Interview with Anna Brunelle, Professional Organizer and Founder of A Grateful SpacE
HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN ORGANIZED?
I have always had a love for organizing - but I did not always have a handle on it! Like so many busy people, I found my living space spiraling out of control. It seemed like there was never enough time to cook, clean, and do laundry; much less spend quality time with my loved ones or follow my passions in life! And with the low grade stress of having to “pick up” compounding over time, if I somehow did find myself with spare time, I was hardly in the mood for meaningful connection or creativity.
HOW DID YOU FINALLY MANAGE TO GET ORGANIZED?
Surely there was more to life than just getting through the day! I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I knew that something had to change. Unsure of where to start, I did what came naturally and tackled my immediate surroundings. Turns out I was onto something, because I found that much of the discord I was experiencing was either stemming from or exacerbated by problems in my space.
HOW DID YOU BECOME A PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZER?
I enjoyed this process so much that I became driven to master it. I spent several years reading everything I could get my hands on about decluttering and organizing, and experimenting in my own home and in the homes of friends and family who were brave enough to let me in. From there, I joined and received training from the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and began to offer my professional organizing services.
I believe that a clutter-free, organized space is the foundation for living your best life because it brings positivity into focus in your everyday experience. Decluttering and organizing a space is no small task and without the right strategy, it's all too easy to find yourself back where you started. I work with clients to create a sound organizational foundation for their space that will allow them to find what they need when they need it, and prevent clutter from building up again.
WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND?
As an undergraduate at Brandeis University, I studied History and Secondary Education and have since accumulated nearly a decade of teaching experience. Earning my graduate degree at NYU, I explored the world of academic research and wrote my master’s thesis on the effects of the recession on fashion. In between, I cultivated my eye for detail and appreciation for effective systems while working in administrative positions in higher education settings.
HOW DO YOU WORK WITH YOUR CLIENTS?
I support clients by applying proven strategies and principles and guiding them through the process of decluttering and organizing their space. I meet with prospective clients for an initial on-site consultation, where I assess their space with an eye toward their desired results and advise them of their options going forward. If we decide to work together, I design a custom plan of on-site sessions (three hours each) based on my client's goals and needs. Together with my clients, we decide on tasks they’ll complete independently between sessions for best results. And, I back them up with support by email or phone during the length of our contract.
I WANT MY SPACE TO BE ORGANIZED, BUT I DON’T HAVE TIME TO BE INVOLVED. CAN YOU DO IT FOR ME?
Because of the personal nature of decluttering and organizing, clients must commit to being present and engaged for on-site sessions.
I WANT MY SPACE TO BE ORGANIZED, BUT I’M NOT WILLING TO PART WITH MY STUFF. CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME TIPS FOR FITTING IT ALL?
Decluttering, to at least some extent, is part of any organizing project. I’m never going to force you to get rid of anything you don’t want to get rid of. And, yes, I do have tricks up my sleeve for making the most of your available space. That being said, there are times where the volume of stuff simply exceeds the amount of storage space available. Generally, I find that a space functions best when your storage has some breathing room and isn’t crammed full. During the initial consultation, I do my best to determine the extent to which decluttering is required to meet your goals and be real with you about the options you have moving forward.
WILL YOU TAKE MY UNWANTED STUFF WITH YOU?
At this time, I am pleased to be able to offer complimentary drop-offs for charitable donations. I only take items that are accepted by local charities, and those items must be clean and in good condition. Clients are responsible for their own trash and recycling, though I do provide information on best practices for disposal. Please be advised that I cannot accept items as personal gifts.
HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE?
The initial, ninety-minute consultation is on-site and costs $60. If you sign on as a client, that fee will go toward the first month of your contract. Our programs start at $390 per month. During the initial consultation, we will assess how many months you need. Programs start at one month and go up from there.
I WANT TO GET ORGANIZED BUT I’M NOT SURE THAT I WILL HAVE THE TIME/MONEY/ENERGY.
To be completely honest with you, that’s actually all the more reason to work with a professional organizer. Organizing without the right strategies and guidance can often lead you back where you started. The proven strategies I teach work to break this cycle so you can get organized efficiently, so you can stay organized for the long term and move on with your life.
I've been in the position where I've had very little time and energy for organization. I completely understand the pace of life that we are up against when it comes to investing in our self care. I know that it can be scary to invest money in getting the help you need to realize your goals. However, a commitment to getting organized really is just that - an investment. An investment that pays off in the future with more space, time, money and energy for the things that matter most; with more joy and less stress. This is in your future if we work together.
The real question is, can you afford to stay stuck in your current situation? If the answer is no, I invite you to sign up for an initial consultation and see how I can help you break this cycle!