We all know that feeling – searching unsuccessfully through the drawer for a pair of scissors only later to find three at the bottom of another drawer; or purchasing that pair of shoes, only to realize months later that you already own a similar pair that have been sitting in the back of the closet, unworn and forgotten.
Having a disorganized space can be frustrating and sometimes even expensive, but Jamie Purnell, founder of Adorn Your Space, can transform even the most cluttered residential or office space into a place of efficiency and function.
A native of Cleveland, OH, where she played on the Cleveland State University volleyball team, Jamie moved to Abilene in early 2021 with her family; and although she loves her new city, the mother of two young children admits to having had a “bit of an identity crisis.”
“My husband is in the military as are both my brothers, so I understand that moving comes with the territory,” she said. “At the time though, my career was on an upward trajectory, so when we got to Abilene I began asking myself, ‘what am I good at?’”
Jamie, whose professional career began in college athletics, and later in student affairs in California, said she’s always had a knack for organizing and enjoys helping family and friends make the most out of their spaces. So with the support of her husband, she took the required steps to form a limited liability company and turned her hobby into a thriving business.
“I was like, ‘Hey Abilene, I’m here!’” Jamie said.
She created Adorn Your Space, a home-organizing company. The company, which includes herself and three part-time employees, is not a cleaning service, but rather a company that assists people in “fixing their surroundings.”
When Jamie initially meets a client, she likes to ask questions and learn about people’s “habits and what they think they need from their space versus what they actually need from their space.”
“One of the first things I do is have someone really think about why they believe they need to keep certain things,” she said. “For example, if someone has a cabinet full of plastic cups, I’ll ask them why they have so many and they’ll say something like, ‘I might have people over.’ We then talk about that and eventually they realize they don’t need a huge amount of cups, since they have never needed that many at one time in the past.”
Sometimes, she said addressing the “whys” carry a significant amount of emotional weight. This process of creating systems that foster “function and efficiency” will oftentimes require people to address the emotional significance behind certain items that are taking up space or have become functionally obsolete.
“Having to really look at stuff in your home that you’ve been avoiding can cause anxiety, so we sort of act as a neutral party,” she said. “We listen to our clients’ needs and concerns and if someone says it’s okay to let an item go then that’s what we do, but if they are having trouble getting rid of something that is creating clutter, then we need to figure out why.”
“I’m here to help people stay accountable,” she said. “It’s very easy to talk yourself out of addressing clutter if certain items bring up strong feelings or memories, but having an emotional attachment to everything you own is mind draining. Often though, people just need to hear that it’s okay to let things go – and after that, decluttering becomes a very comforting process.”
1. Make a Sentimental Box, But Don’t Be Afraid of Letting Go
Jamie said many of her clients are mothers, and as a mother herself, she understands how emotionally charged the act of organizing their children’s rooms and closets can be.
“By holding on to clothing that no longer fits or toys that aren’t age appropriate and are taking up space, for example, moms are avoiding the fact that their children are growing up,” she said, stressing however, that keeping clothing and other items for sentimental reasons is fine as long as it’s done in a “healthy” way.
“I encourage clients to have a ‘sentimental box’ where they keep things they’re not ready to get rid of,” she said.
Jamie added that “children thrive in structure” and she likes to include them when working in a home, because it “gives them ownership of their space and appreciation of their things.” She said too that because young children learn by color, shapes and patterns, including them in the process is a great way to reinforce these concepts.
2. Start Somewhere
For those who want to embark on the journey to a more organized and efficient space, Jamie suggests they simply “start somewhere.”
“Don’t bite off more than you can chew and don’t let this be an overwhelming task – literally by just picking a notebook up off the counter, for example, you’ve started,” she said.
3. Donate What You Don’t Need
Once something has been discarded, Jamie said don’t second guess your decision. “There was a reason you got rid of that item – when it leaves, forget about it.”
Not only does having organized surroundings result in more efficiency, it also can be potentially money saving, because you know what you have and where everything is. “It’s easy to look at your closet for example, and go ‘oh I already have that – I don’t need a new wardrobe because I know what I have.’”
Creating organized spaces obviously benefits the person who inhabits them, but also can potentially help others. “If something is taking up functional space and isn’t being used, there are people out there for whom an item might be needed,” said Jamie, who added that in a lot of cases, donation is the best way to honor a loved one.
“People sometimes hold on to things simply because they think they should for the sake of someone they love,” she said. “However, they’re not honoring anyone by keeping their stuff in the bottom of a box – those things could potentially be used and enjoyed by someone else.”
Regardless of the scope of her clients’ needs, Jamie and her team’s goals go well beyond beautification. “We are very purposeful in everything we do – this is not just organizing, it is about being transformative.”
By Molly Hill
Photos By Shayli Anne Photography