Natalie Jane on finding her purpose

The Sort Your Life Out NZ star’s turned chaos into a career

By Rebekah Hebenton
For some, leaving behind a full-time job to start their own business is a daunting idea. But for Natalie Jane, founder of Be Organised and organisational expert on Three's new series Sort Your Life Out NZ, it was the best decision she has ever made.
"People always say, 'Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.' I took a leap of faith nine years ago and I haven't looked back."
Natalie was 42 when she left behind her steady job at an interior design store to start her home-organising business, looking to build something that was all her own. After a friend suggested she would be a great home organiser, Natalie couldn't get the idea out of her head and decided to give it a try.
"I reached a crossroads in my life. I had recently turned 40 and I thought, 'I'm tired of working for other people,'" tells Natalie. "I built my website and I suddenly started getting busy."
With show mates Kanoa Lloyd and Sean Brown
t's not the first time Natalie, who met her partner of 10 years Ben King while DJing at the same gig, has made a drastic life change. When she was 21, only two years after achieving her childhood dream of being a dancer in the Royal New Zealand Ballet, she chose to stop professional dancing for good.
After spending her formative years in the disciplined world of ballet, she realised she didn't possess the competitive nature needed to excel in the ruthless environment and was eager to let her hair down.
"I reached that goal, then I thought, 'What's next?'" the 51-year-old recalls. "I had the opportunity to go on tour in America. We were there for seven weeks and we only had four days off in that time. It was one of my highlights representing New Zealand, but I realised I wanted to have a normal life. I wanted to have a boyfriend, go skiing and travel."
'The first thing I did was cut off my hair. I think I went mad for a little while!'
While she relished her newfound freedom, Natalie admits she spent the rest of her 20s searching for her place in the world.
"The first thing I did was cut off my hair. I think I went mad for a little while, which I needed to do because my life was so structured," Natalie tells. "I don't think I realised at the time how lost I was.
"When I was 26, I hopped on a plane to India by myself to meditate and walk the Himalayas. They say if you go to India to find yourself, you must be really lost," she laughs.
She spent the next few years bouncing around the world, living in London, then moving back to Auckland, working in various retail and hospitality management roles before she launched Be Organised.
Between the perfectionism and determination from her years in ballet to her people skills from working in retail, Natalie gets to utilise all her talents and says it is a privilege to help families in what can be a very vulnerable time.
After the discipline of dance, Natalie needed a change of pace and lived rough in India
"I always say to people, 'Get ready to go on an emotional journey.' Everything we own has a story behind it and with that comes a lot of emotion," shares Natalie. "It's actually never about the stuff – it's about what's going on behind the stuff."
How to take back control
One of the biggest mistakes people make when decluttering and organising their homes is they don't leave enough time to complete a task, so it never gets done. Here are five simple tasks that you can tackle this weekend that won't take a lot of time but will make a big difference.
1.Get rid of expired goods
Not only in your pantry but also in your fridge and freezer, which often get overlooked. You will be amazed at how much space you can create
by doing this simple task!
2. The dreaded plastic containers
Play the "Does it have a friend" game. If items don't have a corresponding part, it's time to let them go. Then be honest with yourself about how many you use and need.
'It is a privilege to help families in what can be a very vulnerable time'
3. First aid
Get it all out and put like items together. Move on expired good and any items you will no longer use. Rethink how to store them – I like to create categories such as "Pain relief" and "Cold and flu", and use plastic containers or baskets to store them. Don't forget to label them!
4. Junk drawer
We all have one (or two) that are overstuffed and overlooked. Take all the items out, group categories together, then decide on your items. Relocate, recycle and reorganise, using containers where possible to divide items.
5. Clothing you didn't wear last season
It's a great time to review your summer clothing now that we are coming into winter. If you didn't wear it last season, you won't wear it the next. Keep the items you love, you wore and that fit you now.
Visit Beorganised.co.nz for more of Natalie's expert advice or to book your own consultation.
Sort Your Life Out NZ screens Wednesdays at 8.30pm on Three.

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