Professional organiser quit her corporate job and now makes $100k a year de-cluttering strangers’ houses
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Meet the professional organiser who quit her corporate job earning $28,000 to make $100,000 a year clearing “chronic clutter” - having helped more than 1,000 clients. Kayleen Kelly, 37, has always been fascinated by clearing out and transforming spaces.
As a little girl, she realised she had a talent for organising and decided her calling was to help others after failing to climb the corporate ladder. Kayleen quit her corporate job as a customer service agent to make her side hustle her full-time career in April 2014 - and has since gone on to transform the homes of 1,000 clients.
She endorses her ‘core four’ method which entails clearing out, categorising, cutting out and containing items. Kayleen specialises in ‘chronic clutter’ - habitual and out-of-control mess - and helps hoarders in person and online transform their homes by helping them clear out.
Kayleen, who is from Florida in the US, said: "When I was growing up, I wasn’t in control of many things, but organising became a hyper-focus for me to control my environment - it made me feel safe. Clutter does not discriminate, it doesn’t matter what your background is or the size of your home.
"I work with real people with real homes - often Instagram homes are all smoke and mirrors. Leaving my full time job was the best decision I ever made."
Kayleen started Kayleen Kelly Home Organizing & Redesign in April 2014 and quit her full time job in January 2015. In her first year she grinded to make $40k.
Now she earns $100k a year, working just 23 hours a week and has three staff members to help her. She said: "I apply the core four method to every single project - when you have an unorganised space everything gets mixed together. You have to work through a room, one tile at a time, it’s like a puzzle game."
Kayleen swears by the ‘core four’ which is a four-step process to declutter. She first clears out room by room, categorises everything by item, then uses the three-second rule to confidently clear clutter and contain everything that remains.
Kayleen said: "Start by targeting things that don’t belong in that space and moving them to their appropriate space. For example, move things from your bedroom that belong in the bathroom or kitchen.
"Start with one room and one space at a time." Step two is to categorise, the professional sorter explained.
She said: "Categorise everything into small categories such as clothing and then break it down into even smaller subcategories - such as tops, bottoms, undergarments, shoes and accessories. You can then break things down into smaller categories for example for tops you have tees, sweaters, tanks and heavy knits."
Kayleen then implements the three-second rule to quickly clear spaces. She said: "Look at one item at a time and give yourself three seconds to make a decision.
"If you hesitate for more than three seconds, keep it and you can circle back. It’s the easiest way to make progress and make quick and confident decisions from your gut."
According to Kayleen, the final step is to contain - finding a space to keep all the remaining belongings. She said: "The last step is creating a system that makes sense to you.
"You can lay out and find what works for you, it doesn’t have to be beautiful or pretty all of the time. Life is messy and we already have so much pressure, Instagram homes can be very misleading. What I do is all about functionality not form."
Kayleen worked with an elderly couple for two years to sort their chronic clutter and made sure they weren’t evicted from their home. She said: "My second client was a woman who sounded very nervous, and I went to see her.
"It was a retired couple and they had moved from a 3,500 square foot home to a 600 square foot apartment. All of their lights were off and there was a strong odour.
"They were buried in clutter, and they were about to be kicked out. I worked with them for two years and helped them live comfortably in a clean home to enjoy their animals and space."
Kayleen’s top tips for decluttering using the ‘Core Four’ method
1. Clear-out - target things that don’t belong in that room and move them to their correct home
2. Categorise - break your items into smaller categories such as clothing and then into smaller sub-categories
3. Cut out - use the three second rule to keep or delete your items
4. Contain - choose storage solutions to house what remains