Chandler Raney had no idea that at 26 years old she would be running her own business. She attended the University of Central Arkansas where she earned a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, and almost immediately knew she didn’t want to pursue a career in that field. She tried meal-prepping for families and within a week felt burned out. She didn’t find any joy in it.
But she knew she liked interacting with children, so she began nannying until she could figure out her next steps. Sometimes, during the kids' naptime, Raney would pass the time by organizing their closets, folding their clothes and neatly arranging their toys. Sometimes she would even venture into the pantries and organize the snacks and food.
The moms she worked with would always compliment her ability to organize the children’s playrooms and word began to spread. Soon, Raney had moms asking her to organize their pantries and closets. Eventually, she was able to build a client base and the confidence to get a business license, start an Instagram page and launch Organize & Prioritize, her own organization business.
She opened the business in July of 2020. By November, she had so many clients she was able to make it her full-time job. It began with word-of-mouth, but soon the requests through Instagram were able to carry her business completely. Now, she also has a website and popular TikTok account demonstrating her work. Despite starting in the middle of the pandemic, Raney hasn't seen inhibited success, even offering virtual consultations where she carefully instructs clients on how to find and implement the necessary organizational materials.
“Because everyone was sitting at home and staring at their stuff, they got frustrated with all the clutter and disorganization, and I think that’s why they wanted to reach out to me to organize it for them,” Raney says. “I don’t think the pandemic was an obstacle for me at all.”
When a client reaches out to Raney, the first step is a 30-minute consultation that includes the client leading Raney through the space to be organized. Together, they discuss what the client wants the space to be: super functional, super fashionable or a combination of both. She almost always can envision the space exactly how it needs to be the moment she walks into it.
They talk about every possible detail, including if the client wants matching felt hangers, needs something specifically displayed or if they need some things to be easier to access than others. She measures the space so as to find properly sized containers and bins that will give everything its proper place. They discuss the budget for those containers, as well as the amount of labelling the client wants done.
“Labels just make everything more organized and easier to find,” Raney says. “A lot of my clients have kids, and those kids are either usually learning to read or they are old enough to read. There is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to return things to their proper place when they are labelled so clearly for them. It ultimately just helps everything stay organized after I’m done.”
Once she and the client have agreed upon a game plan, Raney sets out to get supplies. She usually saves shopping trips for all of her clients to just one day a week, but even still, she makes a lot of trips to The Container Store. Not only does she get the correct-sized supplies she needs, but she will often get extra to fill the stock of bins she keeps in her garage.
“What’s great is that I have such a wide variety of clients,” Raney says. “A house from Chenal is in no way going to be like a house in Hillcrest. What I like is that my process works for different homes, and I get to work with these people to make the organization fit their style, whether it be more classic or modern.”
With her bins and custom labels in hand, Raney then gets to work.
There is no true way to determine how long it will take Raney to organize a space, no matter how badly the client would like to know. Each space is different and varies depending on how much decluttering needs to take place for the space to reach its full potential.
“It can be hard to tell your client they need to get rid of some stuff to make their space functional, but sometimes that is the hard truth,” Raney says. “I think the timing of this business was beneficial because shows like Marie Kondo's have already introduced the idea of decluttering and made it into almost a trend, but it can still be complicated trying to politely tell someone they need to get rid of stuff that is cluttering their space.”
On top of the peace of mind and productivity one can achieve with an organized space, there can also be a financial payoff as well.
“I have clients with kids who have bought so many scissors because they keep losing them,” Raney says. “Having a clean space can save you money because you don’t keep misplacing things and having to replace them. You also don’t just forget the things you already own when you can see it all and know where it all is.”
Every time Raney organizes a space, she can see the looks of relief and joy on her clients’ faces. That’s why she does it, because she loves knowing she was able to provide some peace to their lives. It almost always snowballs into her doing another area for her client, and sometimes, even their whole home. In addition to her initial organization services, Raney also offers recurring services to take care of spaces that fall out of order, as well as help for people relocating homes and starting with new spaces.
Raney admits she doesn't necessarily have a “spark” for interior design, but did learn a thing or two about it from her mother, who worked in a furniture store prior to now working part-time for Raney. Recently, a client asked her to build her child’s playroom from the carpet up, including the rug, furniture and, yes, storage bins. The client could not have been happier with the result.
Raney hopes that as she continues to expand her client base, she will be able to bring on additional employees full time to work for her. And for those still pursuing their dream job, Raney has one big piece of advice.
“I was very concerned about not being able to find my passion for what I wanted to do with my life,” Raney says. “You will find your passion, eventually you will find it. I know that I am only 26, so it’s not like I had to wait forever to figure out what it was that I would want to do and what would make me happy. But even if you are 40 and you are still waiting to figure out what makes you happy, just know that you will find it.
"But if something doesn’t make you happy, don’t keep doing it. I wake up excited every morning for what I get to do, and I had never experienced that before. Now, the only times I don’t wake up just absolutely excited to go to work are days where I have to organize a garage and it’s super hot outside. But even that is fun for me. Find what makes you happy and don’t do anything else.”
Raney’s Rules for Organizing Your Space
Label it. It is so much easier to know you have a bin full of purses up on the top shelf of your closet by labelling it rather than having to constantly pull it down all the time and figure out what is stored in the bin.
Put it in a bin. Everything has its place. Compart-mentalization is so important for keeping things where they need to be. One of the easiest ways to keep your space clean is to confine loose items within a container.
Measure it. When getting organized, having bins that hang over the edge of the shelf just looks sloppy. Make sure your containers make sense in your space.
Declutter it. If you don’t use it, you don’t need it. You will feel so much better getting rid of the things that only serve to eat up the space in your pantry, closet and life.
Keep it clean. Developing an organization system doesn’t make sense unless you put things back where they belong.