Q + A

the voice of Anna Butler of UnclutterCO

Home is the space in which we can find peace through a sense of belonging. Part of feeling whole within our homes is understanding the ways in which we use and interact with each space — and the same goes for the belongings that reside alongside us. Imagining our home’s maximum potential often begins with editing rather than adding, but it takes more work than we may realize to discover what we need, why we need it and how we can better create a space for our things. Anna Butler of UnclutterCO has made it her life’s journey to help people explore the possibilities of their homes in ways that are both functional and beautiful.

How did you find your calling?

I have worked in so many different industries and the one common thread between them is my love for working with people. I had thought about starting my own business for a long time — and when I was laid off from my job in November of 2019, I started putting some energy into what working for myself could really look like.

When I lived in Boston, I managed a high-end consignment store. Recycling items and parting with things was so clearly built into that model, which is a critical piece in getting organized. When I originally thought about starting my own business, my first idea was to help women clean out their closets and start consignment accounts for them. I then began looking into organizing, (as consignment felt very niche) and realized it was a booming industry. I built a website and social media account, announced to the world I was doing a thing and then started doing it.

Describe your client consultation process and how you assess a project?

Our organizing process goes from inquiry to install. We begin with an exploratory call followed by an in- person consultation, as it’s challenging to give an accurate quote without getting eyes on the space. Consults are a time to take some photos and measurements and connect with the client about their goals for getting and staying organized.

From there, we create a completely tailored plan for the home. We design a layout for each space, shop for organizing products based on their budget and aesthetic and then come back to do the installation. Along the way, we help our clients declutter if needed and add special touches like custom vinyl labels.

How does a clean and organized home contribute to happiness?

I believe our homes are a reflection of so many things including our moods, personalities and  productivity and stress levels. There have been studies linking the negative effects of clutter on mental health. Clutter can make it difficult to get things done and live in an orderly and efficient manner. I feel crazy when I don’t know where my things are and unhinged when my home feels out of order. Having my home clean and organized feels absolutely essential to my sanity.

Many people have a resolution to keep their homes tidy. How can homeowners ensure that they can stay on top of keeping organized?

My biggest advice is to create realistic goals for your lifestyle and a system that mirrors that for each space. Each of your belongings should have a home and the goal should be for them to return to that home whenever they’re taken out. Whether that looks like having a place to hang your keys when you walk in the door, or a hanger or hook for your jacket, it mitigates clutter build up and leaves the guessing out of where things should go for not only you but anyone else you live with.

“There have been studies linking the negative effects of clutter on mental health. Clutter can make it difficult to get things done and live in an orderly and efficient manner.”

What tips and tricks do you use on a daily basis to ensure your home stays in tip top shape?

I am constantly in an editing phase, asking myself “Do I use it? Do I need it? Do It love it?”

It’s much easier to stay organized when you have less stuff. It’s that simple. I do my best to keep up with systems I’ve created in my home that work for me and my family. Every person is unique so the organizing process is very personal and individualized. I can make any space look beautiful, but if it doesn’t function for the way people actually live their lives, it will never stay organized and will be very challenging to maintain.

What is your favorite space to organize?

I love organizing kitchens and pantries. The kitchen is the heart of the home! I personally love to cook and eat, so kitchens feel very intuitive to organize and set up for functionality. My mom is a fantastic cook, so I grew up spending tons of time in the kitchen. You notice at parties — that’s where everyone wants to hang out. Food brings family and community together to create traditions and memories. Because eating is a basic human need, I think having a functional kitchen and pantry is so important. Plus, I love seeing what snacks families have!

To what do you attribute your success?

Until I started UnClutterCO, I always felt out slightly of alignment with the work I was doing. It took a lot of exploration through various industries, prior successes and failures and the courage to really start over to take this leap. I credit my mother for her neurosis of having a tidy home. I know I inherited my organized nature from her. When there are lows, my husband reminds me that I need to be my own biggest cheerleader. Success is measured in so many different ways. For me, it means to just keep going and growing no matter what.