Posts Tagged ‘national association of professional organizers’

Moving Again?!

August 24, 2016

Yes, I took some time off writing this blog because I was preparing to move again. I did what I tell all my clients to do. I took a long hard look at my things. I emptied out cupboards and only packed that which I really wanted to take with me. I donated some things, sold some things and put some things out for the trash. And I scheduled 3 appointments with a professional organizer. Yes. Even professional organizers need some guidance and encouragement when tackling difficult tasks!

Then the move happened. I didn’t go far – only about 8 miles or so from where I had been living but it seems light years away. More about that in a moment.

It doesn’t matter how organized or prepared you are – moving is stressful. There is a chaotic feeling about the day of the move. I knew this would happen so I took my dogs, Miles and Josie, to be boarded for a week. I didn’t want them to get even more upset watching the process of dismantling their house. Also, with all the doors open there was a chance that they may get lost!

The truck made its way to my new home. Everything was unloaded. Furniture was placed. And then the boxes. OH, BOY were there ever boxes!

I gave myself a week to unpack, put things away, and hang pictures. That was a very tall order. I did get all the boxes unpacked and everything put away. I am pondering the placement of a few pictures but most of them are hung and look great!

Miles and Josie came home to a house that was full of familiar smells, familiar pieces of furniture in unfamiliar places. They have adjusted well and so have I.

I’m resuming a normal work schedule and feel really settled. I am attending to some volunteer tasks that I had let slide while I was preparing to move.

Yes. I still have things I want to do. I want to tweak the shelving in a few places. I want to paint the rooms. I have HUGE ideas for my garden. These things can wait. I will get to them one project at a time.

The most important thing I want to share with you is that while moving is undeniably stressful there are things you can do to speed up the transition from one home to another.

1.      Be mindful of your decisions of what to take with you when you move

2.      Only bring things you Love, Need, Use

3.      Unpack and put away as quickly as you can

4.      Unpack your bedroom first so you can get a good night’s sleep

5.      Pace yourself

6.      Recycle the packing paper quickly

7.      Cut down and flatten the boxes (my moving company reuses the boxes and came to collect them)

8.      Board your pets – moving is stressful for them too!

I’m so happy to be in my new home! I hope if you move some of these suggestions will help you in your transition to your new home!

Workers Putting Furniture And Boxes In Truck

 

 

Advertisements

Organizing Conference #NAPO2016

May 25, 2016

I just had the great good fortune to attend two days of the #NAPO2016 Conference in Atlanta. It was my original intention to attend the entire conference but my two sons and daughter-in-law decided that it would be good to visit me. I LOVE it when they visit as they do not live anywhere nearby but I freely admit that I was hoping they would not choose to visit when I was in the middle of attending this great conference. However, the three of them arrived on Friday evening and I was home to greet them. In my world, family trumps everything.

This blog post is not about my family but about the wonderful time I had at the NAPO 2016 conference in Atlanta.

The sessions I attended were fantastic! I am so happy to belong to an organization which brings in great quality speakers to further the education of their members. I will write more about the sessions next week.

For the first time this year I had a table at the Expo with two other organizer colleagues: Jonda Beattie and Judith Kolberg. We were selling our organizing books. It was a blast as many organizers stopped by our table to chat, see what was new, and buy our books. We, Jonda and I, had two new books available for sale. They are two children’s organizing books. They teach children how to go about the task of breaking down a seemingly overwhelming project (picking up a very messy room) into small manageable components. They are titled: Suzie’s Messy Room and Benji’s Messy Room. It was exciting for us to have our organizing colleagues see our new books, like the illustrations and the content, and buy them. We are working with one organizer who wants to buy the books in bulk and then provide them to participants in her workshop. Please feel free to contact me if you have a similar idea.

The other great thing that happened this year at conference – actually it happens every year – is connecting in person with organizers that I usually just communicate with online. We are a community. We speak the same organizer language and totally support one another in our efforts to give our clients the best organizing services. That means that we refer out to one another when necessary. It is an extraordinary experience to be among such a wonderful like-minded group of talented colleagues.

Admittedly, going to conference is an expensive experience. You have the cost of travel, hotel, buying from the vendors, some meals, and entertainment. I’ve found that putting money aside each month in an account earmarked for conference is the best way to afford the investment in my education as an organizer.

