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Episode 102+103 | Answering Organizer Questions from Instagram

Mar 1

It’s another epsiode of “Jen and Melissa get together and record their conversation” for you! This week, we will give you two epsiodes of us answering questions we got from pro organizers on Instagram. We talk about client situations and client questions, home organizing reality shows, what our own houses look like (and how we feel pressure to make them perfect because of what we do!) and all sorts of things to get you thinking about your businesses.  


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Melissa Klug: Hey pro organizers. It’s Melissa. Before we jump into the podcast this week, I just want to remind you if you haven’t heard, we have a brand new free master class, ready to go for you. If you want to head to, we would love to spend an hour of your time with you. Please find a comfy spot and grab a cup of tea or a glass of wine, or a cup of coffee 

grab a notebook, throw some headphones on and Jen and I would really be honored to spend an hour of your time with you talking about our absolute favorite subject in the entire world. Professional organizing and professional organizing businesses set PO it is at  and we can’t wait to see you soon.

Jen Obermeier: You’re listening to the Pro Organizer Studio Podcast with Melissa Klug and Jen Obermeier. Thank you so much for joining in our mission is to broaden the horizons of savvy business women in the organizing industry by instilling confidence and inspiring authenticity. You’ll gain new insight into strategies designed specifically for professional organizers.

So now let’s get started.

Melissa Klug: Hey pro organizers. It is Melissa. It’s another awesome week in the Pro Organizer Studio universe. I hope you guys have had an absolutely fabulous week with your clients and we are doing something that we’ve done a few other times. You know, sometimes when Jen and I get together, we just press record on our conversations.

So this week we are going to surprise you with two episodes where we are taking questions that we have gotten from Instagram. Chatting about them and we go kind of all over the place, but one of the places we are going in today’s episode is we’re talking about organizing reality TV shows and, what’s real and what isn’t it does that influence how you work with a client?

And one of the things we talk about is the home edit it’s not often that professional organizing makes like really big news, but this week, the home edit, announced that they had been acquired by Reese Witherspoon’s company. Hello, sunshine. She has a media company, you know, how she recommends books and she does a lot of other things.

She, uh, produces movies, all sorts of stuff. In our inspired organizer and our private group for members, we have been talking about what does that mean? And one of the things that I think it means is that any time an organizing business, whether you are a huge fan of home edit, or whether maybe some of their philosophies don’t align with your organizing philosophy, maybe they’re, you’re not huge.

Totally fine. Either way though, anytime organizing gets out into the bigger world, we all win. So as much as possible for people to know what professional organizers do and that we are a group of people that is available to make your life better.

I think that’s a win for all of us. One of the conversations in our inspired organizer group was, man, I must be nice to have celebrity friends and, you know, I guess we’re all just one Reese Witherspoon away from being able to sell our company for a lot of money.

So that’s what we can do this week. You guys, we can dream big that maybe someday we will sell our organizing company to a salon. Who knows. Alright, well, let’s go ahead and get started. We are answering some questions from Instagram. We are going to have two episodes this week, so please stay tuned to your podcast platform.

And as always, if you have any questions, comments, suggestions, anything like that, please hit us We answer all of our email personally. In fact, I answer all of the email myself. So I would love to hear from you. And I hope that you have an amazing week or.

Okay. So we asked the question on Instagram recently, which was, it always said, was ask us anything, we’ll answer anything which, you know, within reason. But my favorite one that we got was from one of our very favorite people that we love Sarah of practical harmony organizing, who asks. We are organized there’s so 

Jen Obermeier: bad-ass why don’t we say that us, 

Melissa Klug: we think so many reasons.

I think that we’re so many things wrapped up into one. I agree 

Jen Obermeier: with that. 

Melissa Klug: So we the word I used to describe myself sometimes as a Sherpa, you know, the people who help people get to the top of Mount Everest. And so I like to say that I am helping someone with their emotional baggage.

The physical baggage and I am helping people get things out of their house, so that they can live a better life. I am sometimes helping with kid management. I am sometimes helping with, trash management. I am sometimes helping with recycling. I am a resource center. I’m a library. I’m, we’re a lot of 

Jen Obermeier: things.

I, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. That makes a lot of sense. I want to tie this back to Sarah’s business name. The practical part the source of this actually escapes me at the moment, but there’s this concept called the nine environments of our life.

Like, oh, you have like, the physical environment would be like your home, like your body environments, your body. There’s like a, I can’t name, all of that. So I have a habit. You have like relationships, you have, nature, you have, beliefs and concepts that you hold like that are true. And so basically the concept is that anytime that you upgrade one environment, it sort of automatically lifts the others.

And what I, what I personally like about organizing is that you’re working on the physical environment in a very practical way, but it does have. Real effects on your mental, spiritual relationships, all those things that you have going on in all other areas of your life. So similar concept is like when someone’s, you know, unhealthy and they really start to take control over their body environment.

And then they start to feel this sort of like positive ripple effect over their other, other things. So it, it truly is like, I always say. A professional organizers kind of like a personal trainer for your home. Yeah. But it ends up positively affecting all those other things at the same time though. It’s practical in a sense where you’re like, okay, we’re not just moving stuff around, getting things done.

 Making things, starting to function. And I love. Like decorating as much as anybody, but there’s something about, and I’ve had a client tell me this. They’re like, you’re cheaper than the interior decorator and we get more done. Yes. And you know, what else is more expensive than professional organizing?

Melissa Klug: I had a client say to me one time, I thought about putting it on my website and I probably should have. She actually said to me, I have done a cost benefit of now. And you are less expensive than my therapist and you get a lot more results. This is 

Jen Obermeier: true. I mean, but, but if you, but when you think about it, from what I was saying with the environment, it is true in a very real way.

