Noticing Neighbors Rosemary Lovan
Rosemary Lovan is the owner of Inspired Spaces, and she brings professional organizing systems to where they’re needed most. She describes how she has been naturally working this position for a long time, and it all clicked when it came to the entrepreneur space. With results-centered practices and a priority to build trust with her clients, her company clears old habits and makes spaces feel new. I got the chance to sit down with Rosemary Lovan and learn more about her business.
Hayley: For our readers, could you introduce yourself and just what you do as a business? Rosemary:
Awesome. So I'm Rosemary Lovan. I started Inspired Spaces. It is a professional organizing company, and we help individuals, both residential and in businesses, get their life organized. So it could be anything from a closet, to a garage, warehouse, or organizing a promotional display to showcase a business.
Really, the idea behind it is to create a space that feels good and it's really inviting and is also functional.
I’m hearing two parts to that, from what you just mentioned. Focusing on one part, you said that the organization services are for a space being functional.
That's a professional skill set. Where did you start to learn that skill set of making a space functional and optimizing it?
Yeah, funny story. It started before I was aware, when I was a child. So a lot of people don't know this. I'm a CODA, which stands for Child of Deaf Adults. My parents are deaf.
I'm the oldest, my next sister is deaf, my next sister has developmental disabilities, and then there was the baby. It was always chaotic, literally always. Hayley: I hear you. What did that home look like?
Piles of dishes undone, laundry, and late to everything.
So I was asked to do a lot of those organizational things when I was younger or at least, like, help. I remember being eight years old and asked to go do the dishes. And you'd think, like, oh, put them in the dishwasher!
Well, we didn't have one, and there were six of us. It would take a whole day, and they were everywhere. Hayley:
How did you handle that?
Initially, my response was to avoid and procrastinate. As a kid, you don't really get a choice. I had to learn how to break it down and systematize it, so that mentally I could handle it.
So you’re understanding of how someone could get to that point. Taking that experience and translating it to where you are now, how do the steps you learned help you in your work now?
Well, now I can walk into a space, and I don't have a complete meltdown. When it's chaotic, it still stresses me out like everybody else. It does raise our cortisol, and it's hard to make sense of what's going on. So I just go with what I've always done. I start with one thing, and keep breaking it down. Then after a while, the plan for a space comes together.
This applies to anything I've done in work, in management or projects, you just learn to break it down into small chunks and just do it and not overthink it.
Is there any specific time where you really saw a difference in the systems being used by a client after working with you?
Yeah, probably a couple of different examples. One of my first clients, I was able to really relate to her.
She was with kids and a spouse, and they weren't all necessarily on board. We needed to process the system together, and that really made a huge difference.
We were able to engage the whole family. It helped them understand how the kids were able to place things back in the pantry by setting things up at their level. They knew where to go to put items away, or to choose one.
Same with their bedroom, just breaking it down to make it easy to use. It was really fun to see that it was a family transformation, not just her, because it was affecting her more than anybody.
So she needed this family on board.
Hayley: That brings us to that other part you mentioned earlier, which is that there is an emotional aspect when you walk into a space and don't feel a sense of calm. What are some steps when you're first starting to work with a client? Because there may be some embarrassment, or a feeling of being at the end of their rope to then reach out to you.
Yeah, that actually is huge. A lot of people I talk to have this feeling that they need to do something before they can let me come in.
Right. Rosemary: Like, they have to clean up, or they can't call me until they get it to a level that's tolerable or less embarrassing. So I always start with a phone or Zoom consultation so that we can first work on developing a rapport. It’s building trust, and also making sure: is there synergy here? Because you’re going to invite me into a very personal space, and that is the reality.
I uncover things. Like, I had a client who was an author of a book, and she was embarrassed that I saw her book from ten years ago. Or what is inside the drawers next to people's beds, things like that. I find it’s good to reassure people that, oh my gosh, we're all human, and this is confidential.
We're in springtime, right? Everybody may be starting to think about organization a bit more.
Now that it's time to get out, and get things a little bit more organized, what would be some of your tips for our readers as they’re looking into it?
I try to remind people that it is normal for everybody to get disorganized to some degree. It happens to everybody, including me.
So we all need periodic refreshes. Don't wallow in that guilt or shame, just start small. Then keep coming back to it, so that they don't overthink it.
Sometimes we get in this head space of: I need to have an entire plan, or do it all at once. Instead, I love the idea of just going in with five minutes a day, Committing to do this for five minutes each day, and then you start building that repetition. It becomes habitual, and you're not so caught up in this cognitive overwhelm. Just start with, like, one drawer.
And then at five minutes, stop yourself.
Hayley: Yeah, definitely.
Another tip I like to tell people is to prepare before you get started. There's almost always going to be trash, donations, giveaways and things that need to be relocated, meaning stuff ended up in the wrong part of the house. I like to have little bags or boxes for each, set them up and be prepared for that. That doesn't mean you have to put everything away all at once. But it keeps you focused on that one space. I'm organizing here, I don’t need to walk everywhere, I am just pulling this stuff out.
Hayley: What changes have you seen in your clients when you work with them?
Part of it is the release, right. Of feeling like, okay, we've taken back some control and we don't feel like the environment is controlling us.
So that's part of it. Then also helping them get through the hard part, which is the starting. I've had a lot of clients where they don't necessarily hire me to do everything. They hire me to get started, and then guide them.
So it turns into more of a coaching, and I'll come work with them in short bursts and get them started, give them some homework, and they do it. Then as they're doing it, they feel confident because they're not sitting there asking themselves: well, what should I do? I've already given them some framework so they feel more confident.
Through your position and this profession that you're in, how have you seen goodness? How have you been impacted positively by your work?
That's a good one. This work has really, I think, taken me out of my bubble. It has introduced me to different kinds of people, whether it's in a professional context, like other professionals, or individuals.
Seeing transformations in people is really inspiring. This sounds crazy, but it's almost inspiring to myself like: I did this. I get excited sometimes thinking, wow, I can't believe that we started here and this is what we did. Because I was a newer entrepreneur a couple of years ago, and professional organizing was a big leap for me to get into. Hayley: Why was it a leap? Rosemary: Because it's like, we're not always good at recognizing what we're naturally good at. It just felt natural.
I felt like I needed to prove myself. So having that experience, just doing it and being able to talk to other people and be like, if I can do it, you can do it, and we're all going to be better for it. I think that's the most exciting part. The whole point for me is improving quality of life, it's not about perfection. That's not the goal. It's: Does this work for you? Are you feeling lighter, and more in your own zone? If I can help people get there, that makes me feel good.