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Kim Snodgrass of Rustic Home Organizing in Portland, Oregon

138 | 1 Year As a Professional Organizer: Kim Snodgrass

Jan 23

Kim started Rustic Home Organizing in Oregon a year ago, and we talked to her about what it was like to start a professional organizing business from the ground up. We wanted to catch up with her to talk about what she learned in her first year as an organizer, how she built her business, how she gets clients for the organizing business, and everything in between. She’s here to inspire everyone who is starting out in the organizing industry.

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You’re listening to the Pro Organizer Studio podcast with Melissa Klug and Jen Kilbourne 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.

Hey pro organizers. It’s Melissa and we are back this week with part two of my conversation with Kim Snodgrass of Rustic Home Organizing. Kim started her business a little over a year ago. We interviewed her on the podcast on January of 2022, and she is back with us to tell us what she learned in her first full year of organizing.

If you missed her original episode, it’s episode 97, and then last week was her first part. So please listen to all of it. So, so much wisdom to share and I love talking to her because she is very, very honest, which I think is important, especially for newer organizers to know. And even if you’re not a newer organizer, Kim has a lot of great things.

I learned things from Kim, and I am very grateful that she is in our Inspired Organizer® community and I get to work with her. 

So here you go with part two of my conversation with Kim. I hope you have an awesome day. What have you taken from that kind of learning to help you moving forward as you start into your second year and hopefully third and fifth and 10th year

[00:01:35] Kim Snodgrass: Oh, I’ll be there. For me, so my new word, I would like to share my new word. 

[00:01:38] Melissa Klug: I’m excited. Drum roll. 

[00:01:40] Kim Snodgrass: Are you ready? My new word is intentional. I love that. This year is all about being intentional in my actions. , I will be thoughtful in what I’m doing. I’m giving myself time to process. I’m not making quick decisions.

I’m gonna allow myself to think for myself until I feel like I need to bring in another opinion which will bring me to another subject of other organizers around the country. But I’m gonna be intentional about my time. I’m gonna be intentional about my shopping when I do it.

 This last year was really difficult for me to go shopping for like, two projects at a time. Okay. But this year I, I’ve figured out a process about how am I gonna shop for two projects at a time when I’m at the store or at, I’m online. So just being very intentional about my actions.

And that goes for anything that I’m gonna put my money or my time or my brain into as far as apps, programs, whatever it might be. Any sort of groups. Anything that I’m going to give my time to. Why am I doing it and what am I hoping to get out of it? And that I think is very important for anybody looking into resources within the business to figure out why am I doing it and what am I hoping to get from it?

And, and knowing that you’ve gotta, they need, you need to put the energy and the time into it. Things aren’t gonna be done for you. It’s very 

[00:03:05] Melissa Klug: important. . And that’s an important thing because I found myself last night scrolling, for whatever reason, I don’t know if it’s the end of the year and everybody’s selling a billion things.

I was scrolling through Instagram and I kept getting fed all these ads about courses and, and education and do this, you know, try this funnel and that, I mean, things that are more relevant to my work at Pro Organizer Studio. And I found myself feeling a little bit of fomo, like, oh, maybe that’s magic.

Oh maybe that’s magic . And then I’m like, no, no, no, no, no, no. I need to step back. And I love what you said about, how would I use this? When would I use it? Am I going to use it? Cuz there are a million things out there and, you can buy, you can buy a thousand things. But if you’re gonna spend that money, then how are you going to use that thing?

How are you going to implement it in your business? What are you gonna learn from it? And then what gaps does it fill in your knowledge and your education, whatever that looks like for you. , [00:04:00] 

[00:04:00] Kim Snodgrass: you know that. I’m so glad you brought that up. I was thinking about that. I almost wanna say social media newsletters, whatever emails you might be signed up for is like a feeding ground.

And you have to be careful. You have to be really careful on what you decide is gonna be your magic potion to get your business, because the energy that you’re putting into all of the things could be put into a YouTube seo tutorial that you could just zip over to your website and make it sound so simple.

