really need to, but my clients have found having me there really is the only way anything will happen. It’s a compounding or domino effect in what I do. When I hear feedback that an organized and improved home is having a bigger impact in other parts of their life, I feel uplifted and that difference in each client's lives is very satisfying.
What differentiates CO homes from other markets?
B: That’s a very interesting question and one that I have never really thought about before. Given that I started this business in Florida several years ago, I can tell you that the number one difference is figuring out what to do with so much outdoor gear in CO! I once thought the “Salt Life” folks had a ton of water toys and equipment but Rocky Mountain folks are on a whole other level. I guess that’s what makes us so lucky; we get to explore the nation's greatest mountains practically right outside our backyard. My process is still the same when approaching any clients house. Look for the “low hanging fruit”… aka items you can easily see and can be sorted through by being kept, tossed, or donated. The second phase deals with random items that don’t always fit into a category. Oftentimes worn out, but sentimental, items people are still emotionally attached to. Asking them to let it go can feel overwhelming and even sad but they are always in a better state of mind thereafter.
What is a typical customer like?
B: As mentioned, I have clients that just need an extra set of eyes, ears and hands to deal with particular storage or organizing issues. Then I have clients that really struggle and it usually takes a few hours to feel less overwhelmed before they see the transformation begin to unfold. Once they fall into a groove they can move forward and will feel extremely relieved as we are able to create a fresh new home environment.
What changes have you seen, beyond a tidy house, after you’ve completed a service?
B: The biggest change is seeing clients feel relieved and productive after they’ve committed to taking action. Again, it’s a domino effect where they then are able to take a deeper dive into other areas of their life that are no longer working for them; externally and internally.
It’s all about baby steps we can take every day. Controlling the clutter is not a race, it’s more of a journey. I think of it as the Weight Watcher’s for executive functioning...in other words a life maintenance plan!
For overwhelmed mothers needing a little order in their house, where do you recommend they began?
B: One thing that will have the fastest impact is using a calendar that everyone has access to and can readily be seen. There are so many creative ideas online if you're the crafty type but also many ways to keep track of everything using digital platforms and apps for busy families.
What is your advice for raising tidy kids?
B: We can start by teaching children ownership and responsibility for their stuff from the beginning. Try to be consistent with your messaging and never feel guilty for teaching them the consequences of not taking care of their clothes and toys. The other thing I notice is that everyone processes things differently and needs different tools based on their individual styles and habits. Bottom line, we just need to respect each other's functioning capabilities and try to create a system where everyone's needs can be met.
How do you find balance between work, play and everything in between?
B: As an empty nester I get to relax a bit instead of taking care of my kids these days! Sticking to a routine is so important for me even during a pandemic. Waking up and going to bed at the same time are the two biggest things we can all be doing for our kids and our own sake. I put everything on my digital calendar including meals, exercise, replying to emails, attending to admin responsibilities and spending time on social media. I set a timer quite a bit ago and that helps keep me on track for the day. Without it, I get lost in my day and never give myself any downtime to play and/or shut my brain off for a while.
Where do you see your business and other goals in three years?
B: Oh geez...seriously? I am not sure I can think beyond next week right now. 2020 has proven that no matter how much planning we may do, life has significant curve balls that can muck everything up.
I have been working to create a move management service to provide a much smoother transition for families from one home to the next. As many know, the entire process can be very stressful and I want to solve that. As the “mediator” for a move, I can help people with the packing and unpacking so that they can save time, money and aggravation. I also want to implement more green and zero waste initiatives for the industry. The amount of boxes, paper and bubble wrap used in this country every year is a bit staggering. We go through 900 million boxes a year for moving and even recycling or reusing doesn’t justify that amount of waste.
If all goes according to plan I will have a few “clones” who will be able to do the bulk of the physically demanding aspects of each project so I can focus on creating new leads and strategic partnerships with realtors and other move related services. Who knows, maybe one day there will be franchise opportunities. Trust me, if I can make that happen, I will be working less and playing a lot more!