Interesting Facts About The Professional Organizing Industry

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I’ve been thinking about this one for a while so I thought I’d just go for it and put it out there.

There are a lot of people who claim to be Professional Organizers out there. But are they really?

Professional Organizing is still a highly unregulated field. Even though Professional Organizers have been around for a very long time, it is still considered a “young” profession. We don’t even have a code for the IRS when we file taxes. In fact, some of us have to say that we’re movers or interior designers so that the IRS can categorize us. We’re trying to get acknowledged by the IRS and so many other governmental entities but given that we are still a growing industry it’s going to take time.

There are many people who choose this industry as an occupation because it doesn’t yet require licensing, a degree or certification. Due to the lack of requirements, people can just hang out a shingle and claim that they are a Professional Organizer. It seems easy. But, the truth is that this industry is anything but easy. It requires skill, patience, knowledge, business acumen, physical strength and stamina, resources and so much more.

The thing is, I take my profession seriously. I just have to hope that others seeking to provide services under the umbrella of Professional Organizing will do the same. Those that don’t actually do more harm than good. Those who are putting themselves out there as Professional Organizers should be experienced and prepared to handle the job they’re hired for.

NAPO, the National Association of Professional Organizers, is a worldwide association that provides its members with education, certifications in certain areas are now available and more importantly a code of ethics. IMHO anyone out there providing organizing services should be part of this association if they are serious about this profession. Those that don’t, will unfortunately undermine the success of this profession.

One of the most important lessons I learned as a member of NAPO is “do no harm”. Simply put, if you aren’t qualified to work with a potential client then refer them to someone that is. In this line of work, we come across people from every walk of life, every ethnicity, race, age and people of varying degrees of abilities, both mentally and physically.  Everyone has their own issues, reasons, circumstances and we must understand our limitations as Organizers as to who we should and should not work with based on our experience, skills, knowledge, etc.

So, I will leave you with some good advice when seeking the assistance of a Professional Organizer. Do your due diligence and ask these questions:

  • Are you a member of NAPO? You can check to see if someone you want to work with is a member.
  • Are you insured? Ask for proof of general liability insurance.
  • Do you have a business license? Ask to see it.
  • Do you have an on-line presence? As for their website, social media, blog info.
  • Do you have the experience and resources to undertake the task at hand? Inquire about their experience/years in business.
  • Ask to see before and after photos of other, and perhaps similar, jobs.
  • Ask for references from prior or present clients. Do check references!
  • Check Yelp or Google-My-Business to see their reviews.
  • Find out what their specialty is so that you can make sure they would be a good fit. There are many, many areas that organizers can specialize in (ie., photo organizing, relocations, digital organizing, etc.)
  • Find out if they are a sole practitioner or if they have employees as some jobs require more than one person.
  • Finally, make sure that whoever you hire understands what YOUR goal is.  Be clear about what you want the outcome to be so that your expectations are clear.  Make sure you’re on the same page as the person/company that you ultimately hire.

    If you want to get organized, or better organized, please give us a call. We’d love to be of service!

    What Is Disorganization Costing You?

    You know you have “it”. You just can’t find “it”. So, after looking and trying hard to remember where you put “it” or last saw “it” you go to the store to replace “it”.

    “IT” represents so many things that I can’t even give “it” a name. It’s your keys, glasses, the stapler, the phone charger, your ear buds, wallet, yada, yada, yada.

    We’ve all heard it a million times … “time is money”. We spend time looking for lost or misplaced items and that’s time we could be getting work done. Work that we get paid for. Hell, it’s time we could be doing just about anything else that would be better than searching for something and, its soooooo frustrating! Oh, and more importantly, it’s time you’re never getting back!

    Not being able to find what you want, when you want it, also costs money because when you finally give up looking, you wind up buying whatever “it” is again.

    Then, and it always happens, when you’re not even looking, whatever “it” is turns up again. Now you have 2 or 3 of the same thing. You have extras that you really don’t need and probably don’t have space for. It’s an endless cycle and it is costing you time, money and frustration.

    So, what to do? It’s really easy. Seriously…it’s easy. Just give everything a home and put it back where it belongs when you’re finished. Anything that doesn’t have a home, a place where it belongs, will become clutter. It’s just a fact.

    Look. We’re all busy! We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We can all choose how we spend that time. You can keep doing what you’re doing and waste time looking for things that you know you have but simply can’t find OR, you can decide to do things differently. It will take time to put systems into place and it will take time to form the habit to put things where they belong BUT, once you do, you’ll be so much better off.

    Wouldn’t it be great to not have to always be in search of your keys and/or cell phone? Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could find exactly what you need when you need it? Give yourself back the hours of wasted time each day/week and dedicate some time this summer to get your sh*t together.

    Purge. Rearrange things so that they make more sense. Put like items together with like items. Get organizing/storage products to store things in and around the house so that they are contained, especially the smaller items.

    Designate certain places for important items. For example, always drop your keys in a basket on the counter when you walk into the house. You’ll never misplace your keys again.