And it’s not just like, oh, I feel better because my closet is finally clean. It’s I actually have this like weight lifted off of me and mentally I’m being nicer to. Family, because things are functioning better and we can find things like I do not. I think that’s the answer to Sarah’s question.

We are bad-ass because we know that it’s not just about the stuff. Yes. And it’s not just about the pretty containers. Like it’s about like, Hey, this is your life. This is our real life. This is your family. Or this is whoever you’re living with at this time. These relationships do matter and it’s nice to live in a living space that works for everyone.

 And I think that we are able to sort of see what the family needs are and kind of see it all function together. In times when people are. Overwhelmed and they can’t possibly have that vision for themselves. So I do think it’s like, I mean, we are a combination of a lot of things. 

Melissa Klug: Absolutely. Well, I think it’s about helping people control their house instead of their house controlling them.

And that’s in so many ways like that can manifest in very tiny ways. I had a client who said, all I want you to do is help me figure out how to stop losing my car keys. I mean, she wasn’t even joking. And so it’s like, no, we’re her house was in control of her daily life because she was constantly misplacing things when she couldn’t find anything.

And then she would leave. She would be stressed when she left the door and she was a doctor. And so she would be stressed when she was seeing patients because she was running late. All of those things, you are controlling your environment and you’re helping someone. To not have an inanimate object control so much about their day.


Jen Obermeier: Let’s get a few other questions from Instagram. Okay. 

Melissa Klug: This is a question that comes up even with experienced organizers.

Um, when you are first starting out, how long do you know, how do you know how long a project will take? And the answer 

Jen Obermeier: is don’t it? Uh,

Melissa Klug: You never know, you never know how long a project is going to take, even if you have been organizing for a very long time and are very experienced organizer. And some of this comes with practice and some of it comes with experience.

And what I always tell people is. That every single person is going to be different. So the time it takes to organize is a combination of the speed that it takes a client to make decisions how many things they have, what their goal is. If their goal is to radically change the amount of things in their house and decide what stays and what goes.

Or if they say, keep it all, just reorganize it. There are just an infinite number of questions that you have to answer. So it’s really an impossible question. 

Jen Obermeier: Yeah. To answer my, my go-to answer at this point is exactly the same as Melissa’s, but also the only times that I’ve been able to hear of people giving accurate estimates at this point are when they are working with a team.

Yeah. Um, or I guess if they’re working by themselves, but if, as a rule you are working with yourself and a team and the client is not present. Yes. As the only because you only know about you, you don’t know anything, especially at the beginning of a project about the other person, no matter what they say, oh, I’m ready to let stuff go, oh, we’re going to just zip through this.

It’s not going to hurt at all. Oh my husband’s totally on board with this, whatever you don’t have. Okay. So w so what I will say is. And I believe that where people come from with this is that they want to make sure that they’re not losing the job. So this ties into a lot of other things that are a part of the business model that I teach and operate from.

Of course you can customize this, how you want to and what works for you. But, Don’t give estimates. I do teach package pricing, and I do encourage people to say, you know, I will know more about our work style and how quickly we are moving. By the time we’re halfway done with the package, I’ll be able to more accurately forecast where we will be after your session hours have been completed now, because, and one of the reasons for that is one, you got to get to know the client and her house and the workstyle.

All of the factors that are actually involved, like, did they actually get childcare or do you have children running through your workspace? Will they let you do a little bit of it on their own? Will they actually complete the homework? They do homework? No, they probably won’t be able to anyway, but when you can kind of say to them, I’ll know more about our, our specific pace and how we work together, you know, halfway through and be able to kind of more accurately.

But this is a literally like studied and proven scientific project management principle, you know, the least about the project at the beginning. That’s just fact. So that is not the time when you should be giving a project estimate and any time that, any service provider. Giving you a project estimate when there are so many unknown variables and then some other organizer might come in like low ball you and say, well, we’ll do it for this much because we’re estimating this or whatever.

What they’re going to do is they’re going to add on an add on and add on things that the client did not foresee in order to make up for the cost. That’s their business model, which is to. Estimate low and then add on as the project goes, where the client’s not going able to complete the project, unless they’re paying for extra labor, whatever, to stick to that timeline and delivery.

So the client, in my opinion, is going to get screwed over by that system. They are being served much better by you saying, you know, this is an intimate, personal process. You want to work together with you know, me or my team to get this done and we want to help you. We want to help you, meet the quality expectations, of course, checking in along the way with the client and kind of saying, how are you feeling?

Are we going too fast for you? Sometimes a client does not want to go as fast as possible. That sounds really great. Common misconception is that, oh my gosh, I have to bust it. And me and my team have to like, literally make some total home make-over by the time the client gets home this afternoon.

 No, sometimes that’s very jarring. And when a client, when you and a client are working, one-on-one, if it’s kind of a, it’s a lot of heavy decision-making think about from their point of view, they’ve got to use a lot of emotional and brain energy to be making these decisions in the first place.

And. Doing that all in rapid fire can be more stressful than giving them a minute, letting them take a break and walk away for 20 minutes while you kind of like are tidying up and kind of categorizing some other things that they’ve got to make decisions on. It’s heavy. Yes. So that’s a, that’s a really long-winded way of saying I don’t recommend, especially when you’re at the beginning of the. Professional organizing career ever attempting to make an estimate. And if your client questions that I would give them the reasons that we just stated, which is it’s important to me that I am helping you make the changes that make you feel good in your home.

 Hand-in-hand with that, as you do get more experienced, or if you are used to working with a type of clientele, that’s comfortable with you kind of like doing the project while they’re. You’ll get to the point where, you know, how long is it going to take me and my team to do this room, this room in this room?

Yes. You will get more comfortable kind of saying, I kind of know how much time it’s going to take, but not making a contract with your client based on that expectation when you don’t know what is going to come up, that is out of your control. I don’t recommend that as a business practice.

