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Check Out Julie Starke’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Starke.

Julie, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I worked in health care, as a Registered Dietitian for 35 years. I enjoyed working at a Veterans Administration (VA) hospital, where I worked with in-patients as well as veterans living in the community that came to us as out-patients. I also worked in 3 grocery stores as a retail dietitian. In this setting, I developed recipes for quick and healthy meals, taught cooking classes, and developed and led a Diabetes Support Group, in addition to many other things. I loved the variety this setting provided!

I then became interested in the correlation of body weight and clutter. After doing much reading, including “Lose the Clutter, Lose the Weight”, by Peter Walsh, I felt that I could help clients “lighten up” their lives by getting rid of unused possessions.

I have always loved to help others declutter and organize. The satisfaction and relief that they felt following the process was very rewarding to me. I also got a taste of clearing out an entire home when my parents died.

I was at a crossroads at the time. I was enjoying spending time with my grandchildren, but I wasn’t quite ready to retire. So I started my business, “Keys to Living Light”. It provides me the opportunity to spend time with family and do this rewarding work I love!

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I have learned, like many entrepreneurs, that it takes hard work to start and build a business. My father started a grocery business from the ground up. He was very successful. But, there were lean years. I have learned to be patient in developing a clientele.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a residential organizer. As such, I help my clients declutter and organize the spaces in their homes. The key here is to create systems that can be maintained with minimal effort. Part of what I do is to teach the client (and family, if applicable), how to maintain the organized space. I do offer a maintenance package, if desired, which includes a visit from me 3-4 times per year to spruce things up. In addition to organizing, I also offer help with moving, which in many cases means downsizing. It just doesn’t make sense to move items that are not being used. Chances are great that those items will sit in boxes at the new residence for years. Many seniors downsizing simply don’t have space in their new home.

I can assist with packing and unpacking. I love to help set up clients new homes. With a great deal of experience in kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, closets ,and children’s play areas, I can help clients make the best use of their space.

I also offer real estate staging. I love to help clients make changes in their homes, so they are able to sell quickly and for a maximum profit. Again, much of this involves decluttering. Buyers need to see the home, not excessive furniture and decor. Many, many times fresh neutral paint brings value up exponentially! I am a Master Color Consultant. As such, I help clients find the perfect shade of paint to accentuate their current floor, countertops, cabinets, etc.

Staging is also a wonderful finishing touch after organizing a space. Who doesn’t like a fresh, new look?
Finally, I offer redesign services. Changing the look of a space, using existing items is challenging and rewarding. Moving items from one area to another is a trick used in retail displays all the time. Items that were once ignored, now pop with new life. Here is another time we may look Into a fresh paint color.

I offer a variety of services. However, they all seem to tie together beautifully.

What were you like growing up?
I am a first born, girl, always striving for perfection. My mother used to tell me she would rather see me get a “B” once in a while and enjoy some free time! I was a dancer and played the piano. My piano teacher took me to church to learn to play the organ. I don’t remember making that decision. But, it worked out. I was a church organist for many years.

I grew up in a family of workers. As I mentioned before, my dad started a grocery store when I was young. At the time of his death, he had 4 stores. I was a cashier before I could reach the register. That’s what milk crates are for!

I do appreciate the work ethic that was instilled in me as a child. Now, my husband is the one who says I should relax once in a while.

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Image Credits
Seth Hannula

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