CORONAVIRUS

Professional organizer hopes Hodgepodge of Helpfulness can bring order in a chaotic time

'There is an visual obvious before and after,' Jenny Barnett says

Jenny Barnett is photographed at her home in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. Last fall, Barnett started her own
Jenny Barnett is photographed at her home in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. Last fall, Barnett started her own business as a professional organizer, Hodgepodge of Helpfulness, but the pandemic is threatening her ability to survive. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Jenny Barnett wanted more control over her schedule.

She spent many years working in the human services field managing programs for children and families, including at a food bank, at residential facilities, and at a youth shelter.

“It had gotten harder in recent years in the field due to funding issues,” she said.

“I was working 60 hours a week sometimes. I am a single mom, so that didn’t work well for me.”

So Barnett tapped into her organizing skills and started her own business so she could spend more time with her daughter.

After completing online courses, Barnett got a certification in Professional Organizing and launched Hodgepodge of Helpfulness, working with clients to provide organizing and decluttering services since.

“I also help people develop chore charts, and offer kid events and workshops related to streamlining your life,” she said.

Its satisfying work because the results are tangible, Barnett said.

“I love seeing the progress that clients make,” she said, noting “there is an obvious visual before and after of what we do when I help organize.”

Each project starts with a client consultation.

“That is either in person or virtual. We go through some general questions about their current organizational concerns and we make a goal,” she said.

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“I teach some foundational organizational tips and then we break things down into an individualized plan.”

Barnett said the next step either is her working one on one with the client in the home or connecting virtually to meet those goals.

“And I provide follow up to my services because this adds an accountability piece. It helps clients to stay on task or refocus if they have gotten off track.”

Barnett believes that her 18 years spent working in human services helped prepare her for her current role.

“I have a better understanding of how to help people where they are at and understand that each client needs an individualized plan,” she said.

“I am able to suggest resources within the community that may not necessarily relate to decluttering a home as well.”

It’s not surprising that a professional organizer would be organized about how she works her business.

“I have Marketing Mondays were I focus on my online presence,” said Barnett of her typical work week. “Tuesdays are for mail and paperwork. Wednesdays I reach out to prospective clients.

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“Thursdays I focus on professional development, and I have Financial Fridays where I work on all my financials.”

As her business still is relatively young — Hodgepodge of Helpfulness officially launched in October — Barnett said she continues to network and building up a customer base.

“Getting my name out there and finding customers has been what I spent most of my time doing to get started,” she said.

Unfortunately, the current state of the world has greatly impacted her efforts.

“My business has come to almost a complete standstill due to the pandemic,” she said. “I have had a couple of virtual sessions, but not as many as I need.

“I am not sure what my business will look like in the coming weeks and months. But I am learning things on my own and being very resourceful.”

A number of small business in the Corridor are up and running. If you know of one you think might make for an intriguing “My Biz” feature, let us know by way of michaelchevy.castranova@thegazette.com.

At a glance

• Owner: Jenny Barnett

• Business: Hodgepodge of Helpfulness

• Address: Cedar Rapids

• Phone: (319) 310-9953

• Website: hodgepodgeofhelpfulness.com

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