Organise Me: Creating Order from Chaos

Creating Order from Chaos By Andy (Andrea) McArthur

Are you looking to start a small business?
 Are you naturally organised? 
Are you good with people and have a desire to help others?
 Do challenges light up your eyes allowing you to engage your problem solving skills?
 Are you already naturally organised and lead an uncluttered life? Do you currently have Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop in your RSS feed for online tips? If you answered mostly yes, well read on, because in this post we interview Angela Esnouf of Creating Order from Chaos in Melbourne.

Angela is an accredited Professional Organiser and runs 5 day training programs for others to also become Professional Organisers. Her program may very well be, right up your "well organised" alley.

Your business motto speaks about chaos and order. Generally have you found that disorganisation and clutter equals chaos? Angela: Chaos and Order are subjective terms and mean something different for nearly everyone. I do believe that clutter and disorganisation limit potential, and may even lead to a feeling of chaos.

What motivated you to become a professional organiser? I love that I can use my organising skills to help people make a real difference to their daily lives.

What are some of the qualities of a potential professional organiser? It does help to be organised, but that’s not the most important skill required to a great PO.  Being respectful, discreet, a good listener, communicator and problem-solver are essential.

Specifically in your training program what areas would a potential student have training in? My students get a realistic peak into the world of a Professional Organiser, learn about ethical practices, how to create strong connections with clients, essential tools and systems to use with clients as well as in their own business, how to find their place in the market among all the many options, and how to market a PO business. We also look at case studies and have a real-life client experience day.

Do you specialise in any areas yourself? As well as training, I still enjoy working with clients who struggle with the overwhelming feeling being disorganised brings on.

Are there clear groups of clients who you work with? (e.g. families, business owners, hoarders). As well as working with women (and some men) who are totally overwhelmed by clutter and disorder, my previous life in childcare means I connect with families as well.  I love to get families working together as a team with organised processes and ideas to keep family clutter at bay.

Over your 7 years in business what has been your most challenging situation with a previous client and how were you able to solve their issues? I can’t give specific details (whatever my clients tell me is totally confidential) but one thing I get asked often is “Am I the worst you’ve ever seen?” And I don’t answer, because really how a client measures up against others is irrelevant. What matters is only how they are affected by their situation. One thing in general which can be a barrier to success for a client is when they are not truly ready to make changes. I’m going to say something controversial – some people want things to be different but are not prepared to change anything. But that’s ok, a time will come when they are ready, and I’ll be ready for them too.

Angela Esnouf Above: Angela Esnouf and her tidy office space.

You are certified in Chronic Disorganisation. Is this a common problem and can it be corrected? Everyone has periods in their life when they become disorganised, like having a new baby, working on a big project that takes up all your time, or when moving house.  For some people, disorganisation dogs them their whole life and it is more common than you’d think.  Whether it can be overcome really depends on the reasons for it in the first place.  If someone has never been taught how to be organised, there’s room for improvement.  But for someone who is disorganised because of a medical condition or similar, they may have to live with disorganisation all their lives. Even then, there are some techniques which will help them cope.

You are an expert member of the Australasian Association of Professional Organisers Inc (AAPO). The AAPO has some interesting articles on their blog. For those unaware approximately how many members are there in the organisation. There are over 170 AAPO members now. If anyone is thinking of becoming an organiser, I recommend joining AAPO.  There are so many benefits.

National Organising Week is coming up 3-9 September 2012, this is exciting news for the organisation industry. Is there anything you are looking forward to during this week. I’m so excited about NOW.  Lots of AAPO members will be getting together to celebrate.  There are some great activities going on all around the country.  I’ll be offering my newsletter subscribers and Facebook “likers” daily tips.

It seems that organisation is gaining momentum at the moment, many lifestyle shows have featured organisers and advice on de-cluttering. Are there any organisations or articles that you find inspiring or educational? I find inspiration in everyday occurrences, like watching people who are really good at what they do. I notice the efficiencies they use or the way they’ve stored something so it’s easily accessible. And I read anything I can get my hands on about getting organised.

Lastly, can you leave us with your number one tip for getting organised? Stop clutter from coming in the door. Don’t buy it, collect it or acquire it.


If reading this has made you want to rush off and organise your desk or want to help others you may have found your next career as a Professional Organiser. Helping clients achieve an organised and balanced life can be a very real and rewarding experience. For help getting started Angela can be found through her website at, the next Creating Order from Chaos training program is scheduled from October 29th to November 2nd.

Andrea McArthur has a passion for all things visual and a soft spot for organisation. Type is her true love and goes weak at the knees over beautiful design. Andrea works as a freelance graphic designer in Brisbane by day and lectures in graphic design by night. You will find her sharing design related goodness via @andyjane_mc