 For your own internal sort of sense of timing, I think you should base it on that client. Not on some average prediction of even a hundred other organizers. I think you really need to be very empathetic toward. There their comfort level and how likely it is that they’re going to make progress in between sessions or whatever to meet their goals.

So you have to know what their goals are and, what is likely to actually happen to meet those 

Melissa Klug: I also think that knowing why the client is asking, which sometimes you maybe not, you will not. A clear answer to that question, but is the client asking because they have a very specific budget and they cannot go above that budget, then maybe you say, you know what, we’re going to have to do homework.

And I will give you a list of things. When I leave at the end of a session of what I need you to get done before the next time are they just asking? Because they need to know like, Hey, is this going to take 30 hours or two hours? I have some clients. That asked that question because they assume that it’s going to take some enormous number of hours.

And in fact, I go, no that it’s not going to take a 60 hours. Right. I, they have some overblown projection of what they think it’s going to take. So I think knowing why your client is asking that question could be an important. 

Jen Obermeier: Absolutely. Cause if they’re, if they’re asking, because they’re trying to judge, whether they’re going to save 75 bucks by going with you or another person, I would just like I’m not going to make that guarantee to you upfront. That’s putting you on the hook for something that they have almost no obligation to fulfill their obligation to you. 

Melissa Klug: One of my closest organizing friends had a client who. SA a potential client who said, we need to downsize, we’re moving into, we’re moving from a 3000 square foot house into a 1400 square foot house.

 We have lived in this house for 40 years and our budget is $500. Can you do that? Just like. I’m really sorry about no, indeed I cannot. That’s a red flag people. That’s a no, yeah. 

Jen Obermeier: I mean, You can’t make people, these promises like this, not just about waving a wand like you or your team or their family members, somebody going to have to come and physically move the stuff. So you can say for $500, we can back up a dump truck and somebody can put all of your stuff out if you just want to get rid of everything fine.

But you just can’t, You can’t make a miracle happen. It’s not like the TV says 

Melissa Klug: no is by the way, the TV shows aren’t even like the TV shows I read recently about like what actually happens behind the scenes at home improvement shows and it is not what you see on. Tell us, I don’t know. I haven’t read that.

So it was about, people who had actually been on some of the HGTV shows and about like what actually happened. So like when they do the reveal, all of the beautiful things, you have to buy them. So if you don’t buy them, which is sometimes tens of thousands of dollars, they take it all out of your 

Jen Obermeier: house.

I did not know that. I thought it was included like now, 

Melissa Klug: then yeah. There were like a ton of, I learned a lot of things, so it’s, it’s not, yeah, you do not wave a wand and like magically the truck drives away and 

Jen Obermeier: yes. 

 So Melissa, why in 2020, you know, one of the gifts we got was, um, the home edit yes. Out on Netflix. Now in 20 19, 1 of the guests we got was Marie Kondo. So talk to me about that first and because you’re a Marie Kondo, you know, um, devoted to it to an extent. So I know that must have been big for that community, but then we come back and talk about the Homedics.

Cause that was like the opposite end of the spectrum. It seems like, yeah. 

Melissa Klug: So here’s the thing. I have a phrase that I use a lot, which is a rising tide, raises all boats trip. So I do like when any home organizing show comes on, because even if it’s not something that I personally love, I say it leads more people to know what we do for a living 

Jen Obermeier: a hundred percent and I can sell.

Yes, but, so 

Melissa Klug: I will say when Marie Marie condor show came out, January 1st, 2019 it was great for my business. I had a great year in 2019. Have 

Jen Obermeier: you been in business at that point? Only 

Melissa Klug: six months. So I was, I lucked out I was on the train at the right time. So it was actually very good for me because I.

You know, used that method and lots of people knew her and I had people that would contact me and say, I want the clothes mountain on my bed. You know, like I want the giant pile of clothing and I’d say, I can do that for you. Um, so great. But any sort of home organizing show is going to help us because it teaches people a little bit about what we do, but just like any reality show, which isn’t really all that realistic, right.

There are a lot of things that they don’t. And there are a lot of things that happen. You cannot possibly put in a one hour show, tell all of the things that happen. 

Jen Obermeier: Okay. Let’s dig deep. People can tell us some of the things that we probably did not realize about Marie Kondo on Netflix, because you know, you know, a few of these things I do.


Melissa Klug: Juicy. So I don’t know if I should be telling this with your friends. Um, so on all of these shows, so it on an HGTV show on any of these shows where they have like famous people coming in and doing things, the property brothers are not going to actually do all of the work to finish a house. 

Jen Obermeier: Right. I guess I knew that.

Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Okay. I would like to come in, they knocked down a 

Melissa Klug: couple of chip and Joanna. Are there knocking down a couple of walls and they’re coming in, but lots of other people do the physical work to get you to that end point, same thing with a home organizing show. Okay. So Marie can come in and, and greet the family and.

Some nice warm moments and teach the basic method, but there were other people, people who do what I do and certified KonMari consultants who would actually work with the clients on an hour by hour basis to get their whole houses. Wow. 

So any show like that, Is not showing you all of the hard work. They’re showing you the highlights they’re showing you the before and the after. And like they’re waving a magic wand, but that’s waving the magic wand is not actually what happens as we all know. It’s really hard work. 

Jen Obermeier: So how much time you’re saying that each eats guests on the show is essentially not getting that much like Marie?

Melissa Klug: Yeah. I don’t know the exact number of hours, but it’s like any celebrity they’re going to come on and they’re going to say, okay, I’m here, I’m here for an hour. And then I’m going to move on to the next house where we’re filming that day. Sure. And then I’m going to move on to the next house where we’re filming.

So yeah, the actual time on the ground yeah. Was not the 50 hours or 100 hours. It took to actually get the house in order. 

