Alejandra Costello Bio

Alright, I confess…I am obsessed with organization. In the same way that some people are sports fanatics or avid readers, I’ve always loved to organize. However, I didn’t start my “official” organizing journey until 2007.

Although I have been organized my whole life, I never had effective systems in place or an easy to follow maintenance plan. (There is a big difference between being organized and being organized with effective systems and a plan.) I spent a lot of time ‘figuring it out’ and wondering if I was even headed in the right direction.

Then, a couple of life events finally guided me toward becoming a Certified Professional Organizer (yes, that is a real title). And now, I get to do what I love – sharing my story and proven organizing systems with those who truly need them.

 

Read my full story:

In 2007, I moved from my home in Maryland to Virginia. I thought I could just move in, unpack and be settled. With my “fresh start” I believed I would be organized for life. All of the specifics of time management, systems, maintenance, and routines would somehow magically come together. HAHA! Looking back, I can laugh now – I was so naive! I guess it’s common to believe this though…

Once I was unpacked and moved in to my new place I found myself constantly trying new ways to organize and new systems to setup (at the time, I had just learned what a system was). When one didn’t work, I’d try again, and so on, and so on. It’s as if I couldn’t mentally relax and feel calm until I was content with my physical surroundings. I just knew there had to be a better way to organize something if I wasn’t satisfied.

It took me about a year to learn that organizing is so much more than putting your stuff away. It’s about creating a productive lifestyle that results in clarity and order which leads to feelings of calmness and peacefulness. The truth is, if you don’t know how to organize yourself both physically and mentally, you won’t be as productive as you can be.

Looking back at 2007, I was searching for clarity in my own life and I couldn’t achieve it until my physical surroundings were peaceful and calm. There is an old adage that says ‘a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind’ and the same holds true for ‘a clear desk is a sign of a clear mind’. Once my surroundings were peaceful, I felt peaceful and could then focus on what I really wanted.

Once I figured out how to repeatedly setup fool-proof organizing systems that were actually EASY and FUN to setup and maintain, the light bulb went off. I knew deep down inside of me, I had to share all of the secrets I discovered with others. I had finally found my life purpose. I finally realized the reason I was put in this universe – to show others how to be productive and organized so they too can feel calm and be clear in their personal and professional life. That’s when I started my business.

Once I discovered my true life purpose and began my business, it was time to move again. (You mean to tell me after a full year of organizing your new space, you picked up and moved? YES!)

At the time, it was difficult. I was moving from a brand new luxury apartment with a city view and stainless steel appliances to the top floor apartment of a home built in the 1920s with no dishwasher, central air or washer and dryer, not to mention the storage space was absolutely minimal. That same year I also traded my brand new 2007 red BMW 335i for a 2004 black Honda Accord.

I know you’re probably wondering why I moved and why I traded in my car. Well…

There are two reasons why I changed my life:

  • Once I got clear and discovered my true purpose in life, which is to inspire others to live a more productive life, I knew I was on the wrong career path working as an IT engineer in the corporate world. I just felt it. I trusted the universe had a bigger plan for me and I knew I needed to make a drastic change which would require me to take a temporary pay cut. I knew I couldn’t immediately replace my high-paying six-figure job starting my very first company, so as a natural planner, I minimized my monthly expenses which required me to move and sell my car.
  • The other reason I switched my home and car is because I learned that material possessions do not increase your long-term happiness. I’ll say it again, material possessions, such as a really expensive car or a luxurious home, do not increase your long-term happiness. You can be just as happy living in a 1920′s apartment with no dishwasher, central air or washer and dryer as you can be living in a luxurious brand new apartment with granite and stainless steel appliances. You see, material possessions satisfy ‘instant gratification’ not long-term happiness which is what the majority of us are secretly seeking (this is another story in itself but I’ll leave it at that for now).

But the challenges had just begun.

Once I made the move to the ‘stink-bug house’ (Ed (my fiancé) and I called it the stink bug house because stink bugs would come inside through the AC units in the window), I was left with another challenge – organizing with small, tiny, minuscule closets and unique architecture (random slants in the wall, shallow shelves, etc).

It was an organizer’s nightmare! If you’ve seen closets or architecture from the 1920′s then you understand. The dimensions of the spaces are bizarre, making it a challenge to use day in and day out. I still remember contemplating the closet over and over and Googling “how do you organize a small space”“best way to organize an old closet”“how to organize a deep closet with a shallow doorway”“how to convince my landlord he needs to invest in new closets!”.

I did my research, I did my shopping and I even asked around. Here’s the problem, I couldn’t find the answer. There was no formula that I could use over and over to overcome this obstacle that was in front of me. If you know me well, you know I don’t give up – regardless of what happens, what situation I’m in, I never give up. I always find the answer or meet the goal I’m seeking.

