Ask The Pros Series - Cloud Nine Organizing

Ask The Pros Series

The world of Professional Organizing has so many niches and specialties, and I got to “ask the pros” a few questions!

I interviewed 4 professionals who are experts in the world of decluttering, but who help their clients in very different ways. I am excited to introduce you to these wonderful women!

Lisa Zawrotny with Positively Productive Systems helps her clients by focusing on productivity and gratitude.

Ask the pros

CN: Lisa, can you explain to everyone exactly what a productivity coach does and how you can help others live their best lives?

LISA: I help chronically overwhelmed clients replace stress with success through simplifying, self-care, and self-actualization. I teach them to declutter their lives inside and out and develop customized systems and habits meant for their personality and values.

CN: What inspired you to become a productivity coach?

LISA: For years I have had a passion for how productivity can bring the efficiency that allows us to live more and be more instead of doing more! When I began as a professional organizer, I could see immediately how the head and heart are the key to all our decisions…of decluttering, prioritizing, creating habits…everything we do. I decided to obtain my life coach certification so I could serve my clients fully.

CN: You teach others how to use gratitude (so important!) Can you explain how having a grateful heart improves productivity and overall-well being?

LISA: I have seen an incredible link between stress and reduced productivity. When we are stressed, we struggle to have energy and focus and to make proper choices. Gratitude combats stress. It is an incredible power habit that high achievers use consistently. The most exciting part is that studies are proving this! Positivity psychology research is backing up what many have known for some time.

CN: If you had to pick, what is your NUMBER ONE favorite productivity tip?

LISA: No question, it’s the 80/20 principle. It means that 20% of our efforts create 80% of our results. Focusing on the 20% that gives the most results is the best use of our time and makes us more productive.

CN: Just for fun, What is your favorite thing to organize and why? 

LISA: Offices; I work with many entrepreneurs and I think helping someone in the place they are going to create a business and make a difference in this world is so satisfying. Plus, paper and digital clutter are their own special challenges and I love taking an innovative and personal approach to those.

Susie Buck, Inner Light Engineer is a space clearing expert.

Susie Buck


CN: Susie, can you explain to everyone what space clearing is?

SUSIE: Space clearing is the act of intentionally shifting the “air” to energetically match the purpose in which the space is intended to be used.

Space clearing can actually occur passively, without the occupants even realizing they are shifting their environment’s energy. For example, when a family moves into a house there is a natural impulse to “make it their own.” The family will rearrange their stuff, claim their own personal spaces and share common areas. Over time, the energy will shift to match the dynamics of that family. This is considered passive space clearing.

Space clearing can also be done actively with a space clearing ritual. This goes much deeper than passive space clearing because there is intention behind the energy shifts.

CN: Is active space clearing something anyone can do or do you need special training?

SUSIE: Everyone who organizes and cleans is a space clearer, but it goes so much deeper than simply moving stuff around. There are special trainings and amazing books on how to learn to clear space on a deeper and more sacred level. Having an expert guide you through it the first few times gives you a better understanding of the process and the intentions. After that, you will be the expert of your own space and the energy it holds.

CN: What benefits would someone notice after doing space clearing?

SUSIE: Using space clearing can bring creative energy to your hobbies and tasks such as crafts, writing, cooking, etc. Space clearing can also increase abundance and productivity, if that’s the intention you put behind it. It can even boost romance!

CN: For fun, what is your favorite way to de-stress?

SUSIE: Believe it our not, it’s the same concept I use for space clearing —  I pay attention to my stressors and chose my activity accordingly.

I like to break-up the energy: I “angry clean” when I have family-related stress or take a walk when the stress is not family-related.

I organize/declutter: Sometimes, I rearrange furniture or a closet. Getting rid of physical blockages and replacing them with either emptiness or moving items in a methodical way to support and help me focus on what I am trying to achieve.

Support: I also have several “tribes” I turn to when I get stuck.

