TheFace: Sara I. Alissa, Saudi professional organizer

Sara I. Alissa (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 08 March 2019

TheFace: Sara I. Alissa, Saudi professional organizer

  • She founded S.O.R.T.E.D., a hybrid business that lies somewhere between that of an interior designer and space organizer

Old habits die hard. I am a professional organizer and I help assist clients to declutter and organize their living and workspaces. 

My passion for organizing spaces and the urge to transform people’s lives in a positive way can be traced back to both my parents who have always been very organized. Some of my fondest memories are the summers we spent with my family in Divonne, France, as I’d accompany my mom on excursions to flea markets and antique stores where she would always find the most exciting object to bring alive a room. My mother is a perfectionist, it made me realize that it was her way of spreading joy in our lives by creating an organized and comfortable environment for us to live in. 

While growing up, I always loved tidying up and organizing my room, but it never occurred to me that I could transform these skills into a career that helps individuals organize their lives. My parents gave me the space to grow and be creative as well as gain a sense of independence from an early age. I completed my final year of high school in Lugano, Switzerland and went on to study visual art and communications at Franklin University. Although my passion for organizing began in Saudi Arabia, living in Switzerland also exposed me to a culture that saw beauty in well-organized and functional spaces.

Five years ago, I established S.O.R.T.E.D. It is a hybrid services (business) that lies somewhere between that of an interior designer and space organizer. As a mother of two young boys, I decided to embark on this career path as a professional organizer with my family’s support, even though it was an unusual career choice in Saudi Arabia at the time. 

I have developed my methods over the years through a combination of researching books on the topics, techniques, workshops and hands-on experience. My methodology is also influenced by Marie Kondo, who has become a leading force in the industry. I believe her method encourages tidying by category instead of location, beginning with clothes for example, then moving on to books and papers and so on. I enjoy providing helpful tips on how to maintain their living and workspaces once we’ve reconfigured them. Each project is different, depending on the scope — whether it is a storage area or pantry or walk-in closet to be used more efficiently or reimagining a nursery or child’s play room. Function, practicality and inspirational qualities come to mind. 

It was important for me to be approachable from the very beginning and put my clients at ease; a home is sacred and for them to open their homes to me, there’s a certain level of trust that I always maintain. Being a good problem-solver and listener are important and useful skills to have in this profession, to understand what a client’s needs are and how they use their space. I tailor my solutions to their requirements. 

I feel blessed to be able to turn a passion into a career that I liken to therapy, as I watch clients go through their own positive transformation through the process of de-cluttering. • 


Gruelling Dakar Rally route through Saudi Arabia’s ‘captivating’ deserts revealed by Sports Authority

Updated 5 min 39 sec ago

Gruelling Dakar Rally route through Saudi Arabia’s ‘captivating’ deserts revealed by Sports Authority

AL-QADDIYA: More details about the Dakar Rally expected to take place in January 2020 in Saudi Arabia were released on Thursday by the Kingdom's General Sports Authority at an event in Al-Qaddiya.

The race starts on Jan. 5 in Jeddah, with the drivers set to race through Al-Madinah, Tabuk and Ha’il regions before a having a rest day in Riyadh. From the capital, the route winds its way back toward the coast through the Asir region and ends in the city of Al-Qaddiya on Jan. 12.

Speaking at the event, the chairman of the General Sports Authority (GSA) Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal announced a 10-year partnership with the Dakar Rally, saying: "We want the world to see the captivating desert of Saudi Arabia and to get to know the good and hospitable people of the Kingdom that looks forward to receiving the world.

“Our country is extremely passionate about sport and our strategic goal is to feed that appetite as we move further towards achieving Vision 2030 of which sport is a basic pillar.

“In hosting Dakar Rally we aim to produce an unbelievable and unforgettable experience for drivers as they discover the beauty of Saudi nature and a unique spectacle for motorsport fans not only in Saudi Arabia but also in the region and around the world.”

It was announced earlier this month that the race would be held in Saudi Arabia, and for the first time in the Middle East.

The Dakar has been held in South America since 2009. The gruelling multi-stage rally was previously held in Africa but was relocated after terrorist threats in Mauritania in 2008.

Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Abdullah Al-Faisal, chairman of the Saudi Arabian Motor Federation, said when the race announcement was made: “I have always wanted to participate in Dakar Rally, while I wasn’t fortunate to achieve that ambition, I’m now part of achieving a much bigger dream for my country as Dakar comes to the Middle East region for the first time ever.”

CEO of Qiddiya project Michael Reininger said: "Qiddiya will soon become the centre of the motorsports world by virtue of an unparalleled collection of on track and off road facilities and a set of experiences and events that have never been assembled in one place before.”

The CEO of the rally's organizing company, Amaury Sport Organization, Yann Le Moenner thanked the princes for their commitment to bringing the rally to Saudi Arabia, adding: “Crossing the best deserts of the world has always been in the DNA of the Dakar, to discover and share.”

Meanwhile, the drivers involved in the rally have been in Saudi Arabia soaking up local culture and experiencing some of the desert landscapes they will drive through in January.