Ann Lightfoot, professional organizer

Name: Ann Lightfoot

Location: New York City, USA

Years in the Business: 10 years

Instagram: @doneanddonehome

Please tell us a little about yourself!

I grew up in the Midwest and am the third of five kids. I spent the majority of my teenage years trying to organize my family, which earned me the nickname, “Ann Ann the Clean Up Man”. Much to my dismay, my parents and siblings weren’t nearly as enthusiastic I was! But it did instill in me a lifelong passion for making spaces as efficient as possible.

As an adult, I have moved multiple times, twice internationally, and I ran a household as a single mom. Those experiences helped shape the systems we use in our business today. I have such great respect for the hard work it takes to keep a home running smoothly, and I use my life experience to help our clients with both home organization and moving.

You were a doula before co-founding Done & Done Home. Why did you decide to switch paths to become a professional organizer?

Being a doula is incredibly rewarding, exhausting, work. I loved assisting women to bring their children into the world! But, as you might imagine, it requires a very flexible schedule, and that became increasingly difficult as a single mom. Basically, it came down to finding a profession that allowed me to be of service to other women and families while still being available to my own kids. Professional organizing fit the bill!

cute baskets for professional organizer jobs

Who is your most popular client? What services do they usually request?

We have two typical clients. The first is people living in New York City who are having trouble maintaining order in a small city apartment. We help them edit, declutter and organize their space so that they can live with ease. We also set up systems so that they can maintain the order long after we have completed our job.

The second type of client we typically work with is people needing help with a move. We assist with decluttering before the move, the pack up and subsequent unpack in the new space, and coordinating with other companies such as movers, haulers, and handymen. Additionally, we specialize in downsizing and working with families to deal with estates.

With the surge in popularity of Marie Kondo and her Konmari professional organizing method, how has this affected your business, if at all?

I think Marie Kondo’s popularity definitely put a spotlight on the organizing profession. And, of course, her new Netflix show has been so ubiquitous in the media that it can’t help but bring awareness. We are extremely grateful for the exposure she brings to what it is we do, but we aren’t certified in the KonMari method ourselves.

konmari method of professional organizer jobs

Can you tell us a little about Owning Well – is this related at all to Marie’s method?

Owning Well is the theory that people should buy the highest quality items they can afford and then take extremely good care of them. One of the side effects of being professional organizers is that we see a lot of stuff going in the trash. We work with a green hauling company called The Junk Luggers and they do the best they can to make sure that every item is either recycled or donated. But, of course, that isn’t always possible and many items end up in the landfill.  Therefore, we believe that Owning Well is not only better for our clients, but for the environment as well.

For example, if you spend $50 on one high-quality shirt and take excellent care of it, it will last a significant amount of time. It will retain its shape and color and won’t wear out. Or you could buy five $10 shirts that probably won’t last more than six months and will end up in the garbage. Not to mention, when items are bought without intention, and before you know it, your space will be overflowing with things you don’t actually want or need.

We differ from the KonMari method in that we don’t focus exclusively on items, but rather on whole systems. Our objective is to make homes run as efficiently as possible for our clients.

owning well - owning high quality furniture for your home

You have a huge team! When did you know that it was the right time to expand your business?

We knew it was time to expand the team when we couldn’t do the professional organizer jobs ourselves anymore! My daughter, Kate, and I are the co-founders of Done & Done. In the beginning, we did everything ourselves. But pretty quickly, that became impossible to maintain. We found that not only did we need more organizers, but we also needed people to run the administrative side of the business and additionally, our social media. It’s crazy how many different aspects there are to our company now compared to when we started out. We’re unbelievably grateful to have so many amazing women working for us!

Your company supports Every Mother Counts, a non-profit organization. What made you choose this organization in particular?

We were so honored to partner with Every Mother Counts. It’s an organization that I became aware of through my work as a doula. My daughter and I both believe the work they are doing is incredibly important for women all over the world.

We hope to be able to support many other charities as we move forward and expand. Our emphasis is on helping moms in general. Our team is comprised almost exclusively of women who stayed at home to raise their children and who then wanted a chance to get back in the workforce. So we’re strong believers in supporting moms at every stage of life and hopefully, we’ll have some amazing partnerships in the near future.

New york city landscape

What challenges does working in the city-that-never-sleeps pose?

Oh, so many challenges! As you might imagine, getting moves done in NYC is difficult on the best of days. I have two examples that highlight city living pretty well.

The first is the time we had to hire a crane and have a window taken out of a ten-story apartment to get our clients’ items inside. And the second is when we had to bring in a company that takes apart sofas to get them out of an apartment and then reassembles them in the new space. Those are pretty extreme examples, but truly everything is harder because of the lack of space and the logistics of working in high rises.

Can you share one piece of career advice you wish someone had told you when you were first becoming a professional organizer?

I think the one piece of advice Kate and I would love to have had is that every single day and every single stage will bring a new challenge. Growth and success are exciting and terrifying in equal measure, and that is completely normal. It takes a tremendous amount of courage and belief in yourself to run your own company and move forward even on days when it seems like everything has gone wrong.

Want to work in the big apple as a professional organizer, too? Find out how to land professional organizer jobs with high-end clients!

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