If you have a professional conference that you’d like to attend try my strategy of a savings account specifically for that event. I’d love to hear your thoughts on conferences. Do you attend them? Do you find them worthwhile?

 

Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timely  - SMART Concept

Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timely – SMART Concept. Conceptual image with yellow paint line on the road over asphalt stone background.

 

Now What? Goal Setting

September 16, 2015
Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timely  - SMART Concept. Conceptual image with yellow paint line on the road over asphalt stone background.

Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timely – SMART Concept. Conceptual image with yellow paint line on the road over asphalt stone background.

Last night I attended the National Association of Professional Organizers – Georgia Chapter meeting. I admit I was late and missed the first few minutes of the speaker’s presentation. I hate to be late to anything and will typically plan to be wherever I need to be early. So, being late throws me off a little. When this happens it takes me a little while to settle in. I like to look around, get my bearings, and see who’s sitting near me.

Before I even walked in the room I knew that a great presentation was going on from the laughter that was coming from behind the closed doors. The speaker, Michael Lukaszewski, had everyone’s attention. The topic was Setting Goals that Really Matter.

As professional organizers this topic resonated with us on two levels: personal and professional. I will often guide my clients in planning, prioritizing and setting goals. We work together to create the steps to achieve these goals.

Michael put a slightly different spin on this topic. He suggested that we no longer set annual goals but that we break the year into quarters to set quarterly goals. Then, once we know what the quarterly goals are we can break that down into small manageable weekly goals.

Michael had much more to say and in a manner that was thoughtful and engaging. If you ever have the chance to hear him speak I highly recommend that you do. If you’d like to learn a little more about him you can find his information at www.michaellukazewski.com

How do you go about setting your goals? Do you make a New Year’s Resolution? If you do, do you keep it?

Let me know!

Now What? Musings from the NAPO 2015 Conference

May 5, 2015

I’ve been home now a couple of weeks from the NAPO 2015 conference in Los Angeles. Can you imagine staying in a hotel with (I’m not sure exactly how many) about 600 or so professional organizers? It was a very large hotel and conference center. I get lost easily and so was thankful that the conference organizers had lots of signs directing us to various and sundry classrooms.

For us organizers (those new to the profession and those of us who are more experienced) it was a magnificent few days. It offered us time to connect with friends we really only talk to face to face once or twice a year as well as time to take classes. I made lots of new connections, took terrific classes, and visited with vendors in our expo hall to learn about the latest and greatest organizing products.

My head is still spinning from all the new information I acquired. I plan to take my time deciding how to incorporate this information. A few classes I took were focused on running a business. Even though I’ve been in business now for ten years (WOW!) the elements I took away from those classes will help me to run my business better and to better serve my clients. I’m excited about that.

My plan is to review with you some of the things I learned at NAPO 2015 that I plan to share with my clients. Maybe these are things you would like to implement also.

The first is a program you can download. I plan to use it myself. It’s called HomeZada. As I said this is a program you download but it is cloud based. So, it’s accessible from anywhere, anytime. This is important because the HomeZada program provides you with tools to create a fantastic home inventory. If anything should happen to your home because this is cloud based and you can access it from anywhere anytime you would still be able to provide the insurance company with an accurate record of the contents of your home. How fantastic is that! Also, a home inventory comes in very handy if you’re planning to move.

HomeZada also has a way to keep track of routine household maintenance schedules and renovations. You know that it’s important to have great records of any and all home improvements. With HomeZada you have a tool to record what you did, how much it cost, and when the renovation or repair happened. All very important details. The program does other things too but these are the functions that impressed me most.

I can’t wait to start creating my own home inventory. How about you? Are you interested? Does the thought of having a home inventory, maintenance records, home improvements, user manuals all in one place – thus easy to find and access – thrill you? Check out HomeZada at: http://www.homezada.com and let me know what you think!

Paper piles?

January 28, 2014

Paper is everywhere. As much as we want to be paperless it still comes in our homes. What do you do with it? How do you keep from having paper avalanches? How do you stay on top of the things you have to know and do?

These are all questions that have come my way from time to time during the course of a home-office organizing session.

Paper can be managed but you must get in the habit of dealing with it everyday.

