Trailblazers to follow: Victoria “Tory” Schorsch of Upstart Good
By Helena Touhey
Sustainable sustainability is a central tenant of Upstart Good, the home organizing company founded by Tory Schorsch in July of 2022.
For Schorsch, approaching home organizing from a point of sustainability is a way for individuals to make meaningful changes to their everyday lifestyle. This might seem like a small piece of the big picture, but it is a change for the better — and one she believes can have ripple effects beyond the home.
Centering sustainability is about making “the world a safer, happier place— that will continue to exist,” she says. “Homes are microcosms for us as people.”
Our homes are also the spaces where we’re meant to rest and recharge.
“You can’t do the things you want to do in life unless you have a place to rest,” says Schorsch, noting this is yet another element of sustainable sustainability.
“It doesn’t matter how sustainable a practice it is — if you can’t keep it up, it’s not good for you,” Schorsch says.
For Schorsch, organizing her home with intention has been a way to manage her own chronic illness. And now, with Upstart Good, she is able to help others create more manageable home spaces — while also educating on sustainability.
She will travel an hour in any direction, which means most of her clients are in Rhode Island and parts of Connecticut.
There are roughly two kinds of clients: Those who know what they want and just need help making it happen — and people who are overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.
Upstart Good’s onboarding process involves an initial discovery call, and then an in-person walk-through. It’s “an hour of show me your house as it is,” Schorsch says.
“How do you live in your house? I want to see it; I want to understand it,” she says. “Show me your favorite things; show me the things you love.”
“I want to teach other people the tricks I’m learning,” says Schorsch, who is 33 and lives in The Point, where her home is decorated with upcycled furniture and vintage finds (and where she lives with three adorable pups, the unofficial mascots of Upstart Good).
“What is innovation?” she muses, “I think it’s the willingness to adapt.”
Changing lives and lifestyles
Before starting Upstart Good, Schorsch worked as a stylist in New York, a job that left her aware of the unsustainable practices of the fashion industry. She started wondering how she could make changes in her own life.
“A big thing with sustainability is[asking yourself] do I need to buy that?” she says. And: “Is there an end-of-life plan?”
“Once I buy [something], I am now responsible for it once it leaves my home,” she says, which begs another question: Do I like it enough to be responsible for it?
When Schorsch meets with new clients, the first question she asks them is: “What do you have”? In some ways, this is an evolution of her work as a stylist, where she would start by asking people what was in their closet — a place she often begins when doing home evolutions.
“I love organizing — and going through people’s closets,” she says.
Schorsch believes in organizational systems, which can be tailored to someone’s individual needs.
For example, there are often two types of people: “stuff out versus stuff in” people, she says. Stuff-out people need to see where certain things are stored, while stuff-in people are comfortable with storing things out of immediate sight.
“Bins are such a good hack,” she notes.
“Having systems means it’s easy to put back together —when you have the energy,” she adds.
Beyond the home, “the most important thing anyone can do is vote, in local and federal elections,” she says. “This is the best change you can do.”