Cita Sue Cox is the owner of Red Boots Photo Organizing and specializes in organizing and heirlooming photographs.

Ask the pros

CN: How long have you been organizing photographs for people and what inspired you to get into this specialized field?

CITA SUE: After only two years as a professional organizer, I discovered photo organizing and have been helping people with their memories for eight years now. I have had several different “careers” over the years: court reporter, wife and mom, corporate computer industry, retail business owner, professional organizer. Organizing, planning, time management, diagnosing and solving problems, computer skills, helping people, running a business, detail-oriented, importance of having things in order were all a part of my life – so what was missing? My passion of photos!! So when I discovered photo organizing, I found the perfect fit!

CN: Many people have a hard time letting go of old photographs. Can you give us some basic guidelines to follow that would make this less painful?

CITA SUE: Just like organizing anything, gathering like items in one place helps you really see what you have and how many. This helps in the culling down process. You may end up with several copies of the same photo or just way too many of one person. Pick the top best to keep and scan. It is then easier to not keep them all. It is difficult for most people to actually trash photos, especially the ancestral ones. Letting them go is much easier if you are not trashing but passing on. Find someone else in the family to share them with. Sometimes you discover they don’t have any photos of that ancestor and are thrilled to get one.

CN: Photo organizing can be a HUGE task to tackle on your own, so what is one piece of advice would you give someone who is trying to organize their own photographs?

CITA SUE: Like any big project, it is best to break it down into small steps. It is less overwhelming and easier to tackle. Making a list of each step will help you know what needs to be done. Block out time on your calendar regularly for photo organizing (make appointments with yourself and do your best to stick to it). It is satisfying to see the progress you are making as you mark off each step on your photo organizing list!

CN: So many of us have digital pictures because of smart phones. What is your advice for organizing, decluttering and storing all the pictures we take daily?

CITA SUE: Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance!! Always take the time to do maintenance of your phone photos — number one: be sure they are being backed up and you know how to get to them, pick the best and get rid of the duplicates quickly after they are taken. Set aside time regularly to organize and group them in folders on your computer.

CN: For fun. what is your favorite thing to organize and why?

CITA SUE: I enjoy closets. It is one area of the home where you see the results pretty quickly so it is rewarding and helps people with their daily routine. I also love organizing jewelry — it always look so beautiful when organized!

Reanna Wallace with Blissfully Organized specializes in organizing life transitions such as moving and relocation.

Reanna Strange

CN: What is the first step in getting organized before a big move?

REANNA: A good starting point is to create a timeline, to-do list and start purging.

CN: What prep-work do you suggest homeowners do before you come into their homes to help them downsize or move?

REANNA: General Move : I always encourage our clients to begin the purging process prior to our arrival. If their house has not yet been listed, purging helps tremendously when it comes time for staging and pictures. Purging also helps prep areas for the packing process.

Downsizing : Same as a general move, I suggest purging as well as making a list of larger items that are going to be donated or given to a friend or family member.

CN: What is the number 1 piece of advice you’d give senior citizens looking to downsize and move into a much smaller living space?

REANNA: I usually suggest that they compile a list of items that they’d like to give to family members and/or friends (china, heirloom furniture, genealogy research, etc.). Once an agreement has been made, I also suggest they provide a deadline date for the family and/or friends to collect their gifts.

CN: For fun, what is your favorite thing to organize and why?

Wardrobe – clothes, shoes, accessories. I think I enjoy organizing these items mostly because of the excitement — transforming a cluttered closet into a blissful boutique like experience. Creating a system // flow helps make the dreaded task of putting away laundry, less painful.


Crystal Nerpel

And in case you are wondering, my specialty and passion is to teach people how to get and stay organized. I focus mostly on working with people through online organizing consultations. I also love helping people get their Ducks In A Row by getting vital documents and information easily organized and accessible.

If you have any specific questions about how Cloud Nine Organizing can help you get organized you can contact me here.