Let’s face it: Not everyone keeps a tidy home. We’re not talking hoarding, but rather managing everyday items in an orderly fashion. Not everyone has a knack for it. The intent might be there, but the execution . . . that’s another story. And, during the pandemic, when many were forced to work from home, the clutter built up as we did everything in the same footprint. The need for a professional organizer may never be greater.
Laura Ahrens and Eva Cruz, two friends who share a penchant for organizing — not to mention a hometown of the Canary Islands in Spain — decided the time was right to offer up their skills. Thanks to the pandemic, the friends found themselves both living full-time in Sag Harbor, where they happened to meet five years ago when they recognized each other’s native accents and struck up a conversation.
Aside from a keen ear, they discovered they both had an eye for beautifying a space by creating orderliness tailored specifically for it. They use their creativity to make a space aesthetically pleasing, but also functional. Some may consider it an art form, a talent or even a craft. Where most of us look at chaos and get overwhelmed, these two find enjoyment in finding the order by rearranging and sifting through what has outlived its usefulness for one reason or another.
While working as an assistant of the Spanish Diplomatic Corps at the United Nations, Ahrens organized archives. Diplomats she knew even hired her to organize their houses. It’s when she realized, “Oh gosh that’s what I like to do.”
Cruz, who moved to the Hamptons in 2016, has a passion for do-it-yourself projects and realized she had an underlying talent for finding the charm in any space.
“It comes natural to us,” says Cruz. “We get excited when we see that we can improve the way someone lives with the magic of organization. It’s such a relief to see each thing where it belongs, when everything has its own place.”
Through their business, Professional Organizers of The Hamptons, both ladies hope to create harmonious living and work spaces for others. They say they believe a well-organized space not only makes for a more peaceful environment but a more efficient one.
They usually begin with a complimentary consultation, either virtually or in person, where they listen to the client’s needs and concerns. Then, they create a custom organizing system and await the client’s approval. They will either shop for the client or send them the links for any organizing supplies needed. Then the fun stuff begins — the hard work, that is — and leaving the client with a newly structured space.
What may be fun for them can be upsetting for the client. Giving up possessions is difficult. Their clients mostly struggle with bidding farewell to items that belonged to parents or grandparents and discarding what children left behind before leaving the nest, they say.
“Clients often feel guilty about letting go of those items that they don’t want or like but are connected to a person who is not around anymore,” Ahrens says. “We help them to understand there is nothing wrong about letting go of those items, that their legacy remains intact in their memory, not in something material.”
Giving up luxury brand items, like designer bags and clothes, also tends to be difficult.
“Our clients often feel that they have to keep them, even if they will sit in a closet forever,” she explains.
They work with consignment stores, both local and online, as well as nonprofits. They encourage clients to donate whenever possible.
“Most ofd the time people feel better knowing someone else will use it. We help them with that process, grieving their belongings,” says Ahrens.
“People sometimes don’t even know that this service exists or that they need it,” Cruz says. Once they do, it can be life-changing, she says. “They discover little by little places in their home that need a system to function and to look better.”
So far the rooms that have been most requested to be reorganized are pantries and playrooms, especially those that are doubling as spaces for homeschooling.
“Especially here in the Hamptons, because a lot of people have their summer houses and their pantries were not prepared to be used for more than for the summer weekends,” Ahrens says. “All the people went to Costco when things were really bad in March [and now] because their pantries are overflowing.”
Basements, closets and mudrooms — three spaces that become catch-alls — are also the focus of a lot of their clients. The organizers will look to use what the clients have on hand already.
“Sometimes we go to someone’s house and they have a lot of baskets and bins which is great,” Cruz says.
Their business is not just about coming in and organizing clutter you can see, but also digitally organization too.
They also work with moving — plenty of which has gone on during the pandemic when people gave up their pieds-à-terre.
“When people move into their new house it’s really nice to have everything in their place already,” says Ahrens.
They prefer to work with people before the movers arrive, however. It is more cost-effective to downsize before a move, that way everything that arrives at the new house is what you actually need, they say.
Professional Organizers of The Hamptons charges $280 for the first three hours, then $80 for both ladies each additional hour.
“We always go in teams of two,” Ahrens says. “We work faster, and when you work inside people’s homes it is good to be out of their way as fast as possible, especially if you’re working in areas of the house that need to be used frequently like kitchen, bathrooms…”
Also, “Four eyes sees more than two,” Cruz says.