We all look to different kinds of people and the influence they’ve had on our lives when we think of role models.  For me, at this time in my life, I’ve become acutely aware of some of the people who have helped me realize that launching Clever Girl is precisely what I should be doing with my life right now.   Family and friends are at the top of that list, but I also have to give credit to some unusual heroes, who taught me a ton of what I know today:  Home improvement show hosts!

I’ve already talked about my early addiction to professional organizing by watching “Clean Sweep”, and I had the great opportunity to meet Peter Walsh this summer.  The design shows on HGTV, DIY and other channels were a big influence on me, too, but not the high-end designer shows. I loved the ones that seemed to know that I was looking to impact my home, with creativity, but not my wallet!  I was hooked on shows like “Designed to Sell”, “Get it Sold”, and Design on a Dime”.  And Thursday night, I got to meet the (gorgeous!) faces behind some of my favorite shows!

Taniya Nayak and Sabrina Soto, of HGTV and many other projects, have been two of the most influential television mentors I’ve had.  Not only did I learn from each of them, week after week, year after year, about how to make my own place the home I wanted it to be, but they are part of inspiring me to leave the corporate world and head down this path of becoming a professional organizer. They both have had such an eye towards organizing and design to maximize the potential of any space, and both have done it with creativity, not finances, as their biggest investment in a space.  Watching them helped me find and refine all the things I believe in that are the backbone of what I hope to bring to clients of Clever Girl Organizing every day.  I got to meet them tonight at an opening of a new Boston restaurant, Back Bay Harry’s, that Taniya designed. I won VIP passes to the premiere party through following her on Twitter, and it became the perfect opportunity to meet and to THANK people who’d really been role models for me.

Taniya and Sabrina and Kathy

Their influence on me goes back to when I owned my first home, that I bought on my own in 2002. It was a 100-year-old apartment in a brownstone in Brookline, MA, and I loved that I had my own place on which in I could try things out. Whether it was period-appropriate decorations, wall color, furniture or storage solutions, it seemed that I always had the need to do something new (within my skill set) and always wanted to be learning more about how to make my home a place that really had my style.   Taniya and Sabrina both had shows which taught and inspired me in those projects.

Later, when I went to sell my home, after the housing market was starting to bounce back. I took every trick I learned (and could afford), and invested the energy in making sure that I could top dollar for my home. I remember when I staged that same apartment to sell in 2011, and my realtor announced, “This place looks like HGTV on steroids! Don’t change a thing!” I wore that as a badge of pride!  When I got an offer for almost my asking price, and closing was literally 7 weeks after the day I put it on the market, I knew it was all as a result of the investment I’d made in the design and organization in our home that made the difference.

I’m grateful to people like Taniya and Sabrina, who helped pave the way for me, showing other people out there that, sometimes, you need to have some help to make your home look and feel the way you have always dreamed it could.  Having the opportunity to meet them both and tell them I’m an organizer now, after being such fans of theirs, was such a personal highlight for me. How often do we have the chance to say that directly to the people we admire? Not often enough!

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