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. • 


Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki at a press briefing. (SPA file photo)
Updated 19 March 2019

Arab coalition working to protect region’s security, says spokesman

  • Houthis want to disturb peace, says coalition spokesman
  • Stockholm peace agreement under strain

RIYADH: The Arab coalition supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government is committed to protecting regional and global security, a spokesman said Monday.

Coalition spokesman Col. Turki Al-Maliki was asked at a press briefing about Houthi militias threatening to target the capitals of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“This is their way to disturb peace,” Al-Maliki replied. “Previously the Houthis targeted Riyadh with a ballistic missile, violating all international laws by attacking a city that has more than 8 million civilians. We take all precautions to protect civilians and vital areas. The coalition works to protect regional and international security.”

Al-Maliki said Houthis had targeted Saudi border towns several times, the most recent incident taking place in Abha last Friday.

But the Saudi Royal Air Defense Force had shot down a drone that was targeting civilians, he added.

He said four Saudi nationals and an Indian expatriate were injured in the attack because of falling debris.

The drone wreckage showed the characteristics and specifications of Iranian manufacturing, he said, which proved Iran was continuing to smuggle arms to the militias.

He warned the Houthis to refrain from targeting civilians because the coalition, in line with international humanitarian law, had every right to counter such threats.

He said the coalition was making efforts to neutralize ballistic missiles and dismantle their capabilities, as the coalition’s joint command would not allow the militia to possess weapons that threatened civilian lives and peace.

Al-Maliki reiterated that the Houthis were targeting Yemeni civilians and continued to violate international laws. 

He also urged Yemenis to try their best to prevent children from being captured by Houthis, who were using them as human shields and child soldiers.

His comments came as the UN tried to salvage a peace deal that was seen as crucial for ending the country’s four-year war.

The Stockholm Agreement was signed by the Yemeni government and Houthi representatives last December.

The main points of the agreement were a prisoner exchange, steps toward a cease-fire in the city of Taiz, and a cease-fire agreement in the city of Hodeidah and its port, as well as ports in Salif and Ras Issa.

Militants triggered the conflict when they seized the capital Sanaa in 2014 and attempted to occupy large parts of the country. An Arab coalition intervened in support of the internationally recognized government in March 2015.

The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2015.

Earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that President Donald Trump’s administration opposed curbs on American assistance to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

“The way to alleviate the Yemeni people’s suffering isn’t to prolong the conflict by handicapping our partners in the fight, but by giving the Saudi-led coalition the support needed to defeat the Iranian-backed rebels and ensure a just peace,” Pompeo said at a news conference in Washington.