Creative Partner Sharon Lorino spent 30 years in Corporate America before branching out to start her business, Perfectly Cleaned and Organized. Working with clients in the Greater Boston area, Sharon helps business owners and homeowners alike de-clutter, organize and bring clarity into their home office and personal spaces.
VIRTUALLY HERE: How did you go from working in Corporate America to running your own business?
SHARON: I was in Corporate America for about 30 years and I did it because it fit my lifestyle as a single mom. I made good money and could take care of everything I needed to take care of—but I wasn’t passionate about it.
I’ve always loved to organize. I can walk into a room that looks like a disaster and think, “Oh, this is so simple!” I can see how it all makes sense.
When I got laid off from my corporate job last November, I decided to work with a cleaning company to see what they actually do when they go and clean homes. Then I said, “You know what, I’m going to do this on my own.” That’s when I started Perfectly Clean and Organized.
VH: How do you approach running your own business differently than holding a corporate position?
SHARON: I guess the main difference is that you care more, you’re invested in it, it’s your livelihood, it’s your name on it. And you have to promote yourself. You can’t just show up, and know you’re going to make a paycheck; you have to get the clients. You have to make them happy. You have to have them so happy that they’re going to call their friends about it and their friends are going to call you. You’re just invested more, I guess would be the right way to say it.
VH: Have you discovered that people have misconceptions of what you can do when you clean and organize for them?
SHARON: Absolutely. They have no idea how much I can do for them. For example, I had a friend I used to work with in Corporate America, she called me up in a panic because a ton of relatives were coming over at the same time and her house looked like a wreck. I’m like, “I’ll come over, don’t worry, there’s no problem.” She had very low expectations of what I would be able to accomplish in the short amount of time we had—”Don’t worry about this, don’t worry about that, just do this.” I told her, “You go and leave the house and you’ll be so happy when you walk back in.” And she was. I got a call from her later and she said, “Oh my god, I can’t believe you did that in just a short amount of time.” I think people have a huge misconception of what you can do for them.
VH: Do you help people out when they want to downsize?
SHARON: Yes, I help people downsize and then organize what they decide to keep. It’s much easier to do these things when it’s not your stuff, so it’s a service that people find very helpful.
I helped an old lady pack to move the other day–my realtor reached out to me, she said, “I have an older woman and she needs to be out and she can’t let go of anything. Can you help her?”
She had to look at every cup, every thing and finally, I was like, “Listen, We’re never going to get everything done, so let’s make piles of what you want to keep, what are you’re going to put in storage, and what you’re going to donate.” Once we did it that way, it moved along quickly and she said, “I would have never been able to do this without you.”
I think the attitude you bring to helping people clean their houses is so important. If you act caring of their stuff and caring for their time as well, they’re more apt to be open and allow you to help them sort through their stuff and let go of things.
VH: Are people always surprised by the impact bringing in another pair of hands to clean has?
SHARON: Very often. I have an old lady whose house I clean every other week—she’s a good example of how people are surprised. She has a very big linen closet in her hallway and it was filled to the brim with this, that and the other thing, nothing making sense. So when I went there this past week I said, “We’re going to tackle the closet today.” And she was like, “We are? What do you need me to do?” I told her, “I just need you to sit there and I’m going to take everything out, we’re going to go through stuff.”
She had so much stuff to throw away, so much stuff to give to her daughter… When I put everything back in and she got up and came over the closet, she was a bit teary eyed and gave me a big huge hug and was like, “Oh my god, I can’t believe it’s like this.” This monster closet that would have taken her three days to do, took me and her an hour and a half to do.
But most houses, when I go to clean, there’s nobody home. So, I just go and do my thing, then they come back and they’re thrilled.
VH: Do you clean home offices?
My cousin runs her own business—she had an office and it was horrible. I went in for four hours one day, re-filed everything, cleaned the desk and make it workable again. Like I said before, it’s easier to look at things and figure out what needs to be there and what’s unnecessary when it’s not your mess.
I think when people have their own business they get very busy and stuff just gets tossed into whatever room they consider their office room. If somebody else comes in and takes care of the organizing for you, when you come in everything makes sense and you’re not going to be like “Let me just throw this here now and I’ll get to it later.” Because later never really happens.
VH: What do you love about your job?
SHARON: I love the happiness that it brings to the end user—the client. Because organizing is really just second nature to me—but some people don’t know how to clean and don’t know how to organize. Some people just live with extreme mess all the time; if I can come in and make it not cluttery for them, and they walk in and go, “Oh my God! So this is what it looks like.” It’s a good feeling.
VH: What advice do you give to business owners who struggle to keep their office space organized?
SHARON: If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the mess and disorder, have someone come in and organize what you do in your office. Then you come in and you’re able to work out of it again, and see the clearer picture. I think that helps people a lot. Then they can be productive again. Because when you de-clutter a space, it de-clutters the person and their mental space as well.
Connect with Sharon.