Whether she’s clearing out a closet or reorganizing celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin’s home, Ría Safford is relieving clients’ stress by tidying up. “I didn’t realize the magnitude of the things I was doing for people until I was working on a project and the wife started crying when she saw her garage,” Safford says. “I even had a husband tell me, ‘You made our marriage better.’ ”
How did you become a professional organizer?
I originally had the idea at the end of college at Texas Christian University, but I didn’t want to jump into entrepreneurship. I eventually got into commercial real estate, got married, and had my first daughter. But I hated corporate life and wanted to do something that helped people. I knew I wanted to be my own boss, so I went back to this idea I had for RíOrganize. At the same time, we decided to move back to Orange County. I presented my business plan to my husband, and he got on board. I launched it in March 2016, and it just evolved.
How does organization help people?
If your bathroom drawer is a mess when you open it in the morning, that’s setting the tone for your whole day. (Our team) knows these little tricks that people might not even be aware of, and it just transforms the space. Ultimately, and this sounds really cheesy, we’re changing lives in a way. We’re helping people get through their day without having one more thing stress them out. We’ll even do it to where a family of six is completely unpacked and moved in and cooking dinner on day one.
Tell us about the process of reorganizing a home.
Let’s say we’re doing a master closet; we come in and we 100 percent empty the space. From there we categorize everything, and we have our clients go through item by item and figure out what’s staying and what’s going. After figuring out what stays, we buy organizing products based on a budget. Usually, we do product shopping and install in a day; that’s always the goal.
What’s your favorite area to work on?
The pantry. Probably because I have such a love for food. Also, because people are in and out of it every day, it makes sense to have a system in place. You’re not searching for things because you can see everything. While it’s an investment in the beginning, you’re saving so much money because you’re not buying the fifth can of black beans. My goal is to make it so you can see every single thing, whether (that means using) a quick pull bin, risers, or what have you.
What tips do you have for staying organized?
The No. 1 thing is keeping the essentials accessible. Second would be shopping for the storage you have. Nothing drives me crazier than people who have no storage but shop at Costco all the time. Also, buy organizing products after you purge. If you go and get a bunch of organizing products (first), then you’re forcing your stuff to work for that product instead of forcing that product to work for the stuff you have.