Here are a few quick tips:

1. Sort the paper as it comes in your house into the following categories: File, Shred, Recycle, Toss

2. Have a desk top action file holder. Create action files. These could be something like: Bills to pay, Articles to read, Pending or Things to think about, Follow up …

3. Sort the papers to file into your action files

4. Schedule a day every week to go through and work on your action files.

This system works and will help you gain control over the incoming paper. The next step is to have a main filing system that resonates with you. It is critical that you know where to put the documents you need to file and even more critical that you can find them when you need them. For this to happen, your filing system must make sense to you. It can be alphabetical, categorical or a mix. Whatever works for you is how it should be set up.

Once it’s set up – use it. File those papers, don’t pile them!

Inspiration?

May 8, 2013

What inspires you? Sometimes we find inspiration from books, in nature, from something someone has said to us. Recently, I encouraged a client to purchase a small bookcase. She had many books stored in plastic boxes and was eager to get more settled in her home. We looked online and found a great bookcase at The Container Store. I picked up the bookcase for my client and delivered it to her home. Then together we unpacked the boxes. As we unpacked, my client carefully looked at each book. Some she decided she didn’t want any more and was ready to donate them to Goodwill, some we put on the newly installed bookcase, and some she decided could be kept on a shelf in a closet.

When our session was over my client announced that she was going to keep on working. She said that having this bookcase was inspiring her to keep on working to declutter her living space. She found her inspiration in this piece of furniture which added organization to her home. I was very proud of her and told her that she was making tremendous progress towards the organization she craves to achieve in her home.

To see a picture of this bookcase follow the link from #The Container Store.

http://www.containerstore.com/shop?productId=10012950&N=&Ntt=folding+bookcase

http://images.containerstore.com/catalogimages/150896/WhiteStckbleFldngBkcase300.jpg

Sometimes taking a small step, making a small change, will lead you to make bigger changes. It’s easier, for instance, to decide to organize a small space first like a drawer or a shelf. Doing one shelf or drawer – making that the way you really want it to be – can lead you to do another and then another. When you see the change in that one small space that can inspire you to make even more changes in your living environment.

Write me back and let me know what inspires you to make a change in your surroundings!

Culling Collections

February 13, 2013

Do you have lots of collections of things? Maybe there are lots and lots of clothes, toys, bric-a-brac around your home. Do you have so many of these items that none are really put away? Maybe they are out in view in piles around your home? Is this a collection?

In my mind a collection is something you put on display – in a cabinet, on a shelf or two, hanging on a wall. These are things you have sought out and purchased, or have been given, because you really like looking at them.

An over-abundance of items is not a collection in the true sense of the word. Yes, it is like items that are collected together but the over-abundance is not something you want to display. Generally, people are embarassed when they have such an over-abundance. These piles of collected items are not usually lovely to look at. In fact, sometimes it’s hard to tell what the collection is because there’s just so much of it! The homeowner generally becomes over-whelmed at the mere thought of reducing the volume because he/she doesn’t know where to begin. Another thing holding some people back is that they think about the amount of money spent on each individual item. Sometimes, they don’t want to reduce the volume of things by donating some out when they know the cost of each item – it’s all good stuff! Planning a garage sale to recoup some of the money takes organization, time and lots of effort and can be another over-whelming task.

My advice is to start with baby steps.

Begin by tackling one small area at a time. Set up 4 boxes or bags. Label the containers as follows: Keep, donate, toss, sell. When you have finished sorting the items in that one small area take the donate bag and make the donation to a church thrift store, Goodwill, or another organization of your choosing. Toss the items in the toss container. Put aside the items in the sell container and put away the items in the keep box or bag. The tackle the next area in your home. Before you know it you will have sorted and organized the piles and culled your collection of things. Then it’s time to give yourself a reward and admire all you have accomplished! Finally, gather up all the items you have set aside to sell. Take a look at your calendar and schedule a tag sale. Maybe you will ask some of your neighbors if they have things to sell also? The group can help each other set up, price items, and support each other’s efforts. A word of caution: remember you are selling things – not buying! The idea is to reduce the amount of things in your home, not to bring more things in!

Are You Organized?

January 17, 2013

What does organized look like? I believe that being organized feels and looks different for everyone. Some people like having a little bit of clutter or disarray around. They are really O.K. with that. They know they are organized because they can find what they are looking for, the amount of clutter they allow to accumulate does not stress them out, and they feel in control of their environment. Other people get stressed when there are a few items lurking around without homes. These people like to have everything put away and do not allow any clutter to accumulate.