I wouldn’t even know how to do that right now, . But you could be putting your time and energy into learning the seo. To get your website more exposure. And I was told at the beginning how important that was and who told 

[00:04:44] Melissa Klug: you that? Just asking 

[00:04:46] Kim Snodgrass: this lady, this one lady, this one lady that wears red glasses.

 I think it’s so easy to get sucked into so many different rabbit holes. So easy. Yes. And, and to try and avoid those at all costs is really, really important. I think we have to be careful on.

what advice we throw to newer organizers. On how to find their business. What one organizer did at the beginning of her business versus what she’s doing right now on year four, five, or 10, is going to be so different than that new organizer is gonna be doing on, you know, in year one. So what happened four years ago is different, and what’s happening for that organizer right now is very different.

 And I, I find this trap of newer organizers feeling like they have to depend on third party people to get them their business. Mm-hmm. , oh, I need to go visit this real estate office. I need to go visit this real estate agent. Oh, I found this designer and they’re gonna, it’s not, it’s that, that really truly is.

Going to be where you’re going to find your clients. First of all, there are so many real estate agents out there, and they’re all clawing for business. Especially right 

[00:06:01] Melissa Klug: now in this, especially right now. Right now. I mean, yeah, 

[00:06:05] Kim Snodgrass: putting really bad right now, putting in a, in a basket with, with a, an agent that might only have exposure to 10 different people, you aren’t most likely going to get business off of that.

Now, that isn’t to say that it’s not somebody you should keep connected with. Sure. I think they, you need to change your thinking and that these third party professionals are gonna bring you your business. And I just, I just don’t think that is where you should put your energy at the beginning of your business. . 

[00:06:34] Melissa Klug: Referrals are such a huge part of so many organizers businesses, but when we say referrals, what we mean is a very happy client refers you to all their friends.

 I fell into the real estate trap at the beginning too, and one of the reasons we’re talking about this is cuz it, it comes up in, our inspired organizer Facebook group a lot. And newer organizers naturally, cuz I did it. I thought, oh my gosh, realtors, what is the most natural place?

Who’s in homes all the time? Oh, it’s realtors. Right? And you, by the way, full disclosure, used to be a realtor, so I, I was a realtor. , you know, you know better than everyone. But you know, it, it seems like it’s a natural fit, but it’s not in actuality. And does that make sense?

Absolutely not. But relying on that or putting all, like you said, all of your eggs in that marketing basket and that networking basket is not going to yield you the client base that you often think it would or should. 

[00:07:30] Kim Snodgrass: When you interviewed Corey from Meat and Potatoes recently, she talked about her b and i group her chamber and, I do think that there is something for putting energy into those smaller. 

[00:07:41] Melissa Klug: Local groups where you’re cross, you’re cross referring, I know I talked about this recently, my clients, I cannot believe the number of times I’m called upon to provide referrals for people like handyman and you know, all of these things.

I know. And so, I mean, I have a handyman that I adore. If you’re in the [00:08:00] Minneapolis area, hit me up cuz he’s amazing. But like really that local referral group because it’s not just one type of people, it’s not just one type of business person. It’s many different types of business people in a chamber or a b and i group.

And so we have a lot of people in our group that are really, really big on in-person local networking. And if that is something that is your jam, absolutely do that. 

[00:08:26] Kim Snodgrass: Yes. Yeah, definitely. That was one of my notes I wrote down is being an organizer, you’re a resource manager. Yes. And so you need to be that one, figure out how you can be that person that is that reference person.

You’re gonna get so much more business in the long run being that person than you waiting for somebody to be that for you. And that that’s kind of been my 

[00:08:46] Melissa Klug: mission. I will give you my hot tip on that too. The reason that I was able to find all the resources that I recommended people to is also because I said yes to clients who asked me to do things that weren’t specifically organizing.

