Sandi Einstein, 66, Gates Mills,
Owner of e=mc2 Organizing and Coaching Consultants, Inc. and a life coach specializing in helping individuals with ADHD.
Tell us about your work as an organizer?
I am a professional organizer for homes and businesses. That can be anything from helping them clear clutter throughout the house or in closets to helping them eliminate things in their wardrobes and helping them coordinate what's left. We can clear paper clutter, as well.
What do you do as a life coach?
I help people with organizational skills and time management. I like to say that I help people with attention or learning differences. I don't like to use words with negative connotations like disorder. I work with middle school age kids through adults.
There is a theme in the looks you've brought today.
I decided that I have too much stuff because it was so difficult to decide what to bring. I wear a lot of black and white. I like how it looks on me. I tried to bring pops of color with jewelry, scarves and bags.
Looks like you know what you're doing.
I do get some help with my wardrobe. He's Jesse Oates, a fashion stylist at Saks. We've been friends for a long time. We met when he worked at Nordstrom when it first opened. I add pieces that I buy out of town and I occasionally find something at Juicy Lucy in Chagrin Falls. They have fun and funky things. I also like Lisa Moran at Eton Chagrin. I mix in pieces from Lululemon for when I'm working. It's easier to bend and be physical. I don't wear athletic wear when I work in an office or a school.
Do you have any fashion icons or favorite designers?
I love Coco Chanel and I love Chanel clothing and accessories. I love her story. She grew up in an orphanage and many of her style inspirations came from the Church. I love the details that go into every piece. The buttons, textures and craftsmanship are very special.
Are you considering your wardrobe when you shop?
Yes, I like pieces that I can switch up. I can change a look just by the type of shoes I wear or use a suit jacket and wear it in a casual look. When I look for things I think about how I can utilize them in more ways than what they're meant for. Also, I have to say that I am a sale shopper. I don't buy many designer pieces that aren't on sale.
Since it's your business, do you clean out your closet and sell your designer items?
I am always going through my stuff. Sometimes people get emotionally attached. I've always been able to get rid of things. I take things to Cleveland Consignment Shoppe on Chagrin Boulevard. They just sold two of my Chanel bags.
What makes you give things up?
I really love my shoes and purses, but I'm trying to downsize. If you get rid of three things and only buy one, that's OK. I'm trying not to buy any right now.
Have you always been organized, is that how you started your business?
I have always been organized. I'm really a pioneer in this industry. In 1996 the idea came to me. I found out that this industry was starting and there was something called the National Association of Professional Organizers. I went to their conferences where I also heard about coaching and then ADD coaching. Both were new types of businesses and I liked the idea of them, so I blended them together.
What is your wardrobe philosophy?
I'm trying to just keep my favorite things. I like clothes that can be mixed and matched for new looks, but that I know fit and look the best. My rule now is that if I put something on and I feel uncomfortable and I can't look in the mirror, it's gone. Someone else will want it and be happy in it.
What's an important staple to every wardrobe?
A white blouse is important. You can dress it up or down, wear it with a skirt, jeans, trousers or leggings. It's so versatile. I add a pop of color with a tank or T-shirt, shoes or a bag.
What did you do before becoming an organizer and life coach?
I worked as a teacher and then I sold educational materials. When we got married, we moved to Los Angeles where my husband did his fellowship. I didn't want to go back to teaching, so I worked in retail for the next 20 years. I always liked fashion. Fashion gets under your skin. I never came home with a paycheck. That's probably where I got my shopping bug. Starting my business was a great segue from retail where displays just like closets have to be organized.
Where did your love of fashion begin?
When I was 10 years old my aunt taught me how to sew. I made a pleated brown and white plaid skirt with a waistband. It was for my doll. Then I made my own clothes because we didn't have money. I loved clothes and made them from Vogue patterns. That must be where I learned to really pay attention to fabrics and the sewing details. I look at buttonholes and zipper quality. There really is a big difference in the high-end items as compared to fast-fashion items. You can really see the craftsmanship.
Where else do you shop?
I do peruse Target, TJ Maxx and Marshalls for things like bathing suits and cover-ups. I love finding bargains. I also go to Saks Off Fifth at Aurora Farms. I even do this with my furnishings, I have better pieces from The Design Center and I mix in pieces from Target, Kohl's and Marshalls. I also like Neiman Marcus and Athleta. I like to buy shoes when I'm out of town. I love the Camper brand.
Speaking of, do you have any best-ever finds?
The best bargain I've ever found was probably a Chanel dress. It was years ago, someone must have returned it to Saks. It was marked down an extreme amount and then I got another percentage off. I got it for a song and wore it to my son's wedding.
What is your favorite season for fashion?
I would have to say winter because not only can you layer, but the colors and textures are so much more interesting and intricate.
What inspires you?
I find inspiration in fashion magazines and in walking through the stores. I also read books about different designers like Coco Chanel.
Which other designers do you like?
I also appreciate Giorgio Armani, Akras, Prada, Norma Kamali, Balenciaga, Chloe, Comme des Garcons and Lanvin.
Do you have any style icons?
I like the styles of Cate Blanchett, Audrey Hepburn, Jennifer Lawrence, Jackie Kennedy and Katherine Hepburn. To me they all represent classy women with a great sense of style.
Can you describe your style?
I love a classic look and I like funky things, too. I like to add a little edginess to a look, usually with accessories. I look at the details.
Do you have any funny secrets?
I would rather clean than cook. I am not the cook in the house. My husband likes to cook. He likes to say that he probably married the only Italian who doesn't like to cook.
Do you stick to any fashion rules?
It's super important to dress appropriately for who you are, your age and where you're going. I would rather be overdressed than under-dressed for any occasion, especially if I'm not sure of the attire. I always wear cleaned and polished shoes.
What is your best fashion advice?
Define who you are and take pride in it. Create your own sense of style and know what looks good on you. Be honest with yourself and have fun with your wardrobe.
What is your tip to cleaning out your closet?
There's an 80/20 rule, we use 20 percent of what we have 80 percent of the time. If you think about it like that, it's easier to get rid of things you don't really like that much.
To learn more about getting organized visit Sandi's site emc2organizing.org
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