“You make everything brighter by your sheer presence.”
JOC – San Francisco, CA
“Sharon has made all our moves (many) easier on us. On the occasions when we had big moving companies pack and unpack for us, I would end up calling Sharon to came in to redo, streamline, bring comfort and sense to placement. When we decided to do a major remodel in our Southern California desert home, Sharon worked with our architect to assist in the design of my studio, to meet the needs she knew I would have (after working with me for so many years on so many projects). I spent a lot of time in that studio because it was so functional, beautiful and a wonderful space to be productive and creative in.
Over the 25 plus years I have worked with Sharon, she has saved me time after time, getting various professional licenses renewed on time, getting tax documents together, up-dating all my information from addresses books to trust documents.
When Sharon would come to our various out-of-town locations to work with me, she would be hard at work long after I retired for the night. She knew me, knew how I wanted things done, she was “brilliant” as I would tell her and watch her blush!”
EMcA –Atheron and Indian Wells, CA
“Losing my wife to cancer too early in life was a painful ordeal. The thought of going through her personal effects, household items, furniture, accessories and personal financial records was not something I was open to doing while grieving the loss of my wife.”
“After a couple of years, with some urging from my son and friends, I contacted Sharon Kristensen Demere of Organization Plus to aid me through the process. She not only gently guided my son and myself through the process of distributing my wife’s personal effects to family and friends, she found the “right” charities to donate many items (charities that my wife would have wanted her things to go to). Sharon also found the right resources to purchase many of the household items (furniture, accessories, art, kitchenware, etc.), something I did not even consider to be a possibility at the start of the project.”
“Sharon thoughtfully and thoroughly guided my son and myself through a painful process, making it less painful and got the project done. I could not have asked for a more resourceful, sensitive project manager – hands-on organizer to take on a project of this kind and complete it successfully with more care and kindness.”
GvL – San Francisco, CA
Of all the times I’ve told you how much I value your brilliance and resourcefulness, yesterday was among the best. Nothing particular, but the totality of your dedication is awesome and much appreciated.”
JOC – San Francisco, CA
“When someone helps your child take a significant step towards a goal, no number of “thank you’s” are enough. You have helped our daughter make room for the new in her life, in both a physical and metaphysical sense. We are eternally grateful! You really are a treasure and we’re so fortunate to know you.”
On-Going Client – JMH, San Francisco, CA
“With OP, it is not a matter of giving someone directions. OP creates the template, the plan, the process and then guides you and directs you from A to Z. For example, you purchase a property and want to renovate it. OP has the experience, contacts and systems to make that remodeling project happen. Sharon is the project manager and client advocate with your contractor, architect and subcontractors….Sharon knows the questions to ask before a project becomes a headache. She has experience and top-level resources. Why solve a problem if you can avoid one instead?”
CSZ, Palo Alto, CA
“Every time I consider ways to cut expenses as retirement approaches, I realize that OP is one service I simply don’t want to eliminate. For more than 20 years, Sharon has played an important part in everything I have done work-wise. From creating systems for paperwork and personal finance when I was in corporate management through all phases of my new business start-up, she has provided an extraordinary level of support. If there were a Nobel Prize for project management, I would nominate Sharon! She listens like a therapist, coaches like Bill Walsh and keeps her word like Mother Teresa.”
“Ms. Kristensen’s vision, attention to detail and ability to inspire clients are unmatched… Sharon goes well beyond the requirements of a project. She deals with details, minutia really. All the pesky little pebble-in-the-shoe things that can pop up later to unravel all you set out to accomplish. She is the very best at what she does. As an entrepreneur focused on inventing and designing, I am delighted to leave all that to Sharon and concentrate on what I love.”
“Sharon, you are the BEST organizer and packer on the planet!!! I wish you had packed for D, he is already missing stuff, like khakis he forgot. So much for “traveling light”, hah!”
“Thanks for keeping me on track with my priorities.”
On-Going Client JOC, San Francisco, CA
“When you are going through a divorce, you have lots of emotional and financial issues on your plate. It’s great to have someone who’s discreet and respectful of your choices to help you get through a very, very tough time in your life. For me, Sharon Kristensen was masterful.”
CH, San Jose, CA
“Close to 20 years ago, I first hired Sharon to organize my specialty art business. I was a sole proprietor, running very lean without much support and needed to get systems in place – organizing files, client records, accounting, monthly and yearend financial reports, a reordering system for retail clients, just about everything you can imagine for a start up. Sharon built a system that makes sense to me and – this is key – to other people looking for information… You come away from the experience with a different sort of confidence. You realize that you didn’t even know you could be so organized.”