Jen Obermeier: So do you believe now you said this was, this is a boon for your business. Do you believe that people then who did find you after that had realistic expectations or they kind of understood, like obviously it’s made for TV.

Right. And that it was going to be a longer process. Like what, what was your direct experience of that? That’s a great 

Melissa Klug: question. Um, uh, unrealistic expectations. 

Jen Obermeier: Wow. Okay. 

Melissa Klug: Okay. I had this one class. Who really wanted the whole experience. I had scheduled a three hour session with her, which is a pretty standard amount.

And she’s like, no, no, no, no. I want the whole experience. She actually said, I want the whole Murray experience because she had watched the show and I go, okay, it’s going to take us longer than three hours. And I happened to be able to do it that day because I had more time to give her, it took us eight and a half hours to do.

The Murray experience that day, her husband was what period of 

Jen Obermeier: her house, her clothing, just her clothing, her husband was furious serious because of the money spent. 

Melissa Klug: I think he was furious about all the, I think he was furious because I, when I had originally done the consultation, I said, I like to do three hour increments.

And I think he was like, all right, can I suffer through this for three hours? And then the wife changed the whole plan. Yeah. And then it ended up being, I was in his house the whole day, which he had taken off from work and I’m sure probably wanted to let go golfing or something.

I dunno. Right. So that, and I think he was maybe upset about the money. I don’t know. But the point is people’s realists people’s expectations were not quite in sync because they wanted that TV experience. How did 

Jen Obermeier: she feel after the eight and a half hour? Super happy. Okay. She was happy. That’s what you want.

Melissa Klug: And I did get, I did continue to go back there. Like I, it wasn’t, like they said, we never want to see you never do this again. Right. But I do think with any of these shows, like the whole Metro. Coming out when I watched the home edit, I think people look at that and they go, oh my gosh, look at Chloe Kardashians garage.

And when I look at glowy Kardashians garage, I see there are tens of thousands of dollars of storage solutions that have been purchased, which may not be realistic for everybody. Okay. And there are so many things, like for instance, when they do a kid’s playground, And all of the crayons are in rainbow order, and yet it is beautiful.

It is going to last like that for one hour before it is. That’s not to me a functional solution for a family. 

Jen Obermeier: I think there is something, um, just pretty and calming about rainbow water.

Absolutely. In a pantry. It doesn’t make sense to me though, because red things that go together in a pantry are not related at all tomato sauce 

Melissa Klug: and a box of lucky charms. Which are both red, don’t go together. Yeah. That’s maybe not a good example, but yeah, there are places where it is beautiful. It is really, it is 

Jen Obermeier: absolutely.


Melissa Klug: um, now I know a lot of book people who don’t like true book people, very angry about rambler, but it is aesthetically beautiful. But one of the things that I, I love. Quietly, I guess now publicly was in the Neil Patrick Harris episode of watch that when he comes in at the end and his kids playroom has been redone, he actually throws some shade of like, oh, you organize the games by color.

It seems like it would make more sense if they were organized by what they are or something to that effect. So he was like ripping on the rainbow. And so my thing is for certain rooms that rainbow. Doesn’t actually make sense for function. And so if you want to keep, if you pay a lot of money and want these solutions, and then your kids don’t comply with putting all the pens back and rainbow order, that’s sometimes upsetting to people.

Jen Obermeier: Sure. Oh, well, it would be .

Melissa Klug: Well, thanks for joining Jen and myself in our conversation. Hopefully you felt like you were sitting at the table with us. We always have a great time when we’re together and anytime you’re in the twin cities. So you can stop by my house to just let me know, let me know when you’re coming over and I’ll get the cough.

 Before we go, I just want to make sure, you know, enrollment is open right now for our inspired organizer program and community. 

We are so, so fortunate to have such an amazing community of organizers all over the world. This is not just for people in the United States. You get education, you get daily coaching, you get mentorship inside of our private online group. It is my passion.

Every single day to help women have thriving businesses and have that be whatever business you want it to be. Whether it is one client a week, one clients a month, or one client, every single. Enrollment is open right now. We would absolutely love for you to join us. If you check the show notes, we will have a link, or if you want to talk to me a little bit more about joining, you can email

We will get you all the details. We are so grateful for you guys to listen to us every single week. We hope you have an absolutely fabulous week talk to you soon.

Jen Obermeier: Thank you so much for listening into the pro organizer studio podcast. If you’d like to get our roadmap for success as a pro organizer, head straight to


Melissa Klug: Hey pro organizers. It’s your co-host Melissa Klug. And we are on our second episode of our podcast doubleheader this week, Jen and I got together and we love recording together. We get into all sorts of shenanigans, shenanigans being one of my favorite words, and we press record on our conversation. And today.

We broke it up into two different conversations, but today’s, we’re getting a little bit personal and we’re talking about our closets, for instance, we’re talking about, Hey, how do we organize our closets? And then that leads us into a conversation about how you can actually help clients in more meaningful ways.

So sometimes talking about our. Stuff helps us talk about other people’s stuff. Lots of other things in this conversation, really looking forward to you guys, joining us for the second part of our convo, and just want to remind everyone before we hit play on Jen’s and my conversation. 

friendly reminder that we have a new workshop brand new free workshop.

It’s called the pro organizers profit plan, and it’s on this cool platform. One of the things I love about this workshop is we moved it to a new platform that allows you to be able to ask questions live. If I am able to be live on the computer, I will answer you right then if not, I will get back to you afterward, but really would love for you to watch this.

 I talk about three mistakes I made in my organizing business. I talk about three different ways that you can prevent from making those mistakes, all sorts of other things, but agenda. And I would love for you to join us for that. Go-to PO to get that day or night.

No matter what time you watch it, we will be there. Grab a cup of coffee and a notebook and get ready to spend an hour with us. All right, let’s get going with Jens and my conversation about all sorts of things. Hope you guys have a great day.

