From Professional Dancer to Professional Organizer
Thank you to Jennifer Martin and the American Society of Professional Organizers for this awesome feature!
Professional Organizers come from all kinds of backgrounds; from former executives, stay at home parents, military careers, and artists. Each has been drawn to this profession for its flexibility and each has something unique and meaningful to contribute to their work and their client’s living space.
Bradley Ryan, a Professional Organizer in NYC, started his career as a Professional Dancer with the Boston Ballet and was in the original and touring cast of Broadway’s Tony Award winning An American in Paris.
Bradley now brings his creativity and discipline to his clients’ homes and like all exceptional artists- he makes it look easy.
We recently interviewed Bradley to learn more about his philosophy and style.
What (or who) inspired you to become an Organizer? I think I’ve always been an organizer at heart. I have childhood memories of rearranging my room and making it look perfect. I kept my school backpack arranged by size from front to back and each class had its own folder and spiral notebook. It’s definitely the way my brain functions and it’s how I brought ease and order to everything that came my way growing up. I just happened to be doing research on continuing education and saw that organizing was a true profession. I went into a full 48-hour research hole and hadn’t been so excited about something in quite some time. When that sort of inspiration surges through you, you can’t help but follow your gut and dive head first into it. How has becoming an Organizer impacted your life? This is currently a career transition for me and I’m working on turning it from a hobby into a profession. Slowing down a dance career can be an intensely scary time and knowing that I am focusing on something that comes not only naturally to me but I absolutely love doing brings me great happiness. When I first started going into people’s homes, I sometimes thought “WHAT am I doing?!” I was with Boston Ballet for 12 years and I’ve only ever had jobs as a performer. I’ve had a very lucky career to have never had to work at a coffee shop or wait tables, so as I’m transitioning into a “normal” job, I get those butterflies in my stomach because it is something that is unfamiliar. But I slowly learned that, yes, this is what I want to be doing and I’m pretty damn good at it.
How has your past career or education tied in to becoming an Organizer?
As a ballet dancer, I functioned completely on hard work and discipline. It’s the structure of the artform, but also a necessity for being in a company. It also made me very hard on myself, but sometimes you don’t notice those things until you’re outside of the bubble. Since leaving Boston Ballet, moving to NYC, performing on Broadway and at Radio City, I’ve learned to not take myself, or what I do, too seriously. As an organizer, I still value that hard work and discipline but now the focus is on the client. I like to think that I present myself in sessions like I do on stage.
Who are your ideal clients? My clients have been mostly young, busy, working professionals. I have a lot of word-of-mouth clients from friends so that’s just how it’s turned out. I love working with them because we seem to be in the same time of our lives, so they are pretty ideal, but I get along with most every type of client. I’ve also connected with a lot of clients on social media and neighborhood apps like NextDoor, so that tends to be a younger crowd. What drives your clients to hire a professional organizer? As New Yorkers, we’re always go-go-go. We usually live in small apartments, with weird set-ups, sometimes with roommates, and we barely have time to cook, let alone organize our stuff. BUT, we’re very motivated to get our lives together! I get clients who have just moved into a new, or smaller space, or they’ve finally got their own place, so they’re looking for some help with the next step of their lives. Is there a popular season or off-season for professional organizing in New York? In New York City, pretty much every season is popular. There are so many people on different schedules so you never know when someone is going to decide when they want an organizer’s help.
Tell me a little bit about how you approach organizing-- what is your style, philosophy, do you follow certain steps, or does the client dictate your approach? My business tagline is “Order. Function. Style.”- I think that pretty much sums up the philosophy of how I work and what I do. A lot of my techniques have always come very naturally to me- one of the reasons why this profession called to me. I’ve lived in over 10 apartments in the last 15 years and I’ve always been proud to keep them organized and decorated. Keep things in order, make sure they are set up to keep in order easily, and make sure it looks good! I think I’m an easy person to work with. The first thing I always remember is that I’m in someone else’s home. And more importantly, I’m dealing with THEIR things. I ask a lot of questions and always try to figure out where they are coming from and what is going to work best for them. Some clients let me do my thing and some are very clear with what they want. I’m always up for any approach. What sorts of challenges can you help with? What opportunities are individuals likely to miss if they try to complete the organization work themselves? I’ve learned that most people are challenged with either the size or the shape of their space and the overall amount of things they have in it. Because they are dealing with their own belongings, sometimes they get overwhelmed or have trouble visualizing a way to make things work. Sometimes, I hear from clients who have already attempted and just can’t figure it out. I love coming in and giving them a new eye. Dealing with small spaces is a challenge that starts with assessing what you own, sorting, purging, and then organizing. Whether a client starts that by themselves or not, I can always help with that last step to ensure perfection. Is there anything you wish your clients knew before contacting you? My work functions in a NO JUDGEMENT zone! My goal is to make my clients feel comfortable within the first moments of speaking to or meeting with them. I hope that a potential client knows that I am very aware that I am coming into their homes, their personal and private space. And I’m always doing that with an open mind. Organizing can be an intensely therapeutic experience, and, although it can be deeply personal, I like to make it fun too.
Are there any current projects or services that you'd like to highlight?
I recently did a three-day complete organization of a home garage. It was six hours every day, with breaks here and there, and the biggest project I’ve taken on since I’ve started. The client was a bit overwhelmed at different points throughout, of course, but it was an amazing learning experience to deal with that amount of work and also working with a client on something so intense.
I also offer virtual organizing sessions which can be scheduled anytime, anywhere! With the pandemic, and New York City still having a very long way to go before returning to normal, I’m glad I can offer services and help to people who are stuck in their homes just like me.
firstname.lastname@example.org Bradley Ryan Home Organization, New York City @bradleyryanhomeorg on Social Media www.bradleyryanhomeorg.com
I offer a FREE 30-min phone consultation and Virtual Organizing sessions at a lower cost. tel: 407-620-4422 email: email@example.com