Home Fairfield Startup seeks to declutter people’s homes and lives

Startup seeks to declutter people’s homes and lives

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Angelique Joseph is a woman with a mission: bringing order from chaos, whether in a clutter-heavy home or a disorganized office.

“It’s just something I’ve always done,” said Joseph, whose Ridgefield-based startup business The Organizing Angel provides organizing and concierge services for companies and individuals. “I was always a motherly type, even when I was a kid, and I always loved organizing people and helping people.”

Angelique Joseph. Photo by Phil Hall

Some people, it seems, need more help than others when trying to get their offices, workspaces or residences into a state of order. From a business perspective, Joseph warned that a seemingly disorganized professional environment can send the wrong message to any prospective client paying an office visit.

“If you are in a creative environment, no one will really mind a little bit of clutter because that’s the artistic process,” she explained. “But if you take care of a lot of paperwork — say, you are an insurance broker or work in a hospital environment — then it is a very, very bad sign. If you walk into your doctor’s office and see files all over the place and all over the floor, the first concern would be, ‘How are they keeping my records straight?’ It raises the question, ‘If you can’t file properly, how can you service my needs properly?’”

Joseph launched The Organizing Angel in January after working for 15 years in the administrative aspect of the advertising industry. During those years, she was repeatedly called on to help in organizing a variety of tasks, including setting up computers and helping assist in a home clean-up project after a colleague heard about her ability to declutter the most challenging environments.

Joseph offered a good-natured laugh when asked to confirm the old saying equating a messy desk with a great mind. “It depends on the person,” she explained. “There are a lot of people who become calm in chaos, where they can see a lot of clutter but know where everything is. Most people are not (calm in chaos) — just as most people are not as good at multitasking as they think they are. Most people need to be able to focus on one thing at a time — they need to have some form of order. When most people have a chaotic desk, it is a sign they do not have the greatest time management, or it is a sign of being stressed or overworked or not prioritizing things properly.”

She added that, mercifully, this is not an incurable condition. “Most people are organized — it’s just about learning how,” Joseph said. “The reason a lot of people are considered ‘sloppy’ is because we are all busy, now more than ever, and we get to things when we can get to things. One of the things about becoming more organized is making it more efficient for you. Being organized isn’t one size fits all.”

For a residential client, Joseph created a mini-game that involves the homeowner being given five minutes to identify and gather objects that have not been touched in a year, and then being asked to consider whether the objects can be donated, sold or trashed.

“It helps a lot of people to become more organized when there is an action plan, not just a matter of ‘I have to clean up this living room,’” she said.

But there are situations that require a more holistic touch, particularly when Joseph deals with clients who are hoarders.

“For the outside person looking in, it might seem scary,” Joseph admitted, although she noted that solving an extreme case can only be achieved by understanding how it transpired. Are they hoarding because they are having difficult letting things go? Or because they feel everything they have has value? Or because they want to clean up but are afraid the neighbors will see the process of cleaning up and will know they were hoarders — and they are so afraid of what the neighbors will say?

Since starting her business, Joseph has built a client base that is primarily in New York state and California, and her billing is tailored to the specific projects. Her services also extend to house sitting, pet sitting and event planning. At the moment, she is operating The Organizing Angel service by herself, and she said that any potential employees would have to be on her “wavelength.”

“For me, it is important that person I hire shares my ideals when it comes to my clients,” she said. “I love helping people. It is about them trusting me enough let me into their homes and businesses.”

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