CHARLOTTE – It took Candi Ruppert, CPO, a long time to realize her true passion was making other people’s lives more organized, but once she did, she never looked back.
Ruppert, who lives in the Providence Plantation neighborhood of south Charlotte with her husband, CJ, and daughter, Vivian, spent 15 years working as a corporate field trainer for Barnes and Noble. She loved her job but struggled to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
“I was dropping my daughter at daycare when it was dark and picking her up when it was dark, and that’s when I knew I needed to quit my job and do something else,” she said.
After leaving Barnes and Noble, Ruppert began to tap into her physical and logistical organization skills as an impromptu wedding coordinator. She also ran the neighborhood swim team and took on small home organization jobs, mostly in the kitchen.
“I can make your pantry look like Martha Stewart lives there in a heartbeat,” she said.
It wasn’t until a friend reached out with her biggest job yet that everything changed.
Ruppert said her friend’s father had recently passed away and his house needed to be cleared out and handed over to a Realtor by the end of the week. She helped her go through nearly every item in the house, and lined up painters, wildlife and pest removal and bulk pickup. She also hired packing and shipping, landscaping, professional cleaning and dumpster companies and got in touch with local charities to take donated items.
“I went home tired because it’s a hard job and I was dirty and I was happy every day,” Ruppert said. “That’s when I knew this is what I wanted to do.”
Not long after that, Ruppert turned her passion into her profession and started Sage Organizing. She travels around Mecklenburg County, Union County and as far as Gastonia, Lake Norman and Rock Hill, S.C., to tackle jobs both big and small.
About 30% of her business is estate clearing after someone passes away. Ruppert said it can be a difficult process for a grieving family, which is why it’s good to have a neutral party, like a professional organizer, there to help.
“Not everything goes in the dumpster, like some cleaning companies just throw everything away,” she said. “I’m going through and touching every item and seeing where that item can serve someone else in the community.”
Ruppert donates unwanted items to local animal shelters, schools and food pantries. She also partners with Beds for Kids, Matthews Help Center, Crisis Assistance Ministry and ZABS Place in Matthews. She said doing so reduces the environmental impact and helps the community, with makes her clients happy because their things are going to good use, and they’re getting itemized tax deductions for the donations, too.
Clients who are downsizing make up another 30% of Ruppert’s business. She said these jobs are a little more difficult because clients know what they paid for certain items and have memories attached to those items, so it’s hard for them to see them go out the door.
As a Certified Professional Organizer, she’s learned about mental health, therapy, hoarding disorders, the legal side and completed many client hours and submitted writing samples.
She’s also a member of the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals, as well as Faithful Organizers, which is a community of Christian professional organizers. She said her strong work ethic, commitment to furthering her education – not many organizers are CPO-certified – and compassion and understanding set her apart.
“I always try to treat people like my family,” Ruppert said. “I take the time to really get to know people and figure out what things mean to them.”
The remainder of Ruppert’s business involves residential organization, like setting up nurseries, cleaning out garages, helping people pack and unpack or reorganizing kitchens.
When tackling a kitchen, Ruppert said she thinks logistically and rationally where everything should go and sets it up as efficiently as possible. She considers where the appliances are, the client’s height, whether they are left-handed or right-handed, if they drink coffee and if they cook at home a lot.
“Some clients want me to come in and make their house look like something on Pinterest and I can do that with one hand tied behind my back, but I also make sure that it makes sense,” Ruppert said. “There’s no sense in making something look pretty like it’s on Pinterest and you still can’t find your stuff.”
Want to know more?
Visit www.sageorganizingco.com, read Ruppert’s blog “Sage Advice,” and follow her on Pinterest (Sage Organizing C); Instagram (@sageorganizingco); and Facebook.