Interview with Professional Organizer Barb Eimer

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Barb Eimer

It is my pleasure to introduce Barb Eimer of Settle Down. Barb helps people in Northern Indiana prepare for and get organized after moving, as well as traditional organizing.

Barb has gone through some exciting changes since we connected several years ago, so I invited her to share her story.

Barb, welcome to Your Organizing Business! How did you come up with your business name?

My first business was Yikes Organizing with a tagline of Lose the Clutter – Not Your Mind and I wanted this name to also convey kind of a fun message. It could mean Settle Down like “I’m going to help you settle into your new place” or SETTLE DOWN! as in “Don’t go too crazy, I can help you with your stuff.”

How has your business changed since you first started out?

I started out organizing homes in Nashville, then changed the business when I went on the road and also organized RVs, and now I’m back to home organization. The focus on moves is also new.

How and why did you transition from organizing homes in Tennessee to organizing RVs?

I switched from organizing homes to organizing RVs when we took to the road in the summer of 2017. My mother passed away over Christmas 2015 and my dad on Christmas Day 2016 and six months later I just found myself needing to do something different. So, my husband, bless his heart, agreed to sell our stuff and buy an RV. We had only ever tent camped before, and this was before kids, so it was quite an adventure. We saw 47 states in about three years. It was a lot of fun and I got to winter in southern CA, which I highly recommend!

When we would stay in one spot for a month or more, I would just get the word out that I was a professional organizer and several people had me organize their RVs for them. I also did some regular home organizing in southern CA during the winters.

How did you end up in Indiana? How does life there compare to Nashville?

My husband and I ended up in Indiana this past May because we were getting a little tired of living in 300 square feet. We have six grown children and three live in Fort Wayne, IN, so Indiana was a natural spot to settle. Also, it’s my hometown and we have three young grandkids here.

It’s different from Nashville in a few ways. The good news is that the cost of living is WAY less in Indiana. The bad news is that the weather is quite a bit colder, and professional organizers are a lot less known. I’ve informally polled quite a few people since moving back and most are totally clueless as to what I do unless they have seen the show, The Home Edit or are familiar with Marie Kondo.

What would you do differently if you were starting your business today?

As I am basically starting my business over in a new city, I can’t answer this question. I’m still doing the same things now that I did in 2012 when I first started Yikes. I’m trying to build a great website, network and build my business one step at a time.

How do you approach a new organizing project?

I do a free 30-minute on site consultation. I take notes and listen to what the client is saying and what he/she is saying in between the lines. I typically don’t give time estimates on how long a project will take until I have worked with them once, as people have wildly different speeds as to how fast they can sort and part with things.

What’s your favorite organizing product? Why?

I love the divided Lazy Susan that The Container Store sells. They are all great but the one with sides is amazing. I have one in my refrigerator, but they are great in pantries too. I also love the sweater box and the deep sweater box from TCS. There are so many uses for both of those items and the clear lid is fabulous!

What professional associations or other organizations do you belong to?

I’m a member of Faithful Organizers.

Can you tell us a bit about Faithful Organizers?

I just joined a few weeks ago so I don’t know a whole lot about them.

I wanted to join a group of like-minded professionals, but rejoining NAPO is expensive and there are no local groups in my area. I know I can join the virtual organizer group and, truthfully, rejoining NAPO is a goal for 2021, but I thought this organization would also have like-minded women in it. (And maybe men too? Although I’m not sure I have ever met a guy who did this. I think they are kind of rare!)

Wow, that is a very long answer to a very short question! Basically, Faithful Organizers are Christian women who meet to encourage each other in their faith and in their organizing careers.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve discovered about running an organizing business?

That often I’m thinking: Sure it looks so much better, but if you had matching baskets (or whatever my Pinterest version of their home would look like) it would be perfect, and almost always they don’t want or need perfect, they just want manageable. They just want order. They just want all the junk gone.

I have to continually tell myself if they are happy with the end result, I am happy with the end result.

What is the biggest challenge you currently face in your business?

