Oh my friends, today’s post makes my little Type-A heart happy. Just looking at the photos of Whitney Holt‘s organizing projects is like a therapy session, and makes me want to clean out a closet somewhere immediately! Whitney is a Texas-based traveling organizer. Her mom says that when she was 3 she used to vary between organizing her teddy bears by height and by color to try to find the perfect way to keep them, so it’s safe to say she’s got a bit of a natural talent and inclination towards organization. Whitney’s experience as a teacher and educator, personal shopper and stylist, and real estate investor and house flipper brought her to a serendipitous place of finding ease in and passion for identifying ways to make clients’ lives and homes more streamlined with her business Streamline Professional Organizing. Find our interview with Whitney below, and keep an eye out for a special offer at the end, just for Haute in Texas readers!
Haute in Texas: What inspired your transition to a professional organizer?
Whitney Holt: Ever since I was in high school my friends and my mom’s friends would ask me to come help organize their homes and offices. I just did it because I loved it, so when I found out I could get paid for it, professional organizing officially elevated itself to dream job status! Starting your own business can be scary though, so for years I put off taking the leap. I knew I could do the organizing but I was scared of the running a business side of things. Life is messy though and you can’t always plan for everything (the irony of me saying this is not lost on me), and in the fall of 2016 I fled an abusive relationship that left me homeless, jobless, and shaken. It was in the wake of this trauma that I was scrambling to find a sense of joy and calm and to get back the confidence that was taken from me during the previous relationship. I figured if all that had stopped me from going full throttle with a professional organizing business before was the fear of failure…well, at that point life was already as scary as it could possibly get, so I took the leap and have never looked back.
HIT: What’s your take on the Marie Kondo craze sweeping the country?
WH: I love so much about the KonMarie method! What I appreciate the most is her break down of steps for getting organized- first you have to purge, then you have to group like items together, then you determine the best way to store them. It’s so simple in theory but can be hard for a lot of people to master in practice. The only place we diverge is that Marie Kondo seems pretty set that there is only one right way to do and store certain things, and in my experience there is no one size fits all answer for getting organized.
HIT: Is there one particular downfall you see people make when trying to organize their home?
WH: What I’ve seen people struggle most to implement on their own is the ridding themselves of items that they don’t love. I think Americans are very driven, but as a result we end up with all this “stuff” that represents what we think we should be and do. We hold onto a juicer because one day we’ll be the type of person to make fresh juice every morning. We hold onto the supplies to make photo albums for kids that are now 10 years older than they were when the picture collection started. We, especially as women, have been inundated with tasks that we idealize as being what the perfect wife/mother/entrepreneur/professional/woman does and these projects and items that we think are supposed to bring us joy actually just end up weighing us down. A lot of my work in client’s homes is about giving women permission to let go of the “shoulds” in their lives.
HIT: How have you seen organizing make a positive impact on someone’s life?
WH: Oh my gosh, yes. Physical clutter is emotional clutter and vice versa. To be honest, I had a hard time leaving teaching because I didn’t know how to leave behind all the validation I got from making the world a better place; I felt like I was doing something worthy with my time. When I first transitioned into professional organizing I told myself that I was going to allow myself to pursue something selfish for a little bit- to not make my sole mission about helping others- but realized after my first appointment that helping improve the lives of others is exactly what Streamline is about. In my first month of appointments I had little kids hug me and tell me they’re so happy to finally be able to see their floors and know where their toys go. I’ve had husbands and wives tell me that their marriages have improved because the constant weight of chaos and clutter that they “are going to get around to” finally allows them to be mentally and emotionally present for each other during down time. My favorite was the client that texted me two weeks after our appointment that she had broken down crying happy tears because son asked her where to find pencils to do his homework and now she actually knew where to tell him to look. She said she didn’t realize how much before they had been associating not being able to do that with being a “bad mom.” Our environments have a more profound impact on us than we realize.
HIT: Be honest: if we walked in your house right now, would it be even a little messy?
WH: I get this question a lot and it always makes me laugh. Short answer: yes, it would be a little messy. The more thoughtful response to this though is defining messy. At some point we started defining a beautiful, organized home as looking like a magazine spread for HGTV. That’s lovely and that’s ideal, but that’s not always how life works every single day. When I go to people’s homes, they tend to apologize for their kids having toys out or for the coffee cups that they’re still drinking being out on the counter. I usually just laugh and tell them that being organized doesn’t mean you can’t live in your home. Please live in your home! Being organized means that tidying up is easy and everything has a place to go instead of shoveling it all into laundry baskets and hiding it in the back of the closet.
HIT: Finally, an Haute in Texas tradition: pancakes or waffles?
WH: Waffles! With offensive amounts of butter.
Don’t you just have an itch to go clean something now?! If you were nodding your head through that entire interview like I was, you may be in need of Whitney’s services! We all have that one area of the house that always seems to allude us when it comes to organization, or perhaps life has gotten crazy and you need a whole house makeover. Whitney does it all, and there are lots of options for the full spectrum of messy. She also wants to offer Haute in Texas readers a special treat! If you mention you heard about Streamline Professional Organizing through this interview, you’ll receive 10% off a closet organization! On top of the discount, she’ll also donate any clothes you are willing to part with to Dress For Success San Antonio, a non-profit we both adore! You get a closet that’s functional and less fortunate women get a wardrobe to help them on their way to freedom. It’s a win-win!
Thanks to Whitney for taking the time to sit down with us. If you’d like to get in touch with her, you can contact her via her website by clicking here. Let’s take spring cleaning to the next level this year! Happy organizing, everyone. 🙂