The following case studies outline examples of how my Organizing services have helped clients gain control over frustrating situations. (Names have been changed to preserve client confidentiality.)
CASE STUDY: “On the Move”
Emily hired me to organize a large and multi-faceted project: moving her busy law firm. The firm needed help in multiple areas, which included decision-making, purging, space planning, packing, and coordination. In addition, an immediate and vital concern was converting the office from paper to digital file-keeping.
- Create a plan to project manage and implement the various, fast-moving facets of the transition.
- Analyze current file-keeping issues and methods, and develop a new system for naming and storing their many digital files.
- Set up the new offices to eliminate any down time, so the attorneys could continue to meet with new and existing clients, and make their tight work deadlines and court appointments.
I created and implemented a file-naming convention which instantly improved their system. This allowed for: quick identification of files, ease of sharing with different departments, daily backups, more efficient processing of job components, loss prevention of important documents, and help with archiving completed client jobs. In addition, the naming conventions were now presented to new hires in order to immediately train them on proper firm standards and procedures; it became part of their permanent procedural manual.
All existing furniture was measured, and a floor plan was created for the new space. This allowed us to see what could be repurposed and what new items needed purchasing. It also helped the movers know where to place the furniture in the new offices, making moving day less stressful on everyone.
I estimated and purchased all needed moving supplies, and sorted, packed, and labeled all office contents for efficient transport.
Set-up of the new offices included recommendations regarding paint and carpet, unpacking, organizing, systemizing attorney desk drawers, decorating/accessorizing, signage design, small repairs, hanging art, and general shopping help.
During the time it took to accomplish the move, I functioned as a trusted partner and “right arm” in their business. The digital changes alone revolutionized their work life. And after working so closely together, I was able to make other recommendations on efficiency, plus offer assistance regarding new hires. My client and her law partner concluded that they literally could not have accomplished the move without me, which was very rewarding.
CASE STUDY: “Bits and Pieces”
Laura called me in January in order to start her New Year off right. As a busy fashion designer in a fast-moving, high pressure industry, she particularly needed to get a better handle on the spacial, storage, and supplies aspects of her business.
- Organize her large design studio, which was stuffed to overflowing with fabrics, samples, patterns and other components.
- Facilitate employee compliance with proper storage and re-filing of all materials
- Help Laura know what she already owned, in order to avoid re-ordering costly duplicate materials under time pressure.
- Assist with fine-tuning the “jobs in progress” area to lessen staff frustration in locating items.
- Advise on purging from different categories: supplies, merchandising, display and fashion show pieces, plus out-of-date sample garments.
- Help move into and set up a nearby satellite office with the most important facets of the business, and advise on any storage pieces to buy. Help identify and move all unnecessary keepsakes into long-term, offsite storage.
- Work with her staff to utilize their individual strengths in helping out on this large project
- Fabric that had been located in 3 different sections of the studio was consolidated into one main area, closest to the work tables and sewing machines. Existing shelving from around the studio was re-purposed to create an efficient storage “tower.” I also devised a quick and inexpensive way to keep the individual stacks of silky yardage neat, organized, and less likely to slip out of the shelves. Existing containers from around the studio were repurposed to hold the additional heavy rolls of fabrics upright in more sections, preventing tumbling, unraveling and damage. Fabrics were sorted by type and color, allowing fast identification; this saved the designers’ time, facilitated re-filing, and most importantly, saved the owner thousands of dollars per year on re-ordering supplies they knew they already had but weren’t able to locate.
• The “jobs in progress” area spanning one long wall was streamlined and re-configured to better reflect inventory in the different stages of production. Clear signage was devised to delineate the various sections, making it more obvious not only where to file or find something, but what still needed to be done on each piece.
• The backlog of out-of-date items was greatly reduced in one big purge, which included a large amount of donations to charity and recycling. This reduced clutter and freed up space.
• Increased labeling throughout the studio helped staff know “what was what.”
The changes helped the owner run her business more efficiently and profitably, and also helped her know what type of hires she needed to concentrate on in future employees.
CASE STUDY: “New Business”
Steve had recently purchased an existing business, and was very occupied with day-to-day operations and new initiatives. Faced with a messy, crowded and non-functioning space, he quickly realized he needed an organizing specialist.
- Sort and identify paperwork, in preparation for switching the office’s record-keeping over to digital; make decisions for the company on what was necessary to keep vs. not keep.
- Clear and organize spaces so that staff could more easily function.
- Complete the above under a time crunch before a newly-hired accountant came on board.
Massive amounts of out-of-date and non-pertinent paperwork were identified and disposed of. Spaces were cleared and designated into “zones” by function. Existing supplies were utilized for containment solutions; unnecessary items were segregated for thrift store pickup. Finally, the enormous quantities of scattered office supplies were sorted, categorized and stored where employees could actually find them.
In only 4 days, the offices went from dysfunctional to functional. It did not require Steve’s involvement; most of the work was completed while he was out of the office. He recently told me “Things are going fine here, and we continue to enjoy the fruits of your organizing work!”
CASE STUDY: Brand New, Branded Office
Marie is a lovely accountant who was moving into a new office space. She is entirely digital, so she didn’t need much organization of “stuff” but she wanted a fresh start with an environment that reflected her personality. Marie wasn’t sure where to star, as she felt much more confident working with numbers than making interior choices. She needed my creative help.
• Create a warm, welcoming and happy environment for Marie to do her work and meet with clients.
• Save $ wherever possible while also reflecting Marie’s tastes and preferences.
