24 Jan The Illuminate Series: ‘The Coat Box’
Discover how one of Perth’s up and coming professional organisers, Toni Coates, started The Coat Box from being just a hobby and now a legit business!
The idea of decluttering and reorganising comes with the New Year. Removing the clutter from your home and organising your life can leave you with an environment filled with things you love and you actually use. For some of us, it somehow gives us a clean slate to start with and the idea that something is truly working for you.
Whether you have been inspired by Feng Shui, minimalism or the recent trend, the “KonMari method,” learn a thing or two from a Perth Girl boss herself:
What is ‘The Coat Box” all about? (What’s your inspiration for your business name?)
The Coat Box is a Professional Organising Business. I help people declutter and organise their homes or areas in the home where clutter and disorganisation is causing my clients stress or anxiety, or physically impeding the use of space in the home. The Business name I must admit is a little quirky! It was inspired by my surname (Coates) and my partner and kids’ surname (Box). As a family owned and run business, it just made sense – and could also sound like a kind of storage item.
What pushed you to start this kind of business?
From the first time I ever lived on my own, I became quite fussy about tidiness and organisation. This only grew as I got older and especially after I had children. When we moved into our current home, I had to become creative in the way things are stored and also somewhat ruthless with decluttering as my home has little storage available. I came to the realisation that I actually really enjoy decluttering and organising and was pretty good at it! Why not help others with their home? I know that a lot of people struggle with clutter and disorganisation so I could help others at the same time as doing something I enjoy. Also as a Mum of 3 young daughters, running my own business with hours I could make suit our lifestyle meant I could still be home on weekends and after school to spend time with my family and do all the mum stuff (like driving back and forth from dance lessons!).
How are you able to go the extra mile for your clients?
My service is a very personal one. I’m working in people’s homes with their personal belongings so a high level of respect, compassion, understanding and empathy is a must. Every one of my clients is different and every home is different. Sometimes I may need to work closely with a client who suffers from mental or physical illness or perhaps with a client who has lost a spouse or loved one. Or maybe it’s a time poor family who are overwhelmed and just need some help and support. I’m a naturally friendly person so I find that after the initial questions, I like to just chat with my clients, listen to them and try my best to relate to them and their situation. In any, job it’s necessary to maintain a level of professionalism but it’s also ok to share something of yourself!
What are the struggles you encountered in building your business along the way and how did you overcome these?
Well! Funny story – when I started working on putting my business together I got unexpectedly pregnant with my 3rd child! This put the brakes on for a couple of years but I stayed focused and continued trying to learn as much as I could for when I could “officially” start work. I’ve now been in business for 2 years.
Also as a business run from home and on a budget I opted to build my own website – this was a big learning curve! I managed to get it sorted though and with some great advice from a wonderful client on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) my site is now ranking high on Google search and this has improved my business exponentially!
Please share some valuable tips to our readers about decluttering and organising.
If you’re considering doing some decluttering and organising, depending on the time available and how motivated you are, start with the area that most frustrates you, or is most pressing – such as a cluttered kitchen that you have trouble working in, or a wardrobe where you have trouble finding what you’re looking for!
For those who are more hesitant or overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, maybe find something smaller, a drawer or just one of the kitchen cupboards. Then it doesn’t take as long and the visible results can boost your confidence and motivation.
Very importantly, go into any project with the aim to declutter first, then organise the items left back into the storage space. Try not to keep buying more and more storage as this can actually add to the clutter.
Don’t be afraid of empty space! People often see empty space and have the urge to fill it with something, don’t get pulled in by this feeling, instead, look at the space and try to appreciate it, one day you may need it.
Last but definitely not least, don’t be afraid to seek help, there are professional organisers all over Australia (and the world). Our professional Industry body IOPO (Institute of Professional Organisers International) has a database on their website you can search to find an organiser in your area.
The future ahead of you is dark. You are holding a ‘magic light bulb’, which has the power to illuminate any part in your future. (Means you can take a peek of your future) What part are you seeing?
Oh this is a hard one – there’s so much I’d love to see! My hope is that I could look forward to a time in the future when my business is still strong and successful, my family is happy and healthy and my daughters are growing up into smart, sensible and strong young women – one of the other big reasons for starting my business is to help support my family and be a good role model for my girls, so I’m really hoping this is in that illuminated future!
Organising and decluttering go far beyond improving the aesthetics of your home or work space. It’s essential to both your physical and mental wellbeing. Find a way (and time) to start somewhere and just like what Toni said, if you’re not sure where to start, find something smaller. You got this!