It’s easy to accumulate stuff. You find the places in your home where you store it until you can get to it later … but getting to it later never seems to come. It could be the garage, attic or an extra bedroom.
Sometimes it’s just the everyday spaces that get out of control — home offices, the kitchen pantry, master closets, the game room, your daughters bedroom.
Life is busy and without a system to keep it simple to keep organized, the stack of stuff that gets piled up can turn into an unorganized mess that leaves you feeling paralyzed. If you’re looking to get organized (and stay organized), you’ll be happy to meet Lake Travis local Whitney Hengstebeck.
Whitney’s company, A Place To Start, can help you get started with an organizing system for your home, office or business.
Lake Travis Lifestyle caught up with Whitney for some Q&A to find out more about her, her company, and what she loves about life in the Lake Travis area.
Lake Travis friends, meet Whitney Hengstebeck:
1. What’s your story? Were you helping others keep organized as a kid?
I’ve always been a very organized person, constantly reorganizing my bedroom and closet and in college I helped roommates purge and organize their closets.
When I lived in Chicago, my then boyfriend (now husband) had an aunt that organized peoples homes for a living. I was so excited that people actually did this for a living!
I started working for a Chicago organizing company called Chaos To Order until moving to Texas and started my own organizing business about 2 1/2 years after moving to Lakeway. I’m business partners with my husband’s aunt (Lisa) who works in the Chicago suburbs.
2. What do you love best about doing business in the Lake Travis area?
I have the best clients! They’re all so kind and easy to work with and are truly excited about me helping them get their homes in order. I love the idea of living and working local, which allows me to have the perfect work/home balance.
3. How did A Place To Start get started?
I knew that once my boys were in school I wanted to work but with a flexible schedule to where I could still be home with them. Since I have a passion for organizing and did it professionally in Chicago, I decided starting my own organizing company was the perfect fit for me.
I was talking about my idea with Lisa, my now business partner, who wanted to do the same thing up in Chicago. About a week after our conversation, she asked if I wanted to partner up with her, and we quickly began working on a name, building a website and created A Place To Start.
4. What kinds of clients do you work with? What problems do you help them solve?
I work with many different types of clients. Some are people who keep everything and need my assistance in sorting through what they do and don’t need, helping them to know it’s ok to get rid of things, and finding the best place to put the items they keep.
I also have clients who are already organized and have the supplies and systems in place but want to take their organizing to the next level.
The majority of my clients, however, are busy families who need some extra help (and a little push) in getting their homes organized and systems in place to help keep them that way.
5. What do you do differently than other professional organizers?
I don’t know what other organizers do or don’t do, but I always offer to take any donation items with me and drop them off where necessary and can help in selling items as well.
I make sure to listen to my clients and keep them focused and help purge without being pushy or making them feel bad.
6. What are the three things that stand out about living in Austin versus other cities you’ve lived?
1. The people are so kind and always happily willing to help those in need.
2. It’s a beautiful place to live with the trees, hills, lake and deer that roam freely.
3. It has a small town feel with big city/town amenities.
7. What are your big goals for A Place To Start?
My short-term goal for A Place To Start is to build up my clientele and see 5-6 clients/week by the time my 4 year old is in kindergarten. Eventually, I would love to be able to hire 1 or 2 additional organizers to visit clients.
8. What are some things A Place To Start does to give back to the community?
Unless a client wants them taken elsewhere, all donated items go to the Lake Travis Thrift Shop. I also donate organizing hours to local fundraisers (silent auctions).
9. What do you like best about living in the Lake Travis area?
It’s such a gorgeous place to live … I’m constantly reminding myself to never take for granted how beautiful is it here.
10. If someone is new to Austin, what do you suggest they see or do?
I still have a lot of Austin to explore myself, but I would suggest they visit Rainy Street, eat at The Grove in Lakeway with it’s beautiful views and try paddle boarding or kayaking (which is on my to-do list!) on Lake Travis.
11. What is your favorite place to drink, relax and meet with friends in the Lake Travis Area? Austin?
When it’s the whole family, any of the restaurants with playgrounds are great. We tend to frequent Flores and Angel’s Icehouse. Other favorite places are The Grove, Santa Catarina and Fore.
12. What advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting their own business?
Go for it! It can be a slow process and probably won’t be a success overnight, but continue to work hard and spread the word, and it could absolutely be successful! A great website helps too!