Starting over in a town that is much smaller than Nashville.

At what moment did you consider yourself successful?

Oh, that’s a good question! I set a very high bar for myself so I’m not sure I would say that even yet. But when I passed my CPO exam that was a big moment.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years I see myself still in Indiana but hopefully spending six weeks in a warmer climate during the winter. I hope to have solidified my customer base here and maybe even have a few employees. I would like to recertify and get my CPO designation again. I would like to be the premier organizer in northeast Indiana.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I love to read and play tennis and pickleball. I love hanging out with my grandkids.

What else should we know about you?

The best thing about growing older is that you can reinvent yourself. I wrote my first book when I was 44 and started my first company at 49. If I could share one tip with someone younger, it would be: don’t let fear keep you from trying something new. I truly feel like failure is just a part of life and I don’t regret doing things that ultimately haven’t worked out like I planned.

Thanks, Janet, for giving me the opportunity to express myself in this way. It’s always fun to stop and take a moment to see where I have been and where I am going.

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"Don't let fear keep you from trying something new." Read an interview with Barb Eimer on Your Organizing Business

 

This is my last organizer interview for this year, but if you’d like to be featured in 2021, simply fill out this questionnaire. My readers and I would love to get to know you better!

Gravatar mystery man

A former professional organizer, I'm now a Website Design and Care Specialist. I love helping others succeed by sharing the knowledge and insight I’ve gained through marketing my own business for over 15 years! When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

Gravatar mystery man

A former professional organizer, I'm now a Website Design and Care Specialist. I love helping others succeed by sharing the knowledge and insight I’ve gained through marketing my own business for over 15 years! When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

21 Comments

  1. Avatar Seana Turner on November 11, 2020 at 2:39 pm

    Love reading with interview with a fellow Faithful Organizer here! Barb’s story is so interesting, and it is a joy to hear about the journey others in this profession have taken. Particularly noteworthy to me is how diverse our experiences have been, even though we ended up working in similar realms. Another terrific read, Janet!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on November 13, 2020 at 6:05 am

      Thanks, Seana! I’m glad you enjoyed the interview.

    • Avatar Barb Eimer on November 16, 2020 at 3:59 pm

      So fun to hear from another FO organizer! I hope we can connect there virtually. Like I said, I just joined but look forward to “meeting” more of my fellow P.O.s online!

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

  2. Avatar Julie Bestry on November 12, 2020 at 1:22 am

    So lovely to get introduced to Barb this way. I know a few POs who have done RV organizing, starting it organically when they took to tin-can living, but Barb is the first I know of who came back to regular residential organizing. We’ll miss her in the state of Tennessee, but our loss in Indiana’s gain! (And yes, that Lazy Susan rocks!)

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on November 13, 2020 at 6:06 am

      It sounds like a pretty amazing lifestyle! Not for me, I don’t think, but I sure admire those who do it.

    • Avatar Barb Eimer on November 16, 2020 at 4:02 pm

      Hi Julie!

      I recognize your name from my days in NAPO! Thanks so much for reading this article and commenting.

      Janet did my website back when I was Yikes Organizing and it was fun to reconnect with her. I actually still have several clients in the Nashville area that I work with when I go back to visit my daughter. What city are you in?

      • Avatar Julie Bestry on November 17, 2020 at 3:03 pm

        I’m still in Chattanooga. I’ll wave up the highway to you the next time you’re back in the Volunteer State!

        • Avatar Barb Eimer on November 18, 2020 at 11:08 am

          I thought that’s where you were. I have never been there but have heard it’s a beautiful city. Will definitely be looking for the wave! 🙂

  3. Avatar Julie Stobbe on November 16, 2020 at 8:07 am

    I love hearing about another Professional Organizer’s journey. I worry about starting my business over with a new focus. It is good to hear her story and learn about her bravery. I approached my husband to do RV travel/work for 9 months and it was a definite no. I still hope to do it in the future. Good luck in Indiana.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on November 16, 2020 at 1:37 pm

      Do you know Salma Burney? She and her husband did it for about that long. Having a virtual business allowed her to carry on during their travels.

