For Claire Dawson, finding order amid chaos puts her at ease.

As a child, she often found herself cleaning her friends’ rooms while they all hung out. Upon entering a space, she would instinctively start sorting things out in her head.

When Dawson was 14, her mom walked into her messy room and said something that ignited a spark.

“Claire, you’re going to have to clean your room the rest of your life, so you better get used to it,” she told her daughter.

Not only did Dawson get used to it, she turned it into a moneymaking venture.

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“I basically walked up to a (family friend) and said, ‘Hey, your house needs cleaning and I need money,’” Dawson said.

Her cleaning business gained momentum through word of mouth and Dawson soon discovered that her clients often asked her to organize their belongings – something she has always enjoyed – which also landed her numerous referrals.

In the beginning of the year, Dawson decided to step away from cleaning and make organizing her full-time job, starting Clarify Your Space and beginning her career as a professional organizer.

“Organizing is a stress reliever for me,” said Dawson, 21. “It’s what I do for fun as well as my work.”

Dawson’s clients run the gamut, from retirees to working women to young moms who don’t have time to tend to things at home. She helps them purge unneeded items, develop filing systems to organize papers, maximizing storage space and more.

“A lot of people aren’t willing to get rid of things,” Dawson said. “I don’t tout the minimalist lifestyle, because if you have kids or you have family heirlooms, that’s just impossible. But I think there’s always things you can cut down on for sure.”

Clients are often told by family and friends to part ways with things they don’t need but, according to Dawson, people are less likely to listen to those they are close to. As an outside source, she is able to provide a neutral perspective.

“You’re going to have daily clutter, but just having a place for everything makes it a lot easier,” she said. “Have a place for everything and a reason for keeping what you keep.”

Dawson is often asked by clients to work on specific portions of their homes, from office spaces to pantries, where she sorts through piles of clutter and determining what stays and what goes. Sometimes the clients will follow her around, talking to her and telling her their life’s stories – one of her favorite parts of the job – all while she is in her element.

“I enjoy having a chaotic space and being able to bring order to it,” Dawson said. “Sometimes you can’t do that in your life but with physical objects, you can.”