Become a Professional Organizer
I’ve been instructing and mentoring professional organizers for a few years and I am always fascinated by some of our differences based on geography/location and just for the record, I’m equally fascinated by our similarities. So, I’ve decided to present a series of interviews with professional organizers from around the globe, showing not only where they live but also what it takes to become a professional organizer in other countries.
I proudly start this series of interviews with Adriana Westerberg & Micaela Goes, partners at Reformular and stars of the hit show, Santa Ajuda, on Canal GNT, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With no further ado, let me present my featured Brazilian organizers and guests for this post.
OH snap! Before I forget to mention it, if you’re a professional organizer in Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe or South America, I’d like to hear from you! Feel free to send me an email at: g thomas at metropolitan organizing dot com
Geralin: Well, first things first, I’d like to see your desk or work surface and your computer, please. I’m dying to know – do you work in an office, kitchen or guest room?
AW: My office is on the third floor in a house located close to the Rio de Janeiro Botanical Garden with a gorgeous view of the forest. It is a very soothing and calming environment where I can plan and strategize my clients’ needs. On my desk I only keep the essential tools; my laptop, my books for quick references and all the props and crafts that I need.
Geralin: Another area I’m always curious about is organizer’s handbags. Are you willing to share what you tote around in yours?
AW: Yes! I have a measuring tape, hair brush, wallet, check book, sunglasses, business cards, little bag with lipstick, wipes and hand cream. My purse is an essential item in my work day and in my life in general. I carry it around everywhere. In it I have a measuring tape that I use a lot for estimating the size of organizing boxes, places and spaces and everything else that needs measuring; my inseparable mobile phone and my hands free bluetooth headset which allows me to be available to my clients even when I’m driving or running errands; my keys, wallet, check book, sunglasses, little bag with lipstick, wipes, hand cream and hair brush, all items that are essential in any woman’s purse. And of course my business cards.
Geralin: So far, so good. I’m curious, do you carry a toolkit and if so, what’s in it?
AW: I have to start with a large piece of fabric that we use to cover and protect all the surfaces that we work on; a box of latex gloves to avoid stains and scratches, a bottle of alcohol to clean objects, olfa knife that is very useful specially in moving projects, post it, pens and pencils, different tapes, a small bottle of “Goo Gone” to be able to remove all the sticky labels, a spatula to scrape the sticky labels, a dust pan and brush set, a pair of scissors, a measuring tape and a label maker which is a life saver!
Geralin: I love how business cards are so creative and an integral part of our businesses. I’d really like to see what yours looks like.
AW: It communicates the idea of messy becoming organized. We really like our business card!
Geralin: Very nice card! Moving along, I’d like to know if you have a favorite organizing product and if so, why is it your favorite?
AW: My favorite organizing tool is my label maker because it’s a fast and simple way to clearly define places where things should go. I believe that everything should have its own, clearly defined place.
Geralin: Name one business-related item on your own shopping list.
AW: A Bluetooth headset for my mobile phone and one thing that is always on my shopping list is large quantities of label maker refills.
MG: A good-size bag or backpack.
Geralin: Time for some advice from you two. What do you wish you’d known when you first started your business?
AW & MG: The added challenge of the emotional engagement in the project from the clients. We, literarily, become part of the client’s personal life, which is an additional layer of complexity. When managed well, the client truly considers you a trusted, personal helper or in the word of some of our clients, “A life saver!
Geralin: OK, let’s pretend money isn’t an issue, what would you do differently in your business?
AW & MG: Work more efficiently and allow myself to only do projects that are interesting and present new challenges.
Geralin: Final (silly) question: How many pairs of black shoes do you own?
AW: 14! I know, it’s a lot!
MG: No comment. LOL
Adriana Westerberg & Micaela Goes - Adriana and Micaela are the founders and business partners of Reformular, a professional organizing business serving the Greater Rio de Janeiro area in Brazil. They specialize in residential organizing, in full home organizing projects and relocation. Adriana is the Professional Organizer and consultant to the Brazilian hit network TV Show “Santa Ajuda” on Canal GNT and Micaela is the Professional Organizer and host of the same show.