Chatham native to host HGTV series

Chatham native Cassandra Aarssen started her home organizing YouTube channel as a hobby, but now she’s the host of an upcoming HGTV series.

Chatham native Cassandra Aarssen is leading a home organization television series called Hot Mess House, which will premiere on HGTV June 24 at 8 p.m. (HGTV/Submitted)

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Chatham native Cassandra Aarssen started her home organizing YouTube channel as a hobby, but now she’s the host of an upcoming HGTV series.

Hot Mess House will find Aarssen working with families who have an organizational challenge in their homes and helping them find an organization style that works for them.

She said the opportunity came to her as she was keeping up with her YouTube, Facebook and blog platforms, and was contacted by a production company who was interested in making a TV show about the four different organizational styles she discusses in her videos.

“I never in a million years ever thought this was a possibility and here we are today,” said Aarssen. “We just filmed four episodes with amazing families.”

Aarssen said the four styles recognize how everyone organizes differently. She said people can determine their style by asking whether they prefer lots of categories or if they are a big-picture person, and also if they are a visual or a hidden organizer.

A visual organizer prefers to have things out in the open so they don’t forget about it, while a hidden organizer prefers to have everything out of sight, she said.

The four styles – bee, cricket, ladybug or butterfly – are based on different combinations of answers to the two questions.

Aarssen said her ideas became “so much bigger and so much better” because this time she was working with a team.

“It’s not just me organizing my own home, which is mostly what my YouTube channel is, but now it’s reaching out to people all over, and these families are decluttering, they’re understanding their organizing style and they’re setting up systems that work for them,” she said.

The COVID-19 pandemic had some effect on how the show turned out. Aarssen, who now lives in Lakeshore, was supposed to fly to New York to meet with a family in mid-March.

After that couldn’t happen, Aarssen said the production company and HGTV came up with a way to do the show without having her meet anyone in person.

“They pulled it together on the fly, doing an amazing job, sent cameras to all the homeowners, multiple cameras and taught them how to use cameras, taught them how to set it up,” she said. “These families filmed everything themselves while decluttering, while organizing and decorating, painting. I mean, it’s really quite impressive.”

Aarssen said the self-filming by the families is her favourite part of the show because it lets them do the organizing themselves.

“I think they’re so much more empowered now,” she said. “I’m getting messages from them. They’re organizing the rest of their house too.”

The four episodes will cover seven families. The first episode focuses on one family working on two projects in their home and the other three feature two families each.

A news release about the series said the episodes will range from working with a young couple living in a 350-square-foot apartment to helping one woman find an engagement ring she thought she had lost.

Aarssen said they are “cramming a lot into one episode,” but she thinks it will help people watching determine which style they fit into, as well as ways they can better organize their homes.

“So often we watch TV and there are these amazing transformations, but how can we do them in our home without spending a lot of time or a lot of money?” she said. “Hot Mess House is so unique in that way in that it is something you can replicate in your own home with just a little bit of effort.”

The future of the show past these four episodes will likely depend on ratings and how much people like it, said Aarssen.

“Even if this is all I get, I feel like this is the top of the mountain for me,” she said.

“This is my favourite network, HGTV, talking about my favourite thing, organization. I just can’t believe that Clutterbug, my little hobby brand, this little passion that I have, has come so far.”

Aarssen said she hopes people from Chatham-Kent will tune in when the series premieres in Canada July 7 with back-to-back episodes at 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Additional episodes will air Tuesdays at 10 p.m.

This article has been updated to reflect the Canadian premiere date of July 7. An earlier version gave the U.S. premiere date, June 24.