So for instance, I have an amazing painter. He just did the exterior of my house. It looks amazing. I got this painter because I had a client that. . I don’t really like to pick paint colors. Do you like to pick paint colors? I’m like, heck yes I do. . I picked all the paint colors for his house and found him a painter, and then I got connected with him.

I found the handyman because I had a client that’s like, man, I really need a handyman. Do you have someone good? I reached out to my network, found a guy, tried him out on a few things, tried him out on my own home. He’s amazing. So sometimes I get these people because I have said, yeah, sure, I’ll try that for you client.

And I get paid for something that is organizing adjacent. I call it , but it really helps improve my business too. It makes me a resource to my clients also. 

[00:09:47] Kim Snodgrass: Being resourceful is a great tool to have in your 

[00:09:50] Melissa Klug: pocket. Yeah. I always say too that that resourcefulness, I think translates also into the in-home experience.

 I pride myself on being able to pick something weird up and have the client go, what is that? And then I’m like, oh, I know what that is. It’s the screw to the blah, blah, blah. Yes, that we organized in this room the other day, . So I 

[00:10:09] Kim Snodgrass: love doing that.

It’s so amazing how the inventory that I have in my brain of my client’s homes totally 

[00:10:17] Melissa Klug: kinda scary. , or I did a kitchen recently and the, the guy was like, what? What is that? Even like, he had a bunch of stuff that he didn’t know what it was. I’m like, it’s an Apple core. And he’s like, well, what would I use that for?

I’m like, do you plan on making a lot of apple pies from scratch? If no, then we can say goodbye to this . So Right. . I, I feel like we might have gotten a little bit off track and I wanna make sure I don’t forget. Sorry, tell me. No, you don’t have to apologize. It’s my fault. That’s common with me. You know that.

Listen, I love it. I can go all different directions, but 

So if you could go back to a year ago at this time, what, I mean, I think you’ve gone over a little bit like , what would you say? Hey girl, don’t do this . 

[00:10:58] Kim Snodgrass: I know, right? Okay. So first of all, don’t assume you know what you like to do as far as organizing. 

[00:11:06] Melissa Klug: Oh, I like this. Yes. Oh, so talk to us about this.

[00:11:10] Kim Snodgrass: I know you have to. In my first podcast a year ago, I was all about garages and shops. Yes. You and I, I do, I really still love them on my own property, not somebody else’s property. Yeah. Going through somebody else’s garage stuff is really draining. It’s very draining. It’s very physical. And it’s not what I thought I was gonna enjoy.

What I enjoy I love pantries and laundry rooms. Mm-hmm. , Airbnbs all day long. My top three, those are my top three. And I didn’t know what. Yeah. So don’t assume at the beginning, do not assume, do not limit yourself. Don’t limit yourself to what you think you want to organize or who you wanna organize for.

 I really think it’s important to give yourself an opportunity to test the waters in lots of area. [00:12:00] 

[00:12:00] Melissa Klug: I think this goes back to what we were talking about earlier in terms of you’ve gotta try a few things out. Mm-hmm. , and you gotta determine for yourself what works and what doesn’t.

Because you might surprise yourself either direction, whether it’s, Hey, I love doing this, by the way, I love garages, . But you have to figure out for yourself what you want to say yes or no to going forward. I think 

[00:12:23] Kim Snodgrass: that also empowers you to be able to love your job even more. Yes it reminds you that I’m in this because I’m doing something I love.

So when we work in a corporate atmosphere or we work for somebody else, we are, we continually have to do things we don’t want to do and it gets us into this place of, I’m so unhappy, I don’t like my job. When you work for yourself and you’re an organizer, you can go in and do a job you don’t like, but guess what?

You get to not ever go back and do that if you choose not to. Yeah. And I love that. I think that is fantastic. 

[00:12:56] Melissa Klug: I love being able to pick and choose. what works for me. And even if it’s something that, you know, I don’t love doing X, Y, z, I also know, I only have to do it for five more hours and then I’m done.