Part of my job as a professional organizer is to find out what organized looks like for each of my clients. Everyone of my clients has a unique definition. Helping each of my clients define organized and then working with them to achieve that sense and feeling of being organized is my passion.

This is not to say that you can work to become organized, achieve that feeling of being organized and then stop. Being organized is a constant work in progress. This is because life is constantly evolving. What works for you this month may not work for you next month.

Once you have your definition of being organized and you get organized then you have to have a strategy or system to maintain the organization. When your circumstances change or when life tosses you a challenge take a step back, reassess your defintion of organized and then work to achieve it again.

Here are a few tips to help you stay organized:
1. create a daily routine
2. Put things away when you are finished with them (later rarely happens)
3. Only have things in your home that you either love, use or both
4. If you don’t love an item or you don’t use it then let someone else have it!
5. Jump start your organizing process by hiring a professional organizer

Are You Prepared?

September 4, 2012

Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? NAPO (the National Association of Professional Organizers) is working to make all homeowners more aware of ways they can prepare for disaster and emergenices in their homes and workplaces.

So, how prepared are you? Do you have an emergency medical kit? Are you curious about the items that make up such a kit?

My kit has: bandaids (a variety of sizes), gauze pads and paper tape, iodine, ant-bacterial hand santizer, latex gloves, tweezers, benadryl (topical ointment and tablets), asperin, an ace bandage and baby wipes

When you put together your kit think about the sorts of injuries that you generally take care of and then think about the items you use when dealing with those injuries.

Do you have a bag or file box that you could grab quickly with important documents/ information?  Are you wondering what documents are ‘important’? They are the ones that you would use to prove your identity (birth certificate & passport), home ownership, insurance – all types, bank and investment account numbers to name a few.    Do you have your important documents scanned onto a jump drive with the originals  in a safe deposit box at the bank. If you do, that jump drive could be in a prepared tote bag in your front hall closet.

Are you wondering if you should go to such extremes to be prepared? Well, you never know when disaster is going to strike and even though it does take time and effort to become prepared, as the saying goes – better safe than sorry.  Isn’t it better to have all the documents you would need to prove who you are, where you live, to give you access to bank accounts or investment accounts, insurance information etc. than to wish you could put your hands on them?

How else should you be prepared?  If there was a sudden fire in your house do you have smoke/carbon monoxide alarms to alert your family? Have you changed those batteries recently? Do you have fire extinguishers? Are they fully operational? You can take your fire extinguisher to a hardware store or the fire station nearest you to check their functionality. What if the fire was so sudden and enormous that everyone had to leave the house does everyone know the safest way out? In school we had regular fire drills so we would know exactly where to go should the alram sound. It’s a good idea to practice that with your family.

Take some time this month to look at ways you can prepare yourself just in case of a natural disaster!

For more information on this topic check out Judith Kolberg’s book: Organize for Disaster: Prepare Your Family and Your Home For Any Natural and Unnatural Disaster

NAPO Conference

March 26, 2012

I returned yesterday from the annual NAPO Conference which was held this year in Baltimore. The weather was spectacular and the city beckoned but I will admit I did not see much of it. I attended every session I could so, naturally, that meant I was inside the convention center. Every NAPO confence I have attended has been great but I think that the more of them I attend the more I learn. You see, every year I go I meet more and more professional organizers. This means so much to me because now I can put more faces to names on twitter and facebook. Yes, I know the profile pictures are on on these sites but when I meet these organizers  in person I learn something about them and that makes a real connection for me. Amazingly, we all speak the same ‘organizing’ language. Aside from some personal catching up we talk about and share tips and tricks for scheduling, the kind of planners we use – digital or paper – and how to use them more effectively, challenges prioritizing and challenges with clients. Of course, when we talk about clients we talk in broad terms and do not share any identifying information!

Some of the classes I took gave me terrific insight as to why (and how to help) some of my clients who may be challenged by procrastination. I also took a workshop to give me some better coaching techniques – words or phrases to use to coach a client past stuck. I would love to help them arrive at a solution of their own creation – that they may be willing – even eager to use. Another workshop taught me how to help a client better organize their closet – what to keep and why.

As you might imagine, my brain is still on overload. I’m still processing what I’ve learned and am thinking about how I will incorporate some of these organizing strategies into my business to better assist my clients.