Jen Obermeier: You’re listening to the Pro Organizer Studio Podcast with Melissa Klug and Jen Obermeier. Thank you so much for joining in our mission is to broaden the horizons of savvy business women in the organizing industry by instilling confidence and inspiring authenticity. You’ll gain new insight into strategies designed specifically for professional organizers.

So now let’s get started. Okay.

can we side chart for a second and have a behind the scenes moment? Absolutely. All right. We’re not going to do this on video, but I just want to have a discussion. Yeah. How do you order your closet? Oh, I mean, he can go up and check. I know, but is it the Marie Kondo way?

Okay. So what in your mind? Cause I I’m very specific. I’m very specific about mine and I feel. It’s like a very private choice, but how do you decide, like you have all your tops together? I do. Are they in rainbow order? No, they’re not. Are they positives black? 

Melissa Klug: Um, that’s most, most of my closet is black. Um, The way I have done it is I group, um, type of clothing. So sweaters, short sleeve shirts. Long sleeved tops like tank tops or together. Okay. Um, sometimes in drawers and jurors, I’m a little bit more specific, but in Murray’s world, you go. In ascending order of length. Yeah.

Which I actually hate. Okay. It does not make sense to me. Okay. And my brain. Yes. I like The way I get dressed is I need a tank top and a cardigan and a pair of pants. Okay. So like my pants are together and then my longer things are together and then like sweaters and sweatshirts and things are together.

Okay. Also depends on, casual versus 

Jen Obermeier: dressy. I hear you. Okay. 

Melissa Klug: So like my nicer things, like my dresses or things that I would wear to be more dressed up or in kind of like one section. 

Jen Obermeier: Well, my mine is, mine is horrifying probably to some people, but here’s what I did. It works for you.

I also. Large. Okay. My life happens in black, white, gray, and Navy blue. Okay. And then like a splash of pink. Yeah. Okay. So here’s the problem with organizing by color? It doesn’t look cool because there’s no, no rainbow. There’s no gray. So what I do is I have like a, and we’re talking like nice tops, not tank tank tops go in a drawer about Marie Kondo fold, I don’t even regular fold because I like things to just be like loosely categorized and I’m like, this doesn’t need folding. I 

Melissa Klug: actually, um, one of the things about I could go to, I’ve always joked about Marie Kondo jail. I could go to Marie Kondo jail because she is very particular, obviously about like you fold underwear, you fold bras and like, what is the use in that?

Like set? No, I, and by the way, socks in my. Her She’s very specific about socks. So like you have to roll them quietly and like, and I’m like, no, you, you fold them over so that they’re together, so you can pull them out and then you just throw them in a drawer together.

Like, so, yeah. Yeah. 

Jen Obermeier: That’s the truth. Um, so, so might hang in close. Like if I have like sleeveless stuff is on the left and of long sleeve stuff is on the right. However, I have a large amounts of white and large amounts of black and large amounts of gray. And then here’s the thing that would probably be.

Certain members of my audience, a little crazy is that the things that do have a color are slightly interspersed among the neutral colors by the word that I’m looking for is color weight. Oh, like if it’s, if it’s a light blue, it’s going to kind of go with like the light green.

Oh, and then like a dusty pink is gonna kind of go with a medium gray, not the black. And so if you, if you look at my closet, you’d be like, this feels aesthetically pleasing, but I don’t know why. I think it’s because in my brain I have a very specific algorithm for all of these things. And then if something has a pattern, it kind of goes next to something else that is about the same visual weight as that.

Listen, but 

Melissa Klug: I’m crazy. So first of all, you’re not crazy. Secondly, Jen, Obermeier way, this is a great example of why asking your clients questions is a good light. You have to ask them, how do you get dressed? Tell me how you get dressed, because what makes sense to me would not make sense to you and vice versa.

And the way that I would organize with the client might not make sense to them. And so the worst thing, in my opinion, for any organizing project would be for me to leave and be like, bye, have a great day with you and for them to shut the door and be like, I can’t use that. Oh, yeah, 

Jen Obermeier: that would be bad. Same 

Melissa Klug: thing as like why one of our mentors in the inspired organizer program, cabaret, I interviewed her for our, um, organizing essentials course and she had this great thing or she’s like, um, she was talking about, you have to pick a function for a client.

And if a client asks you for the home, edit pantry you, one of the things we discussed is you’ve got to explain to this mom of four small children. Do you want to come home from the grocery store? And take your lucky charms out of the bag, put them into like, do you want to spend an hour after you get home from the grocery store?

Reorganizing your groceries? If your answer is yes. Cool. Have I got a solution for you? If your answer is some expletive and then no afterward. So if I organized your closet, you might say, well, Melissa, that doesn’t make sense. I know. So ask your client, how do you get dressed? And if they say, well, I need to pick a dusty pink shirt because it’s close to the dusty blue shirt.

Just ask them questions and then figure out how to 

Jen Obermeier: organize it. Yeah, no, this is so true. And I love like there’s certain personality types and I’m glad you brought Cabria because, Cabrita, I’ve had this private conversation where she and I are both. Um, we’re both personality type on the Mars.

ENTP. Okay. And I guess maybe this is an ENTP thing, or maybe we both just like the fact that we have this in common. 

Melissa Klug: I feel like that’s an unusual personality. It is. 

Jen Obermeier: Um, but we only want the amount of detail that’s necessary, so this past summer, I got a new silverware, like a drawer. I took a picture because about halfway through the process of combining two different sets of silverware and then deciding which one was going to go in the new container.

Tired. And I dumped the rest of it into the whole other, like, it was like a bigger compartment. You just were like, I give up and texted a picture to Korea. I said, well, I was going to organize that. Then I decided I needed to take a nap. And I was like, and this just reminded me of you for some reason, because let’s be honest.

