Vivi Brown has always been organized, so whenever friends and family needed help with moving or organizing a room, they would call her. “It’s something I’ve always been inclined to do,” she says. “I’ve always liked organizing, and I grew up in a house that was very well kept.”
Brown was working as an international trust specialist for Citi Bank and Merrill Lynch, but enjoyed spending her evenings and weekends helping others get organized. “I like helping people, and I love meeting people,” she says. Eventually, her services were in such high demand that she started getting referrals from friends to help people she didn’t even know. At this point, her husband encouraged her to turn organizational help into a full-time business. Vivid Organizing was born in 2008.
Now, Brown—a mother of four—works mostly on big projects like organizing homes for a move, making real estate agents are her biggest referrers. That said, she’s open to smaller projects, and most of her clients end up calling her back for seasonal organization and revamping. “I want to help them for the long-term,” says Brown. “It’s such a good feeling when they call me back, because it shows that they like what I’ve done and they’re happy.” She says that her goal is to help her clients improve their overall organization habits, even if it takes years. “When they call me and say ‘Vivi I thought of you today while I was doing my closet,’ that’s exactly what I want,” she says.
On Brown’s website, client testimonials overflow with gratitude and joy. “I still can’t believe what we accomplished in two weeks’ time—sorting through 18 years of stuff distributed between two countries, three states, and selling and storing the rest. Whew!!!” writes Sandi S. “You’re a miracle worker…and my house sold in two days thanks to all of your hard work,” writes Cathy P. Another client told Brown that a more organized home actually saved her marriage.
Through organizing their homes, Brown also tries to help clients become more efficient. “We have limited time, and I like to be very efficient with mine,” she says. “I’m a very practical person.” Most of Brown’s clients are mothers who are extremely busy, so Brown helps them save time in their daily lives by helping them remove clutter and distraction, and showing them how to be practical and efficient when sorting their things.
Part of this process includes keeping what Brown calls a memory bin. She says people like to keep sentimental objects, and while these things have a place, they can cause clutter over time. “I strongly believe in keeping memories, but people need to have them put away in a safe place where they can come back to them in 10 years. They don’t need to be in the front closet,” she says. Brown works with clients to declutter their homes, but never gets rid of things without asking first.
Usually, Brown and her clients work together to sort and organize a room, but with work and busy schedules, that’s not always possible. Brown says for clients who can’t be home during working hours, she sorts items so they can go through them when they get home. “I can say ‘ok here’s the kitchen stuff, what do you want to keep,’” she says. Every client and project is different, and Brown says being versatile is key to making her clients happy.
While there are plenty of organizational services in the area, Brown says hers is one of the few that is comprehensive. “I do it all,” she says. “I will sweep a garage, dig under your bed, clean out a cabinet—my organization is really top-to-bottom.” She has people she can call on to help with big projects like moving furniture, but for the most part she does everything herself. “I go to work in exercise clothes and tennis shoes and I have five broken nails,” she says, laughing. “I’m not just sitting there directing traffic.” She also notes that her family is Cuban and Spanish is her first language, which makes her stand out and allows her to work with a wider range of clients.
Business is picking up rapidly, and Brown admits she may need to hire additional help in the future. “But I like meeting my clients and seeing the accomplishment, so I will never be just an overseer,” she says. “I will always be very involved.”