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How I Found Professional Organizing

Hello Friends! I thought it would be fun for a first blog post to tell my story about how I was introduced to the world of professional organizing.

After many hours of reading and researching, I realized that I was in good company when my initial reaction to a friend suggesting that I start a professional organizing business was, “What the heck is a professional organizer and how on earth can I start my own business doing that?” I had initially ran an idea past this same friend about starting a Christmas decorating business for seniors that didn’t want to sacrifice decorating just because it is difficult for them to do so by themselves. I thought the idea was brilliant since I spent the majority of my holidays as a kid putting up and taking down decorations inside and outside for my grandmother. By the time I was twelve, I had enough training and experience to lead the charge of holiday season decorating for my grandmother, who has enough Christmas ornaments to decorate three homes the size of her own.

My grandmother had explicit expectations each year of a VERY MERRY Christmas. Her decorations were very precious to her and she demanded that everything be treated with the utmost importance and care, especially when it came time to store everything away for the next year. Everything must be cleaned and returned to their proper box and strategically put away in their specific spot in the basement. She was always adding to her collection of decorations so each year I had to come up with new ideas on how to store these items so that they would be preserved for the next Christmas. I carried this training with me throughout my entire life, from the organization of my closet to the inside of my cabinets.

So I decided that I would pitch my business idea to my friend for Merry and Bright, a holiday company (Yes, I already had a name for it!), and his response was one that changed my course of thinking altogether. He said, “That’s a great idea, Joelle, but you are thinking entirely too small. Why limit yourself to a season? That is nice if you just want a seasonal side hustle, but I know that is not your end game. You have always been a thinker and a decision maker. You weren’t made to work for someone; you were made to work for yourself. You could become a professional organizer and your niche could be holiday design or decorating.” I remember feeling terrified of the idea as he finished up his counter proposal. I had absolutely no knowledge about the professional organizing industry or the prospect of turning my ability to organize into a successful business that would get me off the hamster wheel of my nine-to-five job. So needless to say my mind was completely blown away by the suggestion, but I was absolutely drawn in by the possibility of taking my creativity and knack for problem-solving and turning it into my very own business! I began research on the industry almost immediately. With every blog, article, and podcast I listened to I saw fragments of myself in each and every one of the people whose story I heard and thought to myself I’ve found my tribe. It still amazes me to this day how he was able to see what I had been looking for my whole life so quickly. I definitely owe him lunch, BIG TIME.

I have always been a very decisive person, so whenever I find myself unsure about something I favor reflection over action. This is exactly what I did when I decided to tell my family that I was dropping out of Penn State after two years of studying for my degree in Secondary Education. It took me two years to realize that I was forcing myself to get a piece of paper to begin a career that I did not care about at all. The tunnel vision I possessed when it came to my college career didn’t allow for me to have a backup plan for what I would do if I ever became uninterested in becoming an educator. I decided that I was going to stay home with my mom and get a job until I figured out a long term career choice. So I began my cycle of nine-to-five jobs. Last year when I began my career as a letter carrier for the United States Postal Service I thought that I had found my landing spot for my professional career life. I found a career where I could be active, have the freedom to work independently, have many opportunities for growth and diversity, and have financial security for the long term. Unfortunately, I was never able to shake my desire to build something from the ground up with nothing but my own two hands and tenacity. It wasn’t until I was given the gift of inspiration that I knew, in spite of the demanding career I already have, I can turn Shelf Life into the freedom to live a life on my own terms. I am so looking forward to all of the people that I will meet and all of the lessons I will learn as I make this dream a reality.

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