The next time I opened the store, am I going to be able to find what I need? Yes. It’s there. But I’ll get around to the actual, sorting and perfectly organizing. I was like, picture perfect. It is not. And Cabrini. And I agree on this, that to an extent, most things don’t need to be picture perfect because they are, they’re hidden away.

It’s only as far as it is functional for you and your family. And that’s why Jen does not fold her tank tops. And certainly not underwear. No, I. 

Melissa Klug: The client that one of the clothes mountain, who it took eight hours instead of three. This is a great example. So she was a very by the book person. She was very frustrated because her husband, at one point in the process rebelled and said, I am. File folding my shirts and I teach my clients something I call lazy KonMari, which is you don’t have to like very specially short fold your shirts.

I teach them a way that you can file fold in a very simple fashion. And if you’re not watching this on video, I’m demonstrating it with my hands right now. Um, but he just said, Nope, I want to just put them in a stack. Leave me alone. And she was trying to argue with him and I finally just stopped her and said, are you going to agree?

Like, are you holding to, it has to be filed folded so much so that you are willing to go fold all of his things for them and put them away. And she goes, absolutely not. He has to put his own laundry away. And I said, okay, then he needs to put his laundry away in a way that makes sense to him and that he is going to actually do it.

Jen Obermeier: So true. And 

Melissa Klug: so you have to function, whether you’re a professional organizer or just a regular person, you have to function in your house in a way that makes sense. So throwing all your tank tops in one bin, make sense to you. Yeah. Do it. Yeah. 

Jen Obermeier: And like you said, boundaries. Yes. This is, yes. Some things are not mine.

Melissa Klug: This actually. Leads into one of our other questions, which I love this Instagram question. Okay. Do you feel pressure as a pro organizer to always have a tidy or perfectly curated home?

Jen Obermeier: Yes. Yes, I do. I 

Melissa Klug: feel the pressure, but I do not succumb to the post. 

Jen Obermeier: Okay, tell us more. Okay. 

Melissa Klug: I definitely feel like I want my home to be organized because it makes me feel better now that I have become an organized person. I like to keep it organized for me. Not because I feel obligated to who knows some Instagram audience or someone else that might come in my home to have it be organized.

So There are times also that it’s more organized than other times. Yes. if you would’ve come to my house two days ago, school, we had a lot of things going on. The, my kitchen counter was filled with stuff. My sink was filled with dishes. The pillows on the couch were in 400 different places.

wasn’t, If someone would have walked in my house, they would have said, Wow. This looks like kind of, chaotic, well, guess what? I can also get my house back in order in about 10 minutes because it’s organized. So it might not look like it on the outside, but I am an organized person and I like to keep it that way, but do I feel pressure of like, If someone came in my home immediately, would they open every closet and start judging me?

I don’t feel like I have to stay up with that because I also like to teach my clients do what’s realistic for your life. 

Jen Obermeier: Okay. So. I will say that I do feel that pressure. And I feel like I live up to that only in the areas that are solely mine and that it does drive me crazy that my immediate family members don’t feel the same need.

However, I also, in a realistic sense, no. You know, the home and garden magazine is not knocking on my door saying all right. Pop quiz, but it has been a long work in progress. I

um, like we happen to have one of those homes that like you said, uh, was not built with like just a million square feet of storage and pantry space. I mean, our pantry is like the size of your computer. , So for a long time, he’s like we don’t have room for that. Okay. And now I’ve finally just been able to say, I’m going to make this happen.

Yeah. And it does seem to finally catch on. And so I hope that my, that does make me feel good in a way where I’m like I’m being a good organizer by. Bye using and doing some of these principles, even though someone else around me might not a hundred percent love it. Yeah. It sorta does seem to have a trickle down effect where I don’t have to try to directly control their spaces, but they’re sort of are like, um, soaking up some of the.

It only this, it takes eight to 10 years. People is not 

Melissa Klug: some organizer. So you’re actually bringing up a good point. So organizers that I know who I, whom I will not name have partners or other people in their homes who have no interest whatsoever in being organized. And so they have an issue with, I am walking the walk and I know how to teach my clients, but my.

Jen Obermeier: I will put, I mean, you can put me in that category. I mean, it’s, it’s not an easy thing because you feel like you’re having to be a really controlling in order to make those things happen. And I do, I value relationships over,? Like the details of how they are or are not organizing their things. And I’m acutely aware.

Because I’ve had clients like this, that one of the reasons why they are so disorganized and untidy, if you will, is because they had a mom who was overly excessive and controlling about organizing and perfectly folding things and having things clean at all times. And so I’m like, I don’t feel like I’m on that category, but I’m aware that I could have that impact on my kids where they.

Leave me alone. And they’re like, I, you know, the ages that my kids have been, um, over, over the time that I’ve been involved in this industry, you know, we have a lot of little small toys and small pieces and hoarding, like random papers and crayons that don’t have any, it’s like we have a million crayons, so I think at, like, with the young kids and me just kind of saying like on a regular basis, and this is what I did when my kids were really little, is. We’re just going to normalize the fact that we don’t keep things forever. One big. It doesn’t have to be clean all the time, but it’s like, what can we give to somebody else? And we would just use that word of like let’s give this to somebody else we don’t play the same wireless, give this to somebody else.

And that was a part of like our vocabulary from, or from an early age, just that they were used to just sort of looking around and saying, you know, are there things that are just hanging out here that have zero purpose? Cause that’s all I hope for. I don’t expect them to be picture perfect, but I’m, and I’m not hovering over them saying.

Yeah. And, and color-coded, and makes sure it goes back on the right drawer. I don’t try to exert that kind of control, even though I like that in my own space. I just want them to get used to looking at their stuff in an objective and objective manner and saying it’s okay to let these things go and.

