Herndon home organizer shares tips of the trade
Jackie Johnson spends her days gladly digging through and finding a place for other people’s possessions. She runs the highly-rated organization company The Or/gan/iz/er from her Herndon, Va., home. “I like teaching people how to do things a little easier, a little better,” the mother of five professional organizer says. “I try to reuse and recycle the majority of things they have.”
Johnson spent 15 years teaching preschool as well as a decade in interior design. She combined those two professions in 2005 when she started her home organization business. She divided her company’s name by syllables to emphasize the meaning. Play areas have become her niche room to organize. “It’s just like setting up a classroom,” she says. “While organizing, I’m reminding parents to set up a place for them to put backpacks and notebooks, just like at school.”
Owner Jackie Johnson of Herndon, Va., founded the company in 2005 and earned the Super Service Award in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Member Melinda Babione hired Johnson to organize her Sterling, Va., home. “I made a New Year’s resolution to organize my house, and a year went by, and I didn’t do it,” Babione says. “The first time I met with her, we focused on my kitchen. Since then, we have systematically gone through every room in my house.”
Babione worked side by side with Johnson cleaning or sorting. “I will admit it takes work to maintain it,” Babione says. “It took me awhile to get used to putting stuff away in new places.”
Johnson, who charges $75 per hour and requires a minimum three hours work, first talks to clients about their goals for the room. “I try to use words to help them remember to put the same thing in one place such as the sporting center or the gift center,” Johnson says. “By giving names to the different areas I organize, people can remember how to use something and put it back.”
Johnson, a National Association of Professional Organizers member, also enjoys volunteer work. She donates shoes for Soles4Souls and collects items and organizes fundraising events for the Fisher House Foundation, which houses military families while loved ones recover from injuries.
After inheriting his parents’ home, Bill Suite of Bethesda, Md., wanted trim installed in the kitchen but needed to clear countertops. He became an Angie’s List member to find an organizer. “She held things up like pots and said, ‘I think this has seen better days,’” he says. “She put labels on cupboards and drawers. Having these things put in their place allows me to cook faster.”
Suite says he comes from a family of artists. “Some are organized, and some work out of chaos,” Suite says. “I come out of the chaos, and I’m trying to be organized. You can’t just live in clutter. It’s a fire hazard.”
The Super Service Award recognizes contractors and health care providers that have maintained a stellar service rating on Angie’s List throughout the past year. Be sure to always check the List before hiring, however, as ratings can and do change.