We had the good fortune of connecting with Mary Vraa and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Mary, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?

I have witnessed first-hand the unbelievable lightness of letting go of what we no longer need, use, or want! Although 2020 was the start of interacting 100% virtually with my clients, I continued to hear from them about the Inner Clarity that develops when they harnessed the power of physical decluttering.

It’s bittersweet to find ourselves at the end of one chapter in life ending with the next one not fully figured out. Moving into uncertainty takes courage! But when we focus on unwinding the emotions wrapped around our things, we’re able to make peace with releasing our Past. Now we can shift confidently into our Future. How liberating is that!

My message is universal, but I particularly speak with Women Over 40. This group is poised for uncovering what their next passion will be: the kids are grown and (mostly) on their own, a career may be changing or winding down, and the same for a relationship. Now is the time to act on the deferred dreams and goals sidelined while we supported our families and employers. How exciting to create a new chapter with our own desires front and center. I think all women deserve this! When we change what’s around us, we can refresh what’s inside us!


Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have always been energized with creating a home space that is warm, inviting, and reflective of who I am. in fact, even as a child, I loved drawing pictures of houses! It was natural for me to spend 20+ years in the home mortgage industry because I firmly believe in realizing our homeownership dreams. But when my corporate career ended abruptly in 2016, it was time for something different. 

I had experienced my share of the customary challenges that make one pause: divorce, cancer, loss of a loved one, a corporate downsizing. But each time, I learned to lean into the situation. To move ahead no matter what. Accepting that I cannot control everything was actually a relief for me! Then I was able to direct my energy to what was within my power: my attitude and my response. This grit is what led me to take the risk and open my own small business. 

Helping others to refine who they are now and where they want to head next lights me up when I see their own joy. And when I rediscovered my love for writing, I took the plunge and started writing my book, PopUpPurge™ Release Midlife Clutter & Reclaim Inner Clarity. I captured the unique decluttering approach I use in my coaching sessions. Now more women can access this proven method for space clearing!

The 2020 pandemic lockdown was the ideal time to cocoon and compose my message of uncovering midlife direction. And as we slowly reopen in 2021, what better time for all of us to begin releasing the excess stuff in our homes? So many are pivoting towards something different now. And what’s around us is ripe for a shake up, too. Everything is intertwined. Now is the time to turn the page and write a new chapter. We are the author of where to go next! That’s the powerful connection between what we hang onto in our homes and the old stories we tell ourselves.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Phoenix is a very eclectic Western city with so many iconic stops to make! But I’d definitely start with a sunrise hike up Camelback Mountain. Our landmark summit provides sweeping views of our stunning Sonoran desert. This would be aptly followed with refreshments and a bite at Dick’s Hideaway (if you can find it!). Dick’s is a cozy bar and eatery featuring generous servings of Southwestern cuisine paired with thirst-quenching cocktails. A short afternoon nap “might” be essential now, before further adventures occur!

Next, a stroll through Roosevelt Row in the heart of downtown Phoenix would be just the ticket for taking in the mural-splashed walls and peeking into the numerous small galleries. This is truly an Instagram-worthy destination beloved by many.  Then for more inspiration, the Phoenix Art Museum curates some of the most striking collections of contemporary work as well as numerous global exhibitions. It’s a feast for the eyes.

Now it’s off to neighboring fashionable Scottsdale! This small town has a glorious Waterfront District with an ever-evolving outdoor art display. Nearby, Old Town Scottsdale is an equally charming location studded with original restaurants, tiny shops, wine bars, and the impressive Performing Arts Center. One can explore on foot, on a Segway, or by bike. 

From here, we’d head North to the Most Western Town, Cave Creek, which is in my own backyard! More epic hiking opportunities abound, along with horseback riding on the many scenic trails. Renowned eateries not to be missed include Bryan’s BBQ and Big Earl’s Greasy Eats. And if the timing is right, Cave Creek Rodeo Days are the best way to truly experience the cowboy spirit that continues to reign here today.

This is such a short list of what the Phoenix metropolitan area has to be savored. But the Sonoran desert is really one of the crown features. It can also be condensed with a visit to the Desert Botanical Gardens. But there’s no substitute for getting out into the desert, especially in the Spring. Our wildflowers are truly glorious when they peak. One look and you’ll be back….I promise!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My small business began with serving Seniors in our community who were transitioning to older adult communities.  My original partner was Wendy Woodard, of Ovation Contraction Services. As an interior designer extraordinaire, she was the design director for my whole house renovation in 2014. We shared a burning passion for all things home beautiful, and during the transformation process, we became fast friends. It was on an impromptu road trip that we built this initial business venture. With her keen artistic eye and my extensive project management background, we helped folks make a smooth landing, using the most beloved components of their personal possessions.

When Wendy’s design studio demanded more of her involvement, I personally segued the business into a focus on a younger generation, Women Over 40. I had seen the difficulties of making numerous downsizing decisions under duress. It was my epiphany that we benefit immeasurably when we begin the decluttering process much sooner!

Who isn’t eager to maximize each chapter of their life? I continue to encourage all my clients to avail themselves of Wendy’s fabulous styling skills when they are ready for something different!

Website: http://www.shiftyourstories.com

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/shiftwithmaryv

Linkedin: http://www.LinkedIn.com/maryvraa

Facebook: FB Page: Shift Your Stories

Image Credits
Alisa Brooks Photography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.