What’s the best way to declutter your home? What do you really need? We caught up with Issaquah-based professional organizer, Johnna Masterson, of Inspired and Organized, to learn more about how she helps people create peaceful surroundings and what’s involved in an organization project.
Grand Ridge Plaza: What does a professional organizer do?
Johnna Masterson: A professional organizer isn't someone who comes in to clean up. There are many reasons and circumstances that lead to your things taking over a large part of your life. The emotional effect can be significant. These feelings, combined with the actual physical clutter, can make it feel daunting and impossible. A professional organizer will help you uncover obstacles that are hindering your ability to become and stay organized, and will teach you while putting systems in place to end the clutter cycle. We help bring peace to your surroundings.
Grand Ridge Plaza: Do people need to get rid of all their stuff and become minimalists?
Johnna Masterson: Absolutely not! While there can be a sense of freedom with purging, I do not believe in a restrictive approach to home organization. Some people are to the point where they just want things gone. Others are still very connected to their belongings. And there is nothing wrong with feeling that connection. I can help you organize your spaces, and that will not be dependent on what you decide to keep or what you decide to let go.
Grand Ridge Plaza: What are the benefits of getting organized?
Johnna Masterson: Where do I start? The mental health effects of clutter and disorganization have been explored in depth more recently. It can feel suffocating when our belongings take up too much time and space in our lives. Without systems in place, you can continually attempt to "declutter," and still feel like you aren't seeing results. This is because cleaning up a space, without thinking about how to keep it that way, is only a temporary fix. One of my main reasons for starting Inspired and Organized is knowing that once we are finished, you will feel such a tremendous sense of relief, and will end up living a healthier, happier life. Your home should reduce your stress and never add to it.
Grand Ridge Plaza: What inspired you to found Inspired and Organized?
Johnna Masterson: I attended a workshop called Infinite Possibilities taught by my good friend Kim Foster. One part of it included trying to uncover your strengths and gifts. Originally, I thought I was going to pursue being a doula! The universe had other things in mind for me, and the rest is history. I knew I needed to find a way to comfortably take care of my four boys, but I also knew I needed to be part of something that made a difference in people’s lives. I have always organized for my family and friends, and I even streamlined systems during my time in corporate and as a dental assistant. I didn’t realize it back then, but this was always meant for me.
Grand Ridge Plaza: What are some of the mistakes people make when organizing on their own?
Johnna Masterson: One of the biggest mistakes I run into is the thought that buying a ton of products will get you organized. I would say about 75% of the clients I work with mention purchasing things only to be disappointed. You really must declutter first, and then create a system to fit your actual space. It will never be successful doing it backwards. I always recommend waiting to buy products, as you can also “shop” your home as well. Re-purposing a basket to hold towels, a glass jar to hold pencils, or even a box wrapped in contact paper as a drawer divider, are all ways to reuse and recycle things you already have.
Grand Ridge Plaza: What are some of the items that people think they will need in the future but rarely do?
Johnna Masterson: I have been doing a lot of downsizing lately and there are a few things that continually pop up as space wasters. Having multiples of anything in the event you may need it (but haven’t used it in over a year), and memorabilia/photos are two major culprits. For the latter, I recommend going through your photos and throwing away doubles or landscapes that you can’t recognize. And choosing one special container for each family member’s memorabilia. Once that is full (of your favorites), that’s all you keep. To add more, you’ll need to re-evaluate the truly special.
Grand Ridge Plaza: Why did you choose Issaquah for your business?
Johnna Masterson: I chose Issaquah as I have lived here for the past 12 years and love everything about this community. Everyone is so supportive, and what started out as me helping friends and neighbors, quickly grew into something much bigger. I love being able to have a positive effect on the families in our community. When we have a peaceful and content home life, the ripple effect can be huge. It makes my heart full to think I can play one very small part in that.
Learn more about services offered by Inspired and Organized.