Professional declutterer wins customer recognition

Aniko Lakatos has always had a penchant for neatness and efficiency when it comes to organizing.

“As a kid, I always kept my room well-organized and even as a teen and into my twenties, I always kept things a certain way,” said Lakatos, a Coconut Creek resident. “Later, I got married, had two children and we moved plenty of times. Organization was key. It’s kind of a natural talent I’ve had my whole life.”

Although she works assisting in operating rooms where delicate surgery is underway, off-time, she often found herself assisting friends and relatives organize their homes, their offices – and thus, their lives. It’s those friends who suggested that Lakatos take her talent to the next level and begin to professionally hope those in need of de-cluttering and organization in their own lives.

“They really did talk me into it,” Lakatos said.

Two years ago, Lakatos launched Neat and Discreet, her home organization company. already has named Neat and Discreet 2015 “Top Decluttering Professional in Fort Lauderdale.”

Lakatos was pleased with the designation but says her real reward is more personal.

“The reward is when the work is done, how it inspires and changes people’s lives – that’s just wonderful,” Lakatos said. “Sometimes people are in tears because they are overwhelmed and they just can’t manage; or else they have moved, particularly from a large house to a smaller house or an apartment. The award is fine, but no one knows how good the hugs and tears of joy are.”

Lakatos described her core services as “organizing, helping down-size, helping de-clutter and purge,” and she has a knack for maximizing the effectiveness of available space.

“I scan a space and I can see what needs to be done,” she said. “It’s instinct. It’s like Tetris. I look at a space and see what needs to be removed, re-positioned and otherwise made more efficient.”

Although Lakatos said she doesn’t like telling people to throw things away, inevitably people often tend to hold onto things they have no use for. For example, many times, people have duplicate items – some in-use and some stored. Other times, people simply have the tendency to hold on to things that might seem important at the time, but don’t continue to be.

“A lot of times, people call me when they have accumulated stuff over the years and it just becomes overwhelming,” Lakatos. With some clients, Lakatos becomes a sounding board, helping people let go of things they have held on to needlessly. “Sometimes people panic when they are overwhelmed – even though it is their own stuff. I tell them that it is going to be scary; that it is going to be uncomfortable. It’s also that I am a stranger and I am touching their stuff.”

When assessing a job, Lakatos first needs to see the space to be organized – just a description won’t work. Her initial consulting fee is then applied to her fee if retained. Subsequently, she schedules her sessions with a client based on the client’s own needs and desires. Sometimes, consecutive daily sessions are desired, sometimes the job is broken up over a period of several hours on particular days, etc. Some jobs are completed in a short period of time; others are accomplished a little at a time. That flexibility permits clients to be comfortable with the entire process.

“Some houses I have been in multiple times – like 28 times and I am still not done,” Lakatos said.

Lakatos also warns clients not to invest in any items before she meets with them – even if they might seem like they are useful for storage. There may be a better way and if items are needed, Lakatos is available to go with clients to seek them out.

As of now, Neat and Discreet is a one-person operation.

“I couldn’t teach someone how to do what I do even if I wanted to,” Lakatos said. She hopes, however, to one day operate the company on a full-time basis.

“It’s been great doing something I am good at and having such a positive reaction from people.”

For more information on Neat and Discreet, call 954-756-1348.

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