CMS, Palo Alto, CA
“We have worked with Sharon for over three decades. Our records were in disarray. Sharon organized our business records and our home files, helped with our vacation home rental, working with vendors and property managers, and so much more!
After 35 years in our previous home, Sharon helped pack, move, unpack and place our things in our new home. Over the years, she assisted me to downsize, giving precious family possessions to our children, donating or selling other things.
With a family member’s long term illness, she was our advocate with doctors, hospitals and other medical providers. She was an advocate with our attorney and assisted with all of the estate details.
Over the years Sharon has recommended excellent professional resources. She has helped each of our children from time to time as well. She has made a huge difference in our lives, making easy what, for most of us, is very difficult and stressful.”
ES – Alamo, CA
Sharon will be happy to ask a client to share their thoughts about Sharon’s work if you are interested in working with Sharon and have a particular area of expertise you need assistance with, that may not be covered in the Testimonials above or the Case Histories below.
From Corporate Life to Entrepreneurial Adventure
For individuals accustomed to the structure and support of a corporation or professional firm, the shift to an entrepreneurial venture can be highly taxing and stressful. Sharon knows how to help such clients manage their transition with needs assessments, system design and business set-up.
An experienced corporate executive took early retirement and launched a retail business. In the absence of a support staff and corporate services-including legal, insurance, accounting, office management, banking, taxes, records retention and archiving-the new business owner turned to Organization Plus® to create support for the back-of-the-business requirements of the retail operations.
During start up, Sharon worked closely with the client to determine priority needs, identify subcontractors and provide hands-on support to create office systems to free up the new entrepreneur to drive the creative engine. The client valued Sharon’s ability to provide confidential service and handle the administrative details.
As the business developed, the client had Sharon assume additional responsibilities for ongoing administration, systems installation and budget and inventory management. Now in their seventh year of business, the client looks to Sharon for overseeing the design and installation of an upgraded accounting and inventory management system.
Transitioning to Active Retirement
Organization Plus® provides project support and services for individuals experiencing changing personal circumstances. Whether forced out of the corporate cocoon or moving on due to retirement or an entrepreneurial urge, people seek structure for their new venture or enterprise.
For a professional community leader readying for retirement, Sharon provided the plan and project management for wrapping up a period marked by social and philanthropic activity and transition to a new life focused on artistic pursuits. She organized the relocation and set-up of the client’s home and art studio/business office, as well as the “clean-up, clear-out, finish-up” activity of the prior residence and community obligations.
Using an approach similar to a residential construction project, Sharon organized the process to benefit the client, with new systems, personal archives, specialized planning for art collections, space needs and technology requirements… even a personal gift-wrapping center to support the client’s new priorities.
A Stress-free Home Renovation
A successful Silicon Valley executive purchased a new residence with the intention of making major changes prior to taking occupancy. Following unsuccessful meetings and false starts with designers and contractors, the property owner contacted Organization Plus® in search of guidance and assistance in getting the project on track.
Sharon created a three-part plan for organizing the home remodel, including a planning phase, advocacy and project management during construction and managing the move-in.
During the planning phase, Sharon organized the household in preparation for construction, with detailed plans for decluttering and deciding on discards prior to the move. She also reviewed design and construction plans to ensure that the new space would accommodate the client’s lifestyle and belongings.
During design and construction, Sharon managed the project through each phase, providing hands-on assistance with the move-out, budget and schedule oversight and communication about daily progress. She served as advocate for the homeowners with contractors, local city agencies and neighbors to ensure an optimal outcome through planning and communication.
Following construction, Sharon directed the move-in, overseeing the unpacking and situating of the household in the remodeled residence. With her expert attention to detail, Sharon added value in the design installation and management of schedules and budgets. The result? A highly satisfied client, now in residence.
A Client Renovates Their Home
When a Northern California family undertook a substantial home renovation, OP delivered a project plan and implementation focused on client advocacy that resulted in an extraordinarily successful outcome.
“We were naive about what we were taking on. Living in our house while the kitchen and bathroom were being gutted and two rooms extended, continuing to run my business, juggling the needs of our three kids and everyday life. I was being pulled in all directions,” the client recalls.
