Behind the Scenes at Org&Relo - Meet Sheryl Hadley

Hi, I’m Sheryl, and I love organizing, food, animals, and chocolate (is chocolate a food group yet?)--but not necessarily in that order!

I’m an LA girl, born and raised; the fourth generation of my family to live there. I grew up with my parents, two brothers, dogs, my beloved Kitty, my pet mouse, Sam, (thank you Sarah Cox!) and a grandfather who had a ranch. All I ever wanted to do as a kid was go to the beach--Oceanside, in particular--do gymnastics, and reorganize my room. I used to empty the contents of my desk by category, size, type, and color across the entire bedroom floor then reorganize it back in to the drawers. I went to an all-girls private school and things were pretty tame, sunny, and laid back until I came to the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) for college at 18.

SH 1

When I first arrived in Boulder I turned on the TV and the newscaster was wearing a yellow jacket with matching yellow plastic earrings. I was wearing my LA attitude and wondered what I’d gotten myself into. Colorado seemed like a backwater, and I was proud of being an LA girl.

It didn’t take me long to fit in, though. I was like a kid in a candy store at CU. Finally, I was alone, untethered, no rules. Make no mistake--I was ready to have FUN. I had a total blast until my sophomore year, when I got kicked out because of my grades. I went back to California that summer where I wrote a long, apologetic letter to the assistant dean and somehow was reinstated. Thank you, CU! (Clearly this is when my sales career began.) I graduated with a degree in Studio Art.

I went back to LA after graduation to work for Knoll, where I had been employed during the summers in college. I love the modern classics and the history of the Bauhaus (my idea of reading when I was growing up was sitting in my living room poring over my dad’s Knoll price list) and ended up working as an assistant for a former Knoll manager. I moved to NYC for a while to work as the KnollStudio sales assistant, and there I met four of my favorite bosses, one who has had a lasting impact on me (Selina was the queen of sales and follow up…that stuck with me).

I had always appreciated cleanliness and order, but probably the first real organizing problem I tackled was when I was working for Knoll in 1991. I was in the cut room where you put the tear sheets together for the catalog. They weren’t set up in order, everything was spread out everywhere, and nothing made sense. It was so unproductive! I took it upon myself to reorganize it and create a system. Boy, that felt good. (It felt even better a few years later when I landed my first paid organizing gig: my aunt Linda’s closet.)

I worked in high-end furniture sales in LA for the next several years but by then I had started coming to Boulder to visit friends who had moved back here from California. In 2001 (Go, Lakers!) I did the same. I was at a place in my life where I felt like I needed to invest in my health and wellness, and this would be a good place to do it. I bought a house, remodeled it, and tried my hand at retail sales in Boulder’s first modern furniture store. When the store closed, I started considering my next career move.

SH 2

Right around that time I went over to a friend’s house to help him pack for a move, and we spent hours picking up trash and putting away shoes. We didn’t put a single thing into a box! It was a really inefficient and unproductive process and, like the tear sheets, I knew there had to be a better system. I couldn’t help but think there might be a business in this. I had drinks at Mateo with my friend Stacey and the next thing I knew she wrote, “Organization & Relocation” on a napkin. My company was underway.

Once I had the name, my friend, Ryan, designed the logo, I printed business cards...and then I started talking. And then I kept talking. Did I mention I talked? The first project I did was organizing someone’s files. I loved everything about it. I couldn’t believe how much fun it was to make order out of chaos, to impose a system where there was none, and to use cool, beautiful products that brought clarity to a space. And so much happiness to the client! I was hooked.

I always say I made friends for a lifetime in college, and it’s true. Org & Relo wouldn’t be where it is today without those friends who helped me start my business. The first relocation I did was someone I knew from CU. My advisory board has two people on it I’ve known for almost 30 years. So many of you have been an invaluable part of this process--you know who you are--and I thank you with my whole heart over and over again.

We just celebrated nine years in the business, and it has been a fabulous ride. I work with an absolutely amazing team of people who really get the joy of a clean junk drawer, the satisfaction of relocating a commercial client without a minute’s downtime, a colorized closet, and a garage so swank you could host a dinner party in it. My clients are appreciative, generous, and open to our ideas and suggestions that help them make time for things they really want to be doing. I continue to feel honored every time I walk into someone’s home or office, look around, and, with all their wishes gathered up in my back pocket, start to devise the space they long for.

That’s how I’m spending my day today, and I can hardly wait to open the front door.

Happy Organizing!


P.s. Happy birthday to my dad who turned 75 on February 4th.  It was dumping in Aspen and the whole family enjoyed a powder perfect ski day!