Chadderdon says Organize This!
November 18, 2006
Lynn Chadderdon is an ordinary Park City resident with an extraordinary story.
Born in Brazil while her father, an Episcopalian priest, served a mission there, Chadderdon’s story is unique from the beginning. Although she doesn’t remember Brazil, she remembers growing up in a small house in Stockton, Calif., getting good grades and wanting to be a writer.
In order to pursue her goal, she majored in English at the University of California-Berkley, one of the most prestigious colleges in the nation, but the thought of being an author didn’t last long.
After graduating she left the idea of being a writer behind and worked in several different fields: insurance broker, personal assistant to the president of a cookie company, insurance benefits coordinator, travel agent, full-time mother and teacher’s assistant, to name a few.
While working as a teacher’s assistant, she knew she wanted to be her own boss, and still be able to work only while her 8-year-old son went to school. That’s when the idea presented itself.
"When I was thinking about starting my own business I kept wondering what to do," she said. "I went to a home expo in Sandy and there was a girl there speaking who was a professional organizer. There are a lot of great ideas out there, but I thought that organizing is something I do everyday anyway."
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Chadderdon drove back to Park City and went to work on opening Organize This!, her own company, a year and a half ago. Chadderdon said before that day she didn’t even know such companies existed.
"The whole industry has sprung up over the last five or 10 years out of people’s need and necessity," she said. "People are so busy they don’t always have time to do it themselves, but it’s something that needs to be done. Being organized is extremely important."
Especially since her idea was unique to the community, Chadderdon said most of her business has come from referrals and the people she knows.
"I know a lot of people in the community because I’ve been here in Park City since 1988," she said. "It’s basically been word of mouth for me. It’s been great though. I went from corporate to being a mom to owning my own business."
She said Organize This! was started because she needed something to do during the day, but wanted to control the hours she worked. Once she found the model she liked, she was on the road to success.
"It was born out of sheer boredom and I didn’t want to work nine to five," she said. "I wanted to do something totally different that I could do on my own and on my own hours."
She said one of her favorite clients since she opened has been a single man who had part-time custody of his children and a new house. He was never home and so his house never got properly organized.
"His bedroom was upstairs, the kids’ rooms were downstairs, but other than that nothing was where it was supposed to be," she said. "Most everything was just piled into the garage, sitting under a dust cloth."
She said it took her and her sister, with whom she worked with at the time, weeks to reorganize everything in the bathroom, bedrooms, pantry, kitchen and, eventually, the garage.
"Most people have a lot more stuff than they need, which is why it’s so difficult to get organized," she said. "We sit down with our clients and prioritize what they need and what they don’t. Then we organize what’s left and take the rest to someplace like the Salvation Army or D.I."
The hardest clients, she said, are ‘pack rats’ who refuse to give anything up. One such client, an elderly woman who was downsizing from a 6,000 square-foot home to a 1,000 square-foot loft, "wouldn’t part with anything," Chadderdon said.
"She was moving from a very large home in Aspen Springs and that’s when she hired us. Even though she was moving into a much smaller space, she had so many things that she kept saying she just couldn’t get rid of. She kept saying it would be fine, but then a few weeks later she hired me to help organize her new house. It was much easier for her to part with some stuff once she saw none of it would fit."
That happens often with large houses, she said. "A lot of times when space is a huge issue people realize they don’t need this or that and they ask themselves why they’ve hung on to stuff for so long."
Despite the fact she helps people decide what "extras" to part with, Chadderdon rarely suggests a garage sale and hardly ever suggests throwing useable items in the trash.
"Unless they want to garage sale, we generally do a ton of donations, especially to the Catholic church because they’re right here," she said. "I think it’s a win-win because those organizations are charitable and donations are tax deductible. It also makes the homeowner feel good because they are doing something for the community and helping others. And garage sales are a big pain I hate working them, but that’s just my personal preference."
Chadderdon said almost every home or business has things they could do with without. She has done numerous private residences, but also works with business owners to organize their stores or offices. She has worked for Super Dollar, Elevation as well as first and second homes.
She also does "home staging," which is making a lived-in home look like a model home before selling it.
"It makes it look like a model home so it doesn’t feel like you’re walking through someone else’s house," she said. "It can be much easier to sell it that way, but it’s very hard to do, especially in your own home."
Organize This! can be reached at (435) 640-1133.