On-site to manage ongoing business projects, Sharon observed the client’s distress and recommended OP organize the renovation.
From the architect’s drawings and contractor’s plans, she created detailed room-by-room project plans and checklist for construction and interior design, which proved invaluable throughout the 18-month project.
As the renovation proceeded, OP guided the process, detailing agreements and timelines to keep the project focused and on budget.
“When you take on a project as massive as home remodeling, you don’t even know all the questions to ask. In our case, OP encouraged us to look at our kitchen plans differently. Where, for instance, will we prepare food? Serve guests? How should cabinets be placed? By taking into account our lifestyle, OP helped us make adjustments before construction began.”
Armed with timely, appropriate information, the homeowners (and OP) met with contractors and designers. “Sharon makes the overwhelming tasks possible to manage. We weren’t constantly digging for details.” At every meeting, the data was available and the open issues prioritized and highlighted.
“She kept me on task, paying attention to what needed to be done to ensure that the project proceeded smoothly. Sharon made sure that the results would be what we wanted. Early on she recognized that it would be our family – not the contractor, the interior decorators, the subs or anyone else – who must live with those decisions.”
Taking copious notes, OP provided step-by-step oversight and documentation, freeing the clients to concentrate on immediate priorities and attending to daily activities. As a result, construction delays and misunderstandings – and stress on the entire family – were minimized.
The client recognized a unique contribution by OP to the project’s successful outcome. “In any remodel, you invest so much time, money and energy. Having someone on your side, tracking all the important details and protecting your interests, is critically important.”
A remodel is a big learning curve. You are making choices about every detail. With OP, you have an experienced expert who knows where to go for what you’ll need, the pros and cons of different sources and the people who follow through. It saves you headaches, as well as time.
The benefits in improved efficiently of retaining OP, according to the client, are that “it saves you a couple of years with your family. It allows you to still lead a relatively normal life.”
Organizing a Home
For some clients, acquiring the services of Organization Plus® begins with a gift.
For a Palo Alto wife and mom about to turn “the big five-oh,” a Christmas gift from her sister provided what she considers a good start down a new path. “I always wanted to get our home organized, and I knew that, at 50, I had to do it now or I never will,” she remembers. The gift of an initial consultation and a day of hands-on activity by Sharon Kristensen provided the “kick-start” that she needed.
During her first discussion with Sharon, she recalls that she described her husband and herself as “a couple of pack rats.” With a background in art, she finds that “everything can be used and re-used.” As a result, accumulated clutter had made their home feel cramped and uncomfortable.
“Part of me wants a house that’s clean, tidy and orderly,” she explains. “Another part of me isn’t disciplined.” When it comes to choosing between, say, finishing a project or going to bed, “I’d rather go to bed,” she says.
Still, the family places a high priority on remodeling the home they purchased five years ago. So, in anticipation of meetings with architects and prospective contractors, clearing out clutter assumed paramount importance. “It’s very good preparation for a major renovation,” according to the client. “We definitely need to know what things we will keep and what we will give away, what storage to plan for, the built-in cupboards and shelves we want and space in the garage.”
She values her preparatory work with OP immensely. Together, she and Sharon have sorted, tossed and organized countless papers and possessions. Cartons of books that had remained packed after a previous move are now in bookcases, and some 20 boxes of school mementos have been sorted and organized. Furniture and clothing stored in the attic have been given away or donated, and files of what the client calls “inspiration” are set up. In the process, a more organized household had begun to take shape.
She looks back on the accomplishments made over several months and compares the experience to consulting with professionals in other aspects of life. “When you need help with accounting or law, you hire someone. Why shouldn’t it be the same when you want to organize your home?”
“We’ve made tremendous progress,” she says with satisfaction. She has learned, for example, that overbooking and over-scheduling lead to inaction. “Now, I schedule what I call maintenance time. Cutting back on activity gives me the time and energy to finish the job at hand.”
She credits Sharon and OP with making possible much of the change. “I really like Sharon as a person. She’s very professional. And she’s willing to roll up her sleeves and get dirty. She’s in there, working away, not just standing back directing the work.”
“If there’s a day when I’m feeling overwhelmed and unclear about what to do next, Sharon will suggest we tackle something together. I appreciate her patience and willingness to go at a pace that’s right for me. It’s like having a personal trainer. Knowing that I’ve committed to it, I make the effort to prepare. Without her help in setting priorities and hands-on support, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am now.”