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Q&A with Sarah Welch & Alicia Rockmore – Professional Organizers

Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore, Co-Founders, Buttoned Up –

Alicia+sarah photo 1) How long have you been a professional organizer?
We started in 2005 – so we’ve been helping busy people stay a step ahead of chaos for over five years now.

2) What inspired you to become an organizer?
We had a series of events in our own lives (a husband that walked out after 38 years of marriage, a parent passing away, 9/11, starting families) that really woke us up to the importance of being organized where it counts.  We realized that we weren’t organized where it mattered in our own lives and set about designing ways to address that shortcoming…but in a way that fit into hectic, cram-packed lives.  So we started by zeroing in on helping busy people get their important information organized and then branched out from there.

3) What is the most common organizing project you’re hired to do?
People don’t hire us to come into their homes – but rather they come to our website, for quick tips and advice on how to tackle various projects and eliminate organizational headaches at home and work.

4) What is the most common organizing challenge people have?
In this 24/7/365 day and age, we all have more.  More stuff, more to-do’s, more meetings…so really, our biggest organizational challenge is figuring out how to sort through it all and zero in on what matters.  That’s as true as it relates to our physical possessions as it is for our schedules and to-do lists. 

5) If you had to pick ‘your’ biggest organizing challenge, what would it be?
Without a doubt, for both of us it’s wrangling the family schedule.  Like every family with children, we’ve got lots and lots of activities.  Sarah keeps a Google calendar that she and her husband sync with our smart phones every day, so they both always know what’s going on.  Alicia and her family keep a whiteboard in the kitchen that they all use to see what’s on tap for the week ahead. 

6) What one tip would you give to people who are trying to get organized?
There’s no such thing as perfectly organized! We are bombarded with images that we at Buttoned Up jokingly refer to as “org porn” – you know, those pretty pictures where everything is serene, pristine, and perfectly in order.  While pretty to look at, the net impact of those images makes us feel inadequate and often lead to feelings of being stuck. Let go of the notion of organization as some sort of idealized end-state; it is a process.  If you’re feeling stuck, the best way to get started is put away the glossy magazines and tonight, while you’re watching your favorite shows, pick one thing to organize during commercial breaks.  It’s easy, you’ll probably tackle more than you thought you could in 8 minutes, and, most importantly, it will get momentum working for you!

Sarah and Alicia's Bio
Sarah and Alicia are real women on a mission—to help busy people get imperfectly organized. Their fresh approach to getting organized was born of necessity. Both women were stressed-out professional moms with more to do than time to do it all. They were tired of feeling like organizational failures because their lives didn’t live up to some “org porn” standard. Instead of throwing up their hands in defeat, they are redefining what it means to be organized to better fit our hectic lives today.

The pair co-founded Buttoned Up, inc. (, and co-authored Everything (Almost) In Its Place (St. Martin’s Press, 2008). Their second book Pretty Neat: Get Organized & Let Go of Perfection is due out in October 2010 from Seal Press. They co-author a weekly newspaper column distributed by Scripps Howard News Service titled “Buttoned Up: Home,” have the leading blog on organization, and host their own internet show on They have appeared on numerous TV programs (national and local), including Good Morning America and NBC’s The 10 Show!, and have been featured in Redbook, Ladies’ Home Journal, The Boston Globe and many other publications.

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