At times I felt so frustrated, I just wanted to quit and move back to my old apartment that had two large closets, one of which was a walk-in.

I knew turning around and going back to my old life wasn’t an option so I made it my divine duty to take each challenge ahead of me and turn them into opportunities. It was an opportunity to figure out a process, an exact science, that I could use each and every time I needed to setup a fool-proof organizing system. I wanted each step to be extremely easy and repeatable – a process that would work in any space regardless of the size or architecture. I worked day in and day out to come up with a process, that works like magic.

Since then, I’ve used this process to successfully (and beautifully) organize hundreds of spaces with an end goal of being more productive while feeling less stressed and calmer. It works each and every time without fail.

I’ve spent almost 5 years figuring this stuff out on my own. It’s cost me my blood, sweat and tears to FINALLY understand everything I need to do to start living productively with clarity. When I say blood, sweat and tears, I literally mean blood, sweat and tears (gaining/losing 20 lbs, sacrificing personal relationships and even a 3-day trip to the hospital). I still remember times I wanted to give up and had to literally push myself to continue – the beginning was pretty rough. However, looking back it was totally worth it.

I have since made a commitment to dedicate the rest of my life to helping people become more productive by setting up effective systems in their home and daily life.

 

I’m a big believer in organizing your life so you can achieve your dreams.

Just look at some of the cool things I’ve been able to accomplish:

  • I started my organizing practice at the young age of 23. By 24, I had my first publication as an organizing expert in a local women’s journal (I still remember how excited I was the first time I was published!).
  • By 25, I was named one of Washington DC’s most creative and innovative woman entrepreneurs by CRAVE DC and also won ‘Organizer of the Month’, an online award for professional organizers across the country. During the same year, my creative organizing tips were featured in Family Circle, Woman’s Day, The Washington Post Express and The Washington Times.
  • At age 26, I became one of only a few Certified Professional Organizers® in the country. During the same year, I did my first TV interview as an expert on organizing your dorm room on NewsChannel8′s ‘Let’s Talk Live’ morning show.
  • To date, my “how-to” organizing videos have been watched over two million times on YouTube and I’ve shared my organizing expertise with thousands of people in every state in the US and in 100 countries around the world. Most recently I was named 1 of 5 Most Organized People in America by HGTV.

And finally, here are 12 fun-facts about me (not sure why I chose 12, I just did):

  • Although I love the color pink, I’m the opposite of a ‘girly-girl’. My Bachelor’s degree is in Information Technology and I spent my younger years building, fixing and programming computers. In the past few years, I’ve even discovered a passion for working with power tools (I love Home Depot) and one of my goals in life is to learn how to build a house.
  • I’m an INFJ on the Myers-Briggs personality test.
  • I absolutely LOVE to bake (cooking, not so much). If you moved to my neighborhood, I would be the person that came over to introduce myself and welcome you to the neighborhood with cookies or my famous chocolate chip banana walnut bread. I also love making food art in my spare time.
  • I am marrying my best friend, Ed, of 5 years in 2013. Since we aren’t traditional people, we aren’t planning a large wedding. Instead we plan to travel around the world for 2 months. We are still planning the trip but some of the places we really want to visit include: The Maldives, Spain, Italy, Greece, Ireland, and France.
  • I was born cross-eyed but thanks to my parents and the technology in 1984, I now have 20/20 vision. I’m also left-handed, left-brain dominant but very creative which is an unusual combination.
  • I’m a strong believer that when your faith is stronger than your fear, your dreams come to reality.
  • I was raised in a very humble loving family. My mom is Colombian and my dad is Italian – I speak Spanish (not fluently – but I can get by). I have an older sister and am a proud aunt to the best niece and nephew, Nicholas and Lilianna.
  • I’m a foodie at heart and LOVE to eat. I love pizza, goat cheese, avocado, pudding, crème brûlée, ice cream, and cereal.
  • 3 words to describe me: creative, goofy, fun-loving. Once you get to know me, you’ll see I have a very quirky personality and love things that are silly and funny. The best days are the days I spend laughing at myself or at dry-humored jokes.
  • The only TV I watch is Wheel of Fortune or re-runs of Seinfeld.
  • If I won the lottery today, I would still do everything I’m doing now. I genuinely love helping people and plan to never stop sharing my gift with others. There is so much personal satisfaction in changing people’s lives for the better.
  • I absolutely love and adore poodles! We have a red toy poodle named Mojo (she’s our company mascot, haha).

I am dedicated to helping you.

As you read through the website, watch the videos, and get to know me better, you’ll realize how dedicated I am to helping you succeed in clearing the clutter. And, when you sign up for my Power Productivity Program, I’ll be able to help you directly as I respond to questions on our members-forum every week.

 

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