I don’t have to do it for infinity. Mm-hmm. , like, I don’t, I don’t have to be here for, you know, two more years. But I also, I love what you’re saying about, you can say, this works for me, this doesn’t work for me. Or you could say, it doesn’t work for me for the next three months, but it might work for me again in the summer.

I don’t know. You get to change the rules as much as you want to. 

[00:13:32] Kim Snodgrass: Yeah, absolutely. And that’s gonna help you along with your processes. 

[00:13:36] Melissa Klug: What do you like, what has surprised you about yourself? Like in terms of like organizing in someone’s house? What has surprised you this year? 

[00:13:47] Kim Snodgrass: I think what has surprised me is how at least for me, my clients it, they become friend is a strong word.

It’s a different relationship. Yeah. I mean, you are in these people’s business and it has surprised me at how important I have become in their life. Yep. And it’s an, it’s really an honor. And how I’ve impacted children, children at very young ages that ask if Ms. Kim is gonna come and do my room.

Yeah. Is Ms. Kim gonna come put my stuffed animals in a pretty row? You know? Yeah. That is, that has surprised me, honestly, the most at what we mean to people. It’s not just about getting their functional systems. It’s about peace of mind and, and what that 

[00:14:33] Melissa Klug: means to.

and the amount of trust that people place in you. I mean, it’s kind of amazing when you think about, it’s like your house is your most valuable resource and people just open their houses for us and, and all of the things in house. Yeah. 

[00:14:47] Kim Snodgrass: Everything, yeah. All kinds of surprises. Yes. But it’s fine. , it adds an element of excitement to the It does.

It really does. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:14:58] Melissa Klug: So you said earlier that your word of the year is intentional. What else? Yes. What does the landscape of 2023 look like for you? Landscape of 

[00:15:08] Kim Snodgrass: 2023 is being very intentional with my time, so I am going to be a little more Thoughtful in when I’m scheduling which days and which times I’m gonna be a little bit more thoughtful in my shopping days and times.

I’m gonna try and do more online versus in person. That first year it was really great to get hands on, see things, yeah. Understand things, touch and feel and all of that. And now it’s become a little bit more about measurements and I think that is really great. Next in line after in-home organizing is gonna be workshops for me.

Okay. I tell my first, yeah. I did my first workshop in October and it was a huge success. I had an amazing turnout. It was exhilarating. and I absolutely loved it. So I will be doing [00:16:00] quarterly workshops this year to be able to get into the community a little bit more personal, so that those that cannot or don’t want to invest into my services in home can still connect with me, email me, go back and forth after they’ve been to one of my workshops, to troubleshoot any areas that they have in their home.

You know, it’s not gonna be in-depth d i y plans, but just as a resource to them Yeah. To come to me if they so choose. . 

[00:16:32] Melissa Klug: I love that. Just a quick word on workshops too. Just a little plug. I have done a bunch of seminars at our workshops at local libraries and you get paid for it. Libraries actually have budgets.

So if you go to a library event coordinator and be like, Hey, I’m a professional organizer. I’d love to talk to people about blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You might be surprised, you can get paid pretty decently to do a little workshop. I love talking to people, so it makes me really happy. But I love your local workshop idea too.

It’s awesome. Yeah, definitely 

[00:17:02] Kim Snodgrass: those. I had somebody reach out to me and ask if I would do a workshop in their home Yeah. To their, to their friends. Like a Tupperware party, only organizing, kinda like a Tupperware party for organizing. So I’m wrapping my head around that and trying to figure out the logistics and that.

So that’s just another avenue that I wanna take my job. And when I hurt my leg recently, it made me realize that I, I need to have maybe a little something else Yeah. To fall back on other than my legs, . . 

[00:17:27] Melissa Klug: I, we might need to do a whole like, separate episode on workshops and things like that because I really believe in them.

They are really good and you can get paid for them. And there are lots of different ideas like doing one in someone’s home for a mom’s group, for instance, and then, you get exposure to a bunch of moms in one place that then all want to hire you. I have done them for a few groups around Minnesota, I’ve just done a Zoom presentation and then it turns into business.

