Marla Alt’s friends knew she was making a good career choice as a professional organizer when they saw her closet.
“All my sweaters were color coordinated and stored in plastic bags,” Alt says. “I always ran my closet like a clothing store; I thought that’s the only way you should do it.”
Alt decided to become a solopreneur, launching 123Organize 15 years ago. In the early days, she would often bring her then-teenage son along to help. Things kicked up a notch five years later when she was hired to help a friend get ready to move.
“He was a single dad who just wasn’t going to be ready in time,” Alt says. “Basically it was being his wife through the move. I interviewed six different moving companies; it was so interesting. This was before Google and Yelp so I had to talk to each of them and learn all the ways movers approached a project.”
Today, Alt runs her business from her Rye Brook home, employing five women on the management side and picking up five to 10 contractors per client assignment. In 2020, the company worked with 100 clients in Fairfield, Westchester and Bergen counties, as well as New York City. Flat rate pricing starts at $1,000, with projects ranging from a master closet organization to a multihome move, including packing, hiring movers, moving day supervision and elite unpack service.
One of Alt’s project managers, lifelong friend Maxine Berg, just joined the team this past November to help with an ever — growing workload.
“My first on-site job was for a couple with two young children from the city. During Covid, they had stored most of their furniture and stayed with in-laws in Stamford. Then they bought a house in Chappaqua,” says Berg. “So their stuff was coming from all over the place. I was there, directing the movers and coordinating for the mom, using notes from Marla.”
After moving day, the team tackled unpack day, when all of the family’s belongings were placed in their new home. During the unpack process, Alt says she organizes everything in ways she thinks will benefit everyone in the household.
“What’s unique about our business is that because I wear every female hat — I’m a mom, a stepmom, a daughter, every female role you can play — I feel very comfortable improving people’s quality of life through organizing,” she says. “What better way to institute new habits than to start in your new home? We establish efficient systems from the
get-go that can simplify things for everyone.”
Demand for Alt’s services has gone up during Covid, thanks in large part to the New York City exodus and seller’s markets in Westchester and Connecticut, which is why she says she didn’t apply for state financial assistance.
“My business spiked. I’m a believer that if I’m blessed, I leave it for those who need it,” she says. “Some in my position still would have taken it, but it’s not who I am as a person.”
Looking into 2021, it doesn’t seem Alt’s good fortune will be abating any time soon.
“January tends to be a slower month and February is usually when we start to pick up for the spring season; this year, that’s not going to be the case at all,” she says. “We work with a lot of Realtors as sources of referral, and they all say that it’s going to be a very big shift in 2021 for people, whether they’re downsizing or leaving the area, and that shift will cover the first eight months of the year.”
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