We had the good fortune of connecting with Amélie Saint-Jacques and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Amélie, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
People are probably not aware of what professional organizing looks like behind the scenes – in real life.

On the one hand, I absolutely love home organizing television shows and Pinterest-worthy photos, not just as a viewer, but also because it helps make the general public aware of what organizers can do. On the other hand, a lot of those shows/photos don’t emphasize all the work that goes into making picture-perfect “after” shots! Not only is there a massive decluttering effort going on off-camera, but there’s also no talk about the budget it takes, for materials as well as (wo)man-hours.

There can also be a lack of consideration to practicality. Just because something *looks* gorgeous (like a pantry with every single ingredient decanted in clear acrylic containers, or a refrigerator with all the items organized by color to look like a rainbow) doesn’t mean that it’ll work for your life! Maybe you need to keep food packaging for cooking instructions or a list of allergens; maybe you don’t buy seven colors of LaCroix and 20 bell peppers at the same time.

I always take the time to discuss expectations and priorities with my clients. I want them to be happy with the results of our organizing sessions, so it’s important that I listen to their concerns while also giving them realistic expectations.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
People tend to think that organizers are loud and high-energy and will come into your space like a whirlwind of change, because that’s what we see on television. The truth is that those people probably make for better television, but there’s a much wider range of personalities in real life! I’m a quiet introvert, which I think works better with clients who would get overwhelmed easily by change or by strangers in their space. I’m able to be respectful of their belongings, I listen to them, and I can give them space to think about things rather than pressuring them into an immediate decision they might regret. I give them my opinion, but of course they always make the final decision.

I’m also learning that, even though it doesn’t feel natural to me, I should put myself out there more by using videos and selfies, because people like to feel like they know you before they hire you. It’s not an issue when a client recommends me to someone else, but potential clients who only see my website might feel like they need more information about me as a person instead of strictly as a professional, so my goal is to work on that over the summer.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?

I live in San Antonio, so the absolute musts are visiting the Alamo and the River Walk! The Alamo, along with the four other missions, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The San Fernando Cathedral and Market Square are worth the detour.

There are also several museums in town, like the McNay Art Museum or the San Antonio Museum of Art (and the Witte Museum if you have kids), that I’d strongly recommend. I love spending some time outdoors in a new city to get a feel for it, so I’d recommend going to a park like Brackenridge Park – the San Antonio River runs through it and it’s home to so many birds, like beautiful great egrets and black-bellied whistling ducks! It also contains the Japanese Tea Gardens and the San Antonio Zoo; there’s a little train that will give you a complete tour in 20 minutes or so. And if you like Victorian houses, a stroll through King William district is a must!

A great place to hang out is at the Pearl Brewery – you honestly can’t go wrong with the shops and restaurants there! I’d also recommend going to the top of the Tower of the Americas, which gives you an incredible view of the city. If you want a cowboy hat as a souvenir, nearby Paris Hatters is the place to go! San Antonio is home to independent bookstores like Nowhere Bookshop as well as big shopping centers like La Cantera. If you have time for a movie, make sure to go to local chain The Alamo Drafthouse – you won’t regret it!

If you’re up for driving about an hour out of town, Lockhart has the best barbecue! The small town of Gruene is also worth the detour. There are caves, wineries, and state parks nearby as well!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
For sure, support is essential! I was lucky to have friends and family who supported me, both with words of encouragement and by letting me organize their spaces so that I could build a portfolio. They also spread the word about my services to their social circles.

Once I had started working professionally, I also found that my peers were incredibly supportive. I’m thinking of both NAPO (the national organization for professional organizers) as well as the KonMari community – we keep in touch via forums, Facebook groups, and online chats. We all support one another, give each other advice, and applaud our respective successes. It’s wonderful being part of such great communities!

Website: https://amelieorganizes.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amelieorganizes/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ameliesaintjacquesprofessionalorganizer

Image Credits
Portrait: Perspectives Photography Portfolio: Amélie Saint-Jacques’s portfolio

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