Hold on to it forever. I hope that’s helpful to them. Yeah. Well, 

Melissa Klug: so one of the things that I do take from my training in Marie Kondo land is she has a phrase that tidying is contagious. And so. Forcing someone in your family to accept something that is your way, but just leading by example and saying, and that’s exactly what happened in our house.

I went because I did not want to be that person that was like, we are doing this and everyone in the house is going to do it right. I knew that would backfire. Cause that backfires on me. If you tell me I have to do something, I’m like, oh yeah, I’ll show you. Exactly. Um, and here that’s why I was a messy person for many years because my, the house I grew up in was lovely and so tidy.

And I rebelled against that because I’m like, I’m gonna make a mess if I want to. And so I did not do that with my family and. Eventually, they all came along. That’s good. You know, my daughter was like, Hey, will you teach me how to fold clothes? And yeah. And we redid her closet actually, not that long ago. And she’s kept it up and she loves to keep it clean room now. But I don’t ever force them. Like I just say to what you want and then she’ll, she’ll get to it. But, um, for our organizing essential scores, I actually redid my husband’s closet with him as a lesson because his closet had gotten kinda messy and I was like, Do you want your closet redone?

And he goes, yeah, I probably need it. And so I videotaped the whole thing and then taught. I said, Hey, here’s a, and it was at a time that we couldn’t really be in other people’s houses. So I was like, here’s, here’s an example in my house. My husband’s closet does a little messy and we’re going to reorganize it.

Sometimes if you don’t force it. They’ll come 

Jen Obermeier: along on their own. Right. But to get back and really answer the question specifically though, like when I think about the pressure to have my house a certain way, one thing I’ve said to people is your, again, when you go back to.

 Questions that clients actually ask. I mean, let’s talk about the people who were actually paying you. You’re not talking about your friends who know that you’re a professional organizer and then come to your house. People actually pay you in your business, real money. They, I have never once been asked, like, please show me what your house looks like right now at this point in time.

And, Or I will not trust you. It’s just like, no, it’s more about like how you carry yourself and how you. Um, approach things, which is a, you know, uh, a flexible attitude. You don’t want to come across as like, it’s the precision or else because nobody hardly can keep up with that standard. Um, and so, so I just think that when you’re thinking about pressure, I think about who that’s really coming from, like, is it something that is a, self-imposed like, well, I’m internal.

I want to be able to show my house on Instagram, but I don’t feel like I can, like, nobody’s telling you, you have to let that. If you like showing little projects in your own house as part of your social media or part of your website, that’s fine too. It doesn’t always have to be somebody else’s million dollar house for you to put it on your own stuff.

And maybe you have a million dollar house, like who knows, like you want to use, use whatever you have in a way that works for you, but do not feel compelled to show your own personal private spaces, just to prove that your business is legitimate that line of thinking I think is off, but a pressure that comes from a person who’s not paying you.

I would really question really. I, I don’t 

Melissa Klug: know why that’s just came into my mind, but, it’s like the example of, have you seen football coaches on the sidelines? Sometimes you look at a football coach and he’s like, You could not run a 40 yard dash in five seconds or whatever a quarterback has to run or whatever, like, yeah.

But there’s still the head coach of an NFL team because they’re very good at other things. Right? They still are able to tell a player what to go do. So they don’t 

Jen Obermeier: house. Yeah, you 

Melissa Klug: don’t have to leave your house to go to a client and have it be pristine for you to be a good professional organizer.

And you also know the real life happens. So you might step on 22 pounds of Legos on your way out the door. That doesn’t make you a bad professional organizer, right? You are the coach, you are the person who is coaching your client on how to live a better life. And that definition of a better life is theirs to decide what that looks like for them.

Right. So now I will say, I do think that it is important to have a base level of organization in your own home. I do think that there is a measure of walking the walk, but your house does not have to be Instagram ready every single day for you to be a good professional organic.

Jen Obermeier: That’s true. I agree. I think like what you’re saying, I feel like is also true. Where is my house? Perfect all the time. No, but I know how to hit that reset button in a relatively small amount of time and know how to get us back to, like you said, that maintenance level or baseline level of we’re functioning, we’re happy.

We know where things are. Yes. Like my stuff is not stressing me out and cause it, and if your client is saying, they’re trying to get to a point where their stuff doesn’t stress them out. You are saying, Hey, we’re not trying to reach a level of perfection. You can say my own house is not perfection, but I do know how to get, maintain that level and how to like regularly purge and make sure that stuff is not just.

Being piled up and there’s really something to be said for that. It’s not about being picture-perfect. 

Melissa Klug: I did have, so I can give you a personal example. Jen, obviously, if you were watching this, not obviously, but if you were watching this, Jen is in my house right now. And so obviously I knew Jen was coming.

It wasn’t a surprise when she showed up on my doorstep five years ago, if Jen had been visiting me. I would have had to take like two days before Jen showed up to start shoving things in closets and to get the house ready to be company ready, knowing that Jen was coming to my house, we spent like, I don’t know.

Kind of making sure that, you know, things were pretty clean and ready to go and, you know, tidy it up a little bit. But is, you know, there obviously are things that you do to welcome a guest into your house, but the difference in staying organized is it doesn’t involve a two day emergency, like bringing the army right.

To, to get your house ready. And that’s one of the blessings of being organized that I have found is I can have people come over to my house with very short notice and it’s totally fine. And I’m ready. 

Jen Obermeier: And I bet you anything that the level that you’re uncomfortable with in your home is probably the level that your client is like aspiring to.

So remember that like your standards are probably like on the moon compared to what they are actually like trying to get to for like every day. And so I think, I mean, Totally conjecture based on this question, it sounds like a social media pressure of like thinking and even thinking that people who actually do make a living off of social media or all of a sudden all, always camera ready and perfect.

And that their house is all cute. That’s not true either. So real life story is that yeah. Real life 

Melissa Klug: story about this. I know someone who is a great story. Successful Instagrammer home decor, Instagrammer. 

