Spring is here. It’s time for tidying up and letting go, both literally and figuratively. Earlier this month, we chatted with expert organizer Layne Brookshire owner of Ms. Placed Professional Organizing, about her relationships, how she organizes, and the effect it has on herself and the women around her. Ms. Placed has helped transform the lives and homes of Austinites for the last seven years. This year, she’s focused on expanding her business to include a team of organizers in Austin and launching her second location in Santa Fe, NM.
Who is your clientele?
Ms. Placed attracts clients who are looking for a luxury service top to bottom. I work primarily with women who want to streamline their lives and spaces, and who want someone to simply do it all for them. I’m drawn to helping women streamline their lives and for me, it’s just as much about the relationships we build as the spaces we organize. I love being around women who are looking to improve their lives in any way, it’s enormously gratifying to be apart of that journey. Life is enough. I want the women I work with to feel calm and refreshed in their homes and have the choice to be as involved as they want to be, or not at all
What about repeat clients?
Absolutely, organizing is never a one and done thing. I think it’s just like anything else, it requires maintenance and as our families and lives change and evolve so do our organizational needs.
What do people gain from working with Ms. Placed?
We teach our clients how to gain and keep control of their homes, and by default, also their lives. When you give someone the tools to do it themselves, the result is empowering.
Have you always been interested in organization?
Surprisingly, no, at least not as a career. Fresh out of college I took a position as a personal assistant and my first assignment was to work closely with the professional organizer hired to pack and relocate the clients estate and family. I didn’t even know professional organizing was a “thing” until that moment. Turns out, I was pretty good at organizing, the organizer asked if I would be willing to work other jobs with her and even take a few jobs on solo. I often joke that this path fell right into my lap, but what I did from there was all me.
When did you decide to start organizing professionally?
As soon as I figured out I could get paid to do something I love! Before I knew it, my clients started telling their friends and to my surprise I suddenly had a “regular clientele” strictly from word of mouth referrals.
What advice would you give to people that want to get organized?
Hire an organizer! Or at least enlist the help of a friend. 2 heads are better than one and someone else’s perspective will always make it a little easier to make decisions or let go of that thing you’ve been holding on to for 5 years longer than you really wanted to. Take everything out first. Break the big project down into a manageable tasks. Start with priorities, like the spaces you spend the most time in.
How do you deal with mental clutter?
LISTS! That’s a big one. My brain is always going so lists help me get tasks and ideas out of my brain and onto paper where I can keep everything organized. When I have all my ideas and to-do’s in 1 place I’m able to tap into the sweet spots of productivity and make sure nothing falls between the cracks!
Have you ever struggled to let go of something or someone?
Oh, yeah! I joke with clients that sometimes even organizers need an organizer. I know all the right things to say or do in my space, but sometimes I’m just as emotionally connected to an item as anyone else and I have to call up an organizer friend to help me see the light again!
When it comes to people and relationships, I’ve realized that all are not mutually energizing, and I’ve learned to release the ones that aren’t. I pour a lot of myself into the people I’ve chosen to surround myself with and I expect the same love and attention in return. In my opinion, anyone who isn’t doing that for your relationship doesn’t deserve front row seats to your life.
What items do you carry with you at all times?
A portable battery and a phone charger at all times (--no excuses). Approximately 5 different chapsticks at any given moment, headphones, and always 2-3 pads of super adhesive sticky notes. They will stick to anything! My best ideas come to me at the most random times so having those around helps me get them down on paper before they disappear. And a sharpie, always a sharpie.
What mottos/mantras do you carry with you? How do they help you?
“Choose positivity.” It’s your choice to be happy and it’s one of the few things that are completely in your power.
“Use your powers for good.” I am a bad-ass organizer. Really good, but, my actual super power is people--connecting with people, and being brave enough to be vulnerable first in order to open the space for others to follow.
“The opposite of impulse is intention.” BOOM! It’s powerful. Enough said with that one.
What is the best advice you have ever received? Given?
To give and receive: “What other people think about me is none of my business.”
If you could receive a superlative, what would it be?
Most Vulnerable, which to me is also most beautiful and brave. To cry, to laugh, to share, and to feel all the things is to be alive. To bring attention to vulnerability and embrace it, and at times praise it. To be 100% vulnerable with my heart to my clients, myself, my fears, and my big dreams is what got me to this point in the first place.