So there, I think there are lots of really great workshop ideas that are out there. Yeah, I think 

[00:17:55] Kim Snodgrass: so. And I found a lot of my, my workshop attendees Were not social media followers, but then became social media followers, but said that they really enjoyed following me. Yes. So that is where I finally came to my, what I figured out social media was, for me, it was an extension.

It was an extension to my local community. 

[00:18:16] Melissa Klug: I love that. 

Do you have any big goals for 2023 that you wanna reach or you just letting it Oh, I have 

[00:18:23] Kim Snodgrass: no, I’m not letting it roll. I have financial goals that I want to reach and I have narrowed those down to weekly goals, hourly goals and how I’m going to achieve those. And that’s a big one. That puts a lot of weight on my shoulders. But if I’m intentional about my actions, I wasted quite a bit of time in 2022, chasing my own tail.

But 2023 is, is gonna be, is gonna be different 

[00:18:48] Melissa Klug: for sure. Well, you’ve got it locked in. And then the other thing that you can do is say like, okay, once you back into what you know, you say, this is what I need, then you back into it. Then you can say, oh, I need to pump the brakes a little bit, or I need to press the gas.

And it allows you to figure out, you know, if you know your numbers, there’s no mystery to it, right? It’s just a number is just a piece of data and it’s not about your self worth or anything else, but it helps you guide what are my efforts gonna look like? 

[00:19:15] Kim Snodgrass: Yeah. I’m definitely gonna spend more time out in 2023 in front of people introducing myself. And I, I’m excited for that. That’s what excites me. I pretty much this last month started trimming back all the fat Yeah.

And discontinuing a lot of apps that I had, a lot of programs that I had, I even got rid of. You’re all gonna think I’m nuts, but I’m not even doing QuickBooks. Ok. My good old notepad. That’s, there you go. That’s how my brain, how my brain works. And I’m really happy with all my decisions and where I’m at.

Dubs Auto is still gonna stay on my plate because I’ve invested so much money. Yeah. And I figured out enough that it would be difficult for me to go backwards Yep. And not have those, those things, but, But you 

[00:19:59] Melissa Klug: [00:20:00] learned how to use it in the right way. 

[00:20:01] Kim Snodgrass: I, I can maneuver slightly, I can make an invoice.

Alright. . 

[00:20:06] Melissa Klug: I was trying to give you 

[00:20:06] Kim Snodgrass: a little bit of on it. Thank you. I appreciate that. But I do have a handful of organizers that I have reached out to where they’re ready to jump in. Just kind of help me with some love that pain points that I have. So that is, that’s good. I’m not willing 

[00:20:19] Melissa Klug: to spend any more money on it.


So I just, I love it. 

 While you said you have a daughter who’s a sophomore in college, you’re a sophomore in your business now, so you’re ready to go? I am, 

[00:20:29] Kim Snodgrass: yes, I am. Freshman year is over. Yes. I, I do wanna give a shout out to all three of my girls. They all are so patient with me and my needs.

They still don’t help me very much, but they’re so patient with me, . And I just wanna, just a quick reminder, you know, my oldest one is a finance major, university of Georgia. She came over to try and help me and gave up. Courtney, my middle daughter is she’s a social media manager for a big social media firm in New York City, and I get zero.

I get a good job. Mom, you grew 20 followers. And then Caitlin is my gifted writer. She actually just got props from her college professor that she truly is a gifted writer. Aw. She is going into get her teaching degree for special education, but I get no help in newsletters or blog. So I have three amazing girls that really, truly do not help me.

My biggest helper is my Chad. He’s great. My she hanger. He’s, he’s been awesome. So that’s another thing people need is their support system. Find your cheerleaders 

[00:21:33] Melissa Klug: and stick with. . Yep. And I know we’ve talked about, you know, social media isn’t, isn’t the the Beall end all, but I will say you did have a very funny reel recently with your daughter , so I know like I’m not gonna spoil it.

Just gonna look at it. It’s hilarious. 

