Life in Jeneral: Cali’s Own Marie Kondo
When Jen Robin got a job as a celebrity assistant she knew she had to step up her organization game stat. She began creating systems to categorize and organize different aspects of her client’s busy life, which got her wondering how she could supply this kind of service for everyone, not just one person.
Soon she was helping her friends and family members revamp their own lives. She continually saw how the organization process helped to relieve stress and how creating sustainable systems for her clients were boosting them towards their best life. She was sold. She knew she had to explore this idea further.
Within six months her concept went from a vision to a launched website and actual company (albeit a one-woman team). Now, almost three years later, her business, which she named Life in Jeneral, is based in Manhattan Beach and employs 15 people who regularly travel coast to coast helping their clients move, renovate their homes and/or workplaces and who can even help tackle the arduous task of online cleaning!
We caught up with Jen to talk all things organization. Because, like my grandma always said, an organized house means an organized mind. (Jen agrees.)
Why do you think people have such an attachment to things?
There can be a lot of reasons why people feel attached to things: how much it costs, sentimental value, feelings of guilt or wastefulness, or thinking they may eventually need it one day. There are always newer and better things and people get caught up in the next thing.
So then, how do you help people learn to let go of such things?
We always suggest watching our favorite documentary “Minimalism” just to get a different perspective on what is important. We’re not trying to make people give up everything, we just want everything to serve a purpose and make their lives better. It’s hard to explain why we have these feelings towards certain physical things, but what we try to teach is that we must live in the moment right now, and to think on a larger scale as to what is important and how we can simplify day-to-day life. By getting rid of those things that clutter our spaces and minds we allow ourselves to live a more fulfilled life and have more space for memories, time and the things we deem important. It is a different process for everyone (and some are not yet ready) but whether it’s a quick throwaway or patiently listening to the stories that go along with the items before donating them, we try and adjust to our clients needs and give them the push that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
What’s your favorite thing about helping others to declutter?
Our process gets worse before it gets better, so it is always exciting when our client sees the end result. I actually enjoy the whole process, but a happy client is always my favorite part! When we receive an email or text saying that we have changed their lives we always count that as a win.
How does de-cluttering help alleviate stress in one’s life?
Decluttering is all about getting rid of things that no longer serve a purpose in your life. It helps to focus on one thing and not have unnecessary items cluttering your space, ultimately cluttering your mind.
What tips do you have for organizing your home?
Take it one space, or even one section, at a time. Try to create one space for each thing, instead of scattering it/them throughout a household, i.e. put all the markers together, all the batteries, etc. It will be easier to maintain, as well as easier to know where everything is!
What’s a typical day like for you?
I usually get up around 5:30am and go straight to the gym for an hour (unless I need an extra hour of sleep!). I try to get an hour or so of emails and phone calls in and then head to a job around 9am (picking up coffee on the way). We are usually at a job for around six hours and a stop at The Container Store somewhere in there is typical. This is followed by a consultation or two and more emails and phone calls. I try to make dinner, walk my pup Charlie, and head to bed around 11pm on a good night!
What does the future hold for Life in Jeneral?
Life in Jeneral continues to inspire me to set bigger and better goals. I want Life in Jeneral to continue to evolve and be able to touch as many lives as we possibly can. If that is by writing a book or expanding, I don’t know. But we will always strive to be a better and more well rounded company and will continue to grow as a whole. We really do have the best team in the world!
Describe that team.
My team members are all really close with each other now. We do weekly dinners and support each other in every aspect, not just “at work.” It’s been pretty magical to watch, and more importantly, to feel. I really believe the saying “When you surround yourself with people who reflect who you want to be and how you want to feel, energies are contagious.” We love each other and just have the most fun daily. I wouldn’t want it any other way and I am so proud that we care for each other the same way we care for our clients.