• Maximize her small space so it wouldn’t feel cramped.
• I measured her new space and provided guidance on what kind of desk to order online, and how to get away with minimal storage furniture.
• The space was dark and rather gloomy; I suggested a much lighter paint color that immediately improved the atmosphere in the small office.
• Marie let me know that she had lots of furniture and items stored in her home’s garage—I love using something other than typical office furniture. She brought in her favorites: a vintage area rug, bedside table, mirror, artwork, small shelf and plant stands. The large, beautifully-patterned rug served as the jumping-off point for the color system for the entire office; it covered up most of the industrial carpeting and immediately warmed up the space by adding visual interest and an extra layer of cushion.
I placed the desk at an angle which made the setup much more dynamic and open-feeling, and created a client seating area just opposite it. I had suggested the bedside table as a perfect multi-purpose printer stand/office supply chest; the large mirror hung over it bounced light around the room and reflected greenery from outside. I consulted on additional artwork to purchase and transformed a too-traditional lamp by “up cycling” it with a new, contemporary patterned shade. I potted new plants for her, hung all artwork, and rigged all wiring/cables to be less unsightly. I even made some small repairs for her on the existing window blinds!
• With just an initial planning visit, a few phone calls and one “install” day, Marie went from blank, generic office space to a friendly, happy office that she was excited to work in and share with her clients. Most of all, it conveys her personality and brands her as “not your typical accountant.”
CASE STUDY: “Overloaded”
Andrea had sold her house, gotten married, given birth, moved to California and back — twice — plus purchased her new home, all in just 3 years! She had a lovely home office with great built-in storage, but her consulting business generates lots of paper trails and her family life had kept her way too busy to properly settle in. In addition, she spends many weekends at her vacation property. She was drained from not being able to “get on top of” the backlog and tired of spending money on stamps and office supplies she knew she already had but couldn’t locate. She needed my help.
- Analyze her existing filing setup and advise on any improvements. Process the many untouched piles of mail, papers and receipts.
- Go through the un-opened boxes and handle contents accordingly.
- Make suggestions for what to do with her large collection of personal and business-related books
- Designate a small section of the office solely for her husband to pay bills.
- Work together only on her “nanny coverage” days.
Andrea’s filing systems were fine, but they needed refinements. I developed systems for the different areas of her complicated life and coded everything in a way that made sense for her day-to-day operations. She now knows exactly where to put things away and can also identify at a glance what is on her desk during long, involved projects and multi-tasking.
The backlog of old papers was filed and all tax-related receipts were identified and stored in preparation for tax time. An easy solution for the husband’s bill-paying section was developed. As usual, I discovered office supplies that she could now happily utilize. Bonus: after categorizing her books, I designed and “styled” the shelves with some of her favorite keepsakes so that even though they held the same amount of books, they appeared lighter, airier, and much more visually appealing. She loved it. (Bonus #2: the final hours came in under estimate.)
Andrea now has a fully functioning home office that not only performs better, it looks better.
CASE STUDY: “Space to Support Goals”
Jeanne is a busy consultant who often travels for out-of-town presentations. She has a large office, with decent storage capacity, but her active schedule had never afforded her the time to set it up properly when she first moved in. She also had items she was intending to discard, and they were starting to take up floor space in random piles. She realized that in order for her business to truly thrive, her office space needed to fully support her ambitions in every possible way.
- Consult regarding the best ways to take advantage of her space.
- Advise/make improvements on her filing and storage systems.
- Facilitate donation/discards.
I re-vamped Jeanne’s overly-complicated filing system, teaching her how to pare it down to a core method that still worked with how her particular mind operates. A binder system was created that allowed much quicker access to her frequently-needed materials. Randomly-located office supplies were corralled, containerized and labeled, saving her time when re-loading her “presentation kit” for travel.
Jeanne was so motivated by what we accomplished in her office that she decided we would also tackle her garage. She later said “Thanks for all your help! It was actually FUN and I’m feeling really great about all the possibilities looming!”
CASE STUDY: “The Condo Combo Conundrum”
Overview: Claudia called me in a panic, two weeks before her destination wedding. She had just sub-letted her condo and was moving into fiancee Bryan’s one-bedroom condo, but time was running out. As each owned their own business, they needed the entire household — including a shared home office — to be completely functional upon their return from the honeymoon.
- Immediately transfer all remaining items from Claudia’s to Bryan’s so her renter could move in.
- Complete all work in their absence and have it turn-key ready for their return.
- Organize and set up the home office, kitchen, walk-in closet and storage in both bathrooms in a way that would intuitively work for both of them.
Combining two households usually entails duplicates. This was particularly evident in their office space; I consolidated, organized, labeled and stored their many office supplies and files in a way that would be easy and logical for them to understand and use.
As avid cooks with limited cabinet space, they needed a streamlined kitchen setup that worked hard. A hierarchy designed around the most frequently-needed items for a gourmet cook was the basis for creating storage.
With good built-ins, the bedroom’s open walk-in closet was ideal for a his/hers setup, but fine clothes are important to them and there were a lot of them! And without a door, it needed to look as good as possible. I set it up like a boutique, with the matching hangers and folded items displaying categories further sorted by color. This allowed them to easily locate an item and also choose what to wear based on mood. Bryan’s impressive collection of dress shirts became a functional and pleasing rainbow of graduated color, lending a calm air to what otherwise could have been a chaotic space. It looked like a mini-Nordstrom!
I received an appreciative phone call telling me how wonderful it was to come home after their long, tiring flight to the surprise of a serene and organized space. Mission accomplished.