    • Avatar Barb Eimer on November 16, 2020 at 4:07 pm

      Hi Julie,

      I didn’t even know anyone was reading this until Janet just gave me a head’s up. Oops! You all (or should I say y’all!) really made my day with your comments. If there is one thing I have learned in this business, it’s that my fellow organizers are a wonderful group of people!

      I hope you get to do the RV thing at some point, but there is no rush! I had grand ideas about working with a big company like Winnebago to help them make better designed RVs but…well, let’s just say that I’m not the world’s best marketer! I do think there is so much potential though to make them more organizationally efficient. Okay, I’m starting to ramble but I just wanted to take the time to comment back to everyone who was so kind as to read my little story.

      The best to you!

      Barb

  4. Avatar Diane N Quintana on November 16, 2020 at 8:48 am

    Lovely interview, Janet.

    • Avatar Barb Eimer on November 16, 2020 at 4:08 pm

      Thanks Diane for reading my story! I appreciate everyone who read it and took the time to comment. It’s fun to share and I’m excited to hear other’s stories in this format!

      • Avatar Janet Barclay on November 17, 2020 at 12:44 pm

        Scroll down to see a few more intereviews, or click on Organizer Interviews in the dark blue menu at the top for even more!

  5. Avatar Sabrina Quairoli on November 16, 2020 at 10:12 am

    Your journey is inspiring! I love reading these interviews. It is also inspiring for me that the journey does not stop when we get older. Thank you for sharing. Good luck in Indiana.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on November 16, 2020 at 1:38 pm

      No reason it should, as long as we’re healthy in body and mind! One of my clients recently turned 78 and has no desire to retire in the foreseeable future.

    • Avatar Barb Eimer on November 16, 2020 at 4:12 pm

      Hi Sabrina!

      Okay, I’m running out of interesting comments but wanted to thank everyone for reading. Yes, I hope to be going strong ten years from now but I’m wondering if I could maybe hire a few people by then to do the heavy lifting! LOL

      Who knows what tomorrow will even bring (especially in these times) but I was blessed that you all enjoyed my story! Thanks again for your comments and best of luck to you as well!

      Barb

  6. Avatar Linda Samuels on November 16, 2020 at 11:17 am

    What an inspiring interview! I can’t decide if I’m more blown away by being on the road for three years, organizing RVs, re-creating your organizing business, or your attitude of continual learning and experimenting. You mentioned your high bar of success, but from this view, your life seems full, wonderful, and succesful. Thank you for sharing your energy, passion, and inspiration with us.

    • Avatar Melanie on November 16, 2020 at 1:24 pm

      Such a unique story! Owning a business like this is difficult but Barb shows how to succeed and create your own opportunities. Very inspiring, thanks for sharing.

      • Avatar Barb Eimer on November 16, 2020 at 4:30 pm

        Hi Melanie,

        Thanks for writing. I’m so glad this inspired you. As I was just sharing with Linda, on hard days it’s good to take a step back and see how far you have come. I really appreciate you and everyone who took the time to comment. (Do you think maybe Janet has secretly gotten rid of all the ones who said, “That lady is a total NUT!”) LOL

        Enjoy the holidays, as much as anyone can!

        Barb

    • Avatar Barb Eimer on November 16, 2020 at 4:27 pm

      Linda!!

      Thanks so much for your comments. I feel like Sally Fields when she won the Oscar (Oldylocks alert!) and she said, “You really like me!” or something like that. Sometimes I wonder if I am making a difference and it takes stepping back a minute to see that what I’m doing is important. I’m so grateful that I encouraged you in some way!

      I love my organizer family and am continually blown away by the quality of people who choose this as a career. Over the years, I have been blessed and encouraged by the women in NAPO Nashville, and I hope I can pass that along to others.

      Well, the writer in me is just getting started, but I better keep this to one page! LOL

      Thanks again for writing. I’m keeping a copy of your reply in my file so on days when I’m discouraged I can remember the bigger picture!

      Barb

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