How I Started Home Organizing Company Simplify Experts

Denise Allan owner of Simplify Experts.

My journey toward starting Simplify Experts began in 2007. I was looking to make a change in my career.  I had been running auctions for non-profits and feeling burned out.  I had some flexibility in my mornings and became aware that I was planning my cardio machine workouts at my gym at the time that the organizing shows were on HGTV.  I was hooked on the shows Mission Organization and Clean Sweep with organizer Peter WalshIt was at a goofy 10:30 am time and I was taking multiple showers (highly inefficient for me) but I was intrigued by the relationships formed with the organizer and the before-and-after photos.  Sometimes I would linger in the dressing room for a few minutes to make sure I caught the after photo.  The whole thing is really laughable, as almost the only television I ever watch is at the gym.  We have only one TV in our home and it’s far away in the basement (I’m not even sure how to change the channels).

I was more than a little intrigued and started to research professional organizing as a career.  Being organized is an innate part of my being. I knew my learning style needed an in-person format; I did not want an online option.  I had faith that I could start my own business after seeing my husband and his business partner launch a fantasy football magazine 20 years earlier. The Internet led me to the Organizing Academy in Portland (now known as the Professional Organizers Training Institute).  It included three days of intensive training.  It was the beginning of stepping out of my normal routine, taking exciting and nerve-wracking first steps.  I was totally jazzed by Anne Blummer’s training, and launched Simplify with Denise in May 2007.  Anne recommended that I think carefully about the name, and perhaps with building my business in the future, the name Simplify with Denise might limit me.  (How insightful was that? I needed to rebrand to Simplify Experts seven years later.)  I stood firm and had a very bright quilt block logo designed so that clients could easily find my business card in a stack of papers.

My very first client was a referral from my hairdresser, and I charged $20 per hour.  I was so nervous before client sessions that I could not sleep.  I carried so many supplies back then; I wanted to be prepared for anything.  I had multiple sizes of plate hangers (should anyone need to have a plate hung on the wall), six different sizes of plastic baggies, and hanging folders in every color and size.  I think I walked in with more weight in supplies then weight of donations I removed.

Fast forwarding nine years, I have accumulated hundreds of hours of classes and logged over 10,000 hours of client work.  I am still giddy that I am in this profession. I am thrilled to drive to work everyday and love the variation of the great people I support. I am proud of the Simplify Experts team.  Thank you to the moon and back.

My team has shared their stories of how they became professional home organizers. Read more about Amy, Pam, Alicia, Jessica, Paula and Vlasta.