[00:21:49] Kim Snodgrass: He threw me a bone and that wasn’t even the social media daughter. That was the, the writing 

[00:21:55] Melissa Klug: daughter. Right. I know. I love it. So, no, it is all joking aside, even though you know, you have these very talented daughters who might not, you know, give you daily help on your business, it is like to have people behind you who believe in you.

And one of the things I have said about my husband is like, he believes in me more than I believe in myself sometimes. And so being able to find those people, it might not be your family, cuz I know sometimes families can also be a little bit challenging or questioning, but finding whomever that is, that has your.

and believes in you and can prop you up when you’re having those bad days and take you out for a beer and tell you not to quit your business just cuz you had one bad day. Whatever that looks like for you. Those are good people to have. 

Well your podcast, the one we did a year ago was one of our most downloaded episodes and so I, people just loved it. I think they’re gonna love this one too. So what you have to put on your calendar is, I’m gonna be checking in with you again. You’re gonna be That’s great. Back on in 365 days so we can hear about your sophomore year of organizing.

[00:22:56] Kim Snodgrass: I love it. So if anybody goes back to listen to my first one. I, I wanna touch on a couple things. Yeah. I don’t wanna do shops. . Yeah. Even though I said, and our shop still isn’t completed, Mueller Construction is way behind still. I did have t-shirts made. Yes. They do not have crass SANEs on the back.

They just say, you don’t need that. And I forgot about that. Yes. I always wear it to places like TJ Max, Marshalls Target. I have more people comment on my t-shirts that say, I don’t need that. And they, I’ll hear somebody go, you’re right, I don’t, and I’ll turn around like, what are you talking about? I love that.

And they’re on my t-shirt. I get so many conversations on my t-shirts. Yes. Love 

[00:23:45] Melissa Klug: that. We may have to add that. I may have to give you a commission and we’ll have to add that to the to the pro organizer studio shirt shop. 

[00:23:53] Kim Snodgrass: Yeah, you don’t need 

[00:23:54] Melissa Klug: that. Period. . It’s true, man. I, there are so many, so many houses I go [00:24:00] in because by the way, I used to be this person like Amazon packages on the doorstep 200 times a day.

And you don’t need it. You really don’t. Yeah. It’s really stressful. Yes. Okay, where can people find you? Rustic home I know that one. Yes. 

[00:24:15] Kim Snodgrass: Or rh either gets you there. Instagram is rustic home organizing and then Facebook is just rustic home organizing.

I’m always happy to answer direct messages. I love it. I just had somebody y. Listen to the podcast from a year ago and reach out and say hi. I just love it. I think it’s great. Kim 

[00:24:35] Melissa Klug: is a giver. You guys like, for real. I’m not just saying this. She loves talking to people because she loved reaching out to people and she knows how important it is that, you know, you pay it forward in terms of helping people.

So she really loves to hear from people, genuinely. And I love that. And I will say check out her website because it is gorgeous. It’s so, it’s genuinely, I often send it to people looking for website inspiration. So check Kim out. Reach out to her, say hi. Tell her you listen to all of her podcasts. She’ll be on the podcast 55 more times before she retires . So, all right. Thank you so much, friend. 

Thank you so much, Kim, for joining us. I absolutely love talking to her. It’s funny, I always say that I love talking to people on this podcast. I do. I could talk to people for hours and hours and someday I’ll just do an outtakes episode because , um, sometimes we have a lot of conversations that don’t end up making the podcast.

But I just, I love doing this and I appreciate so much that there are so many of you that listen and it really warms my heart. Whenever someone sends an email or dms me on Instagram, it’s like, oh, I love the podcast. So thank you. Thank you. Thank you as always for listening to us on the Pro Organizer Studio podcast.

I just wanna throw this in. If you have not joined our free workshop, the Pro Organizer’s Profit Plan, I would love to spend another hour with you. It’s available 24 7 365 at Have an absolutely amazing week organizers, and I’ll talk to you next 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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