Jen Obermeier: Right. She, you know, her in really know her 

Melissa Klug: in real life. You go to her house. And I, one time I, when I first started my business, I wanted to learn how to be successful at Instagram.

So I was like, who do I know that’s successful 

Jen Obermeier: it? Oh, I know 

Melissa Klug: her. So we went out for coffee. The reason we went out for coffee was because I said, oh my gosh, could I come over to your house? And she’s like, oh my gosh, no, no one, no, one’s allowed over to my house. And I said, being naive, but you put a picture up earlier today.

She’s like, oh my gosh, I took that picture six months ago. She was like, no, no, no, no one can come to my house. And so I think people feel that. You know, oh, I, by the way, I have pictures on my Instagram of what my pantry looked like the day that I judged it up. Just if you went to my pantry right now, which you’re welcome to do, it would not look like that.

Right. Because real life. Right. I will tell you to social media. If you decided to be really honest one day and say, I did this one time. I said, Hey, do you want to see what a professional organizers drunk drawer looks like? This is it. And I opened it up. And by the way, it looks like a junk drawer.

But the lesson that I gave was I can get this drawer cleaned up in five minutes. And here’s why. And because I have. Separated and I had containers and I knew where things went and I said, I’ll get this straightened up in five minutes. Everything has a home. 

Jen Obermeier: So you 

Melissa Klug: can actually take that feeling of needing to be perfect.

Be a little bit vulnerable with your followers and say, Hey, I’m a professional organizer and my house. Isn’t perfect all the time. Let me show you, but let me show you the value of being organized because you can get reorganized really quickly. 

Jen Obermeier: Um, This is a great time to, um, interspersed, throwback episodes on the podcast.

Not throw it back to not that long ago, actually. Um, In 2020, I hired a professional organizer and I think that’s a really valuable story because it was. Ashamed, not in the slightest, not even ashamed to say this was a moment where I knew I needed help with something very specific that I had been putting off for a very long time.

I out of anybody would have. How to do it? Nope. Would I have been embarrassed to like put this particular area on Instagram and say I’m a professional organizer, a hundred percent, but I didn’t feel embarrassed about the fact that I said I knew what I needed help with. And I knew that somebody who.

Would not judge me, who knew the framework and how I had to make some decisions about some things could come and just like, let me sit and then I can watch her. And then I could make those decisions and talk to her about something that was very stressful to me. So. In essence, it’s a little bit of the opposite of what you’re asking.

there’s, There’s no reason why anything in your life like ever has to be perfect before you’re able to help someone that’s a little bit further behind than you are, but also there are going to be times, even if you are super proud of your home, that you personally struggle with something and if you are not making it okay, and normalizing asking for help, then they will never like, they will never.

And so I actually did. I posted on pro organizer, studio, Instagram, the not knot. I did put the full before and after actually of this particular closet that I was dealing with. And I said, Hey, raise your hand if you’re like me. And there are just sometimes when you’re the person who has to get your own help and take a dose of your own medicine.

 Melissa and I did a podcast episode where I talked more in detail about this, because I don’t know if it was a combination of like 20, 20 stress or if it was just a little bit of like life’s starting to happen in pile up where I had been avoiding something that I really.

Didn’t want to do. But when I talked to her about that, that actually, we got some good responses back from that where they’re like, that’s, that was really cool that you shared a story. And if you think that I was not. Now, when I say I wasn’t ashamed, I was not ashamed at all in terms of like, I want to pay money.

I want it to be somebody. I don’t want it to be my mom, my sister. I don’t want to be somebody. I want somebody, a professional fish does this and can help me knock this out. However, did she know who I was? A hundred percent. Yeah. I was like, do not tell anybody when you come to my house that I live in chaos sometimes.

I mean, I said that, but it really is true. Like it doesn’t mean that just because it’s true that I live in chaos and sometimes. Ashamed of it in some ways, do I feel the need? Like I have to put it online, no. And so if you are feeling like you need to show your house in order to prove something, that’s the part that I wanted to come back to and say it’s really okay.

Whether you do or don’t, but there is no reason there is nobody out there. Certainly not me saying. You have to prove yourself before you can have a business before you can get paid, because that is a lie. That is such a lot. 

Melissa Klug: I don’t know why I keep coming back to medical analogies, but like a cardiologist doesn’t have to have a heart attack to be a good cardiologist.

There are male gynecologists. I’m just saying. 

Jen Obermeier: All right. Your analogy train to far has left the station. Yes. All right. Let’s say it. Pause, pause, and to change topics. That was really funny by the way.

Melissa Klug: All right. My analogy train did leave the station. I’m sorry about that last one. I’m not really that. Sorry. It was kind of funny. So anyway, I hope that you guys enjoyed our conversation. We will keep bringing you a few more of those conversations that Jen and I record when we’re together.

And as always, we would love your feedback. If there’s anything that you want us to cover on the podcast, or you just want to let us know that you’re listening from wherever you are. We love hearing from people hit us Before we go, I just want to make sure that you know, that enrollment is open right now for our inspired organizer program and community.

We have the most amazing community of organizers all over the world. And it is our passion to help women realize that there is an amazing career out there as professional organizers, and that you are able to go out and help so many people in your community. Every single day, you get active coaching and mentorship about your organizing business in our private group.

In addition to all of the things that we have in our actual program, which is full of education for you to grow that business, we would absolutely love to have you in our community. If you are interested in joining us, you can go to or you can email

And we would be happy to send you all of the details. 

We are grateful for you listening to us from all over the world. So happy that you have found us and have an absolutely wonderful week.

Thank you so much for listening into the pro organizer studio podcast. If you’d like to get our roadmap for success as a pro organizer, head straight to

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Photos of jen by ANGELA ZION