Ashley: I clean and organize because it helps me feel in control. I organize my physical space which helps me calm and organize my mental space. I know cleaning and organizing is good for my mental health but sometimes it’s hard to know where or how to begin. With Spring upon us and an intensified desire to spring clean, I decided to reach out to a local yoga student Lisa Vivian Macdonald-Faulkner with a few questions to better understand why cleaning makes me calm, and why others can’t bear to toss things out.
Ashley: Tell us a bit about yourself
Lisa: I am from Dartmouth but I spend half my time in Lower Economy on my husband’s family land. I was an Executive Secretary then an In Charge Flight Attendant and now I am chasing my passion as a Professional Organizer. I am a proud Auntie, I love snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing, skating, entertaining, cooking and baking. I have a huge organic vegetable garden which provides me with excellent ingredients for canning and preserving.
Ashley: What led to your business idea?
Lisa: I was born with the organizing gene. My mother would have told you my Halloween candy was alphabetized and I when I was little, I would organize my friends’ rooms while they read Nancy Drew books. I was doing pre-move purges, move-management, organizing seminars in the community for friends and family and thought I should make a business out of it.
Ashley: Why do you think people find cleaning or organizing calming?
Lisa: I think people want to be organized inside. They yearn for the calmness it provides but perhaps they were not taught the skills or they can’t find the time or maybe they are not physically able to keep on top of it. When you are surrounded with only the things you love and you are inspired by it is so peaceful. In my seminar work, I tell people that when you have an organized home, you do 40% less housecleaning. Putting your house in order is calming; just doing one drawer or the linen closet makes you feel more like the master of your domain.
Ashley: Why do people also find holding onto “stuff” calming?
Lisa: I have heard every reason in the world why people want to hold onto stuff. Sometimes people had less than what they needed early in life or they experienced trauma like a house fire or they feel like they want to be the resource for the world’s needs or they are worried that they will regret getting rid of an item. Ultimately, I don’t know why people find it calming. If they could see what I see, they would let it go and feel peacefulness and order in their lives.
Ashley: What if a reader is overwhelmed about the thought of getting started?
Lisa: If you are overwhelmed with getting started, an Organizer can help sort out the chaos. We have systems to sort and purge that really work.
Ashley: What is the idea of minimalism all about?
Lisa: Minimalism to me is not sleeping in an empty apartment on a floor mat with a bamboo toothbrush. Minimalism to me (and it is subjective) only keeping what you love, what sparks joy, what you need and what inspires you.
Ashley: What kind of services do you provide?
Lisa: I do residential and corporate organizing all over Nova Scotia but mostly in HRM and in the Truro area. I work with busy professionals, seniors who are downsizing, I clear out estates for families, I do pre-move purges, move management, post-move set-up, organizing small business offices, and I do in-person and virtual speaking engagements on the topic of organizing. Basically, if it’s disorganized and you need help organizing it…call me and I’ll help.
Ashley: How does Professional Organizing relate to wellness and peacefulness?
Lisa: After I work with a client, they feel at peace and satisfied and calm. They can’t believe how they lived with (and got comfortable with) such disorder and chaos for so long.
Ashley: Can you give an example of a job you did recently?
Lisa: I have countless testimonials on my website from ecstatic clients who are overjoyed with results and so satisfied with the work we accomplished together. Recently, I worked with an older lady in Halifax who was downsizing because she was experiencing the first signs of dementia. Her daughters in Toronto hired me long-distance because of Covid. They could not do the isolation here in NS and they could not miss work for months and have their family be locked down in Ontario when they returned. I worked with her to do a pre-move purge, move management on the day-of, got her unpacked and settled in her new place, etc. I did everything from selling family heirlooms to posting items on kijiji to hanging pictures to assembling IKEA furniture!
Ashley: How do I get started?
Lisa: I offer complimentary consultations to potential clients. It usually takes about 45 minutes, I visit the house, we talk about how you envision your space, your problem areas, etc., we do a little tour. I always ask people to take a good look at my website www.allorganized.ca as it really answers a lot of frequently asked questions then fill out the “Contact Us” tab.