    I told you. It’s really easy. You just have to make the time to put systems into place and they don’t have to be extravagant or difficult. Keep it simple!

    If you need any assistance, give us a call. We’d love to be of service!

    In the meantime, take a look at these interesting statistics regarding the cost of disorganization:

    • So-called “crisis” purchases or fees related to disorganization can cost as much as 15-20% of your annual budget including buying duplicates of misplaced or broken items, last minute shopping at higher prices and extra interest and finance charges.
    • 15% of all paper handled in businesses is lost
    • 30% of all employees’ time is spent trying to find lost document
    • Average Americans spend one year of their life looking for lost or misplaced items. US News and World Report
    • On average, we spend 6 minutes looking for our keys in the morning. IKEA
    • The top five items men look for in their homes are clean socks, remote control, wedding album, car keys and driver’s license. IKEA
    • For women, the top five items are shoes, a child’s toy, wallet, lipstick and the remote control. IKEA
    • The average American wastes 55 minutes a day (roughly 12 days a year) looking for things they own but can’t find. Newsweek
    • The average office employee spends 1.5 hours a day (6 weeks per year) looking for things.
    • The typical executive wastes 150 hours a year (almost an entire month), searching for lost information. For someone earning $50,000 a year, this loss is equivalent to $3,842 annually. Forbes ASAP
    • Americans waste more than 9 million hours each day looking for lost and misplaced articles. American Demographic Society
    • 55% of consumers polled say they would save 16 minutes to one hour a day if they were more organized. Those consumers are then wasting 2-15 days a year! NAPO

    Less Really is More

    This is a true story. It’s my story.

    I realized late Saturday night that there was a leak in the ceiling of my bedroom. It started as a slow drip and within 8 hours turned into a HUGE project. I’ll spare you the details BUT, basically “they” had to remove the ceiling in my bedroom, do mold remediation and so much more. It’s was a 10 day ordeal and, needless to say, I’m not a happy camper.

    What a s*it show. I had to move out of my house for a few days and I had to pack most of the house to get things out of the way for the construction to begin. Even though the major damage was in the bedroom, the whole house was affected in some way or another.

    There’s more to the story obviously, but I just want to make a point. I wasn’t expecting this but, it happened and I had to deal with it. Thankfully, because I am organized, it was a lot better than it might have been. I was able to get my hands on all of the important insurance papers, warranties and service providers that I needed to take quick action. I was able to get the packing done in just a few hours as there wasn’t that much “stuff”. I’m not minimalist BUT the amount of “stuff” that I have is manageable.

    I can only imagine that if I had more “stuff” how much more difficult this would have been. I can only surmise that had I needed to dig through to find the information/documents I needed that this project would have taken a whole lot longer to get started. By the way, the fact that I was able to get started immediately probably saved me thousands as the mold issue would have gotten progressively worse.

    The lesson is that being organized really helped but, more importantly, ”Less is More”. It’s just a fact. The more you have the more you have to deal with. The packing, storing and cleaning is just ten times worse especially when an emergency arises. More importantly, the more you have the more the loss can be as well. Important fact: not everything that gets damaged can be replaced and not everything is insurable.

    You never know when an emergency will strike. I’ve done a newsletter already about Emergency Preparedness (which you can find on my Blog on my website) but this is a bit different. This isn’t about a major event. It doesn’t always have to be a major event for you to be prepared. This wasn’t life threatening. It was, however, a major disruption emotionally, physically and financially (ugh!).

    So, I am asking you to question whether you need it all. Ask yourself what you would do if suddenly you had to pack up and get out of the house quickly, even for a short period of time? Could you do that? Could you find what you needed to survive for a few days or a week without access to your home or belongings?

    I’m not gonna go all Marie Kondo on you and ask if you love everything you own before deciding whether to keep it or toss it. I am, however, going to tell you that you can literally downsize every day, a little at a time. Every time you go into a cabinet, cupboard, drawer really look for a minute and remove anything that:

    -Is chipped, broken, missing a piece
    -One of a kind when it’s supposed to be a set
    -Brings bad memories
    -Doesn’t fit
    -Isn’t “in” anymore
    -You never liked and/or got it as a gift but never wanted/needed it
    -Old books that you no longer need (think textbooks)
    -Decorative items that are just done
    -Medicines or supplements or food that is way past the expiration date
    -Magazines or newspapers older than 3 months old.

    We all accumulate stuff! But, we don’t have to keep it all forever.

    So, my advice is to get started. If this feels overwhelming, give us a call. We’d love to be of service!

    Does Your Closet Need Some Love?

    As Professional Organizers, we are in other people’s closets almost every day. And, every day, we try to figure out new and different ways to help people find more room and functionality for their clothes and accessories.

    Many people call us because they need help to make their closet functional. Some, if not most, need more space. Others want to redesign their closet to add more features.

    Unfortunately, they hire either a handyman or a closet company to design and build the closet without consulting an Organizer and wind up disappointed because there’s so many things they weren’t told about or didn’t know about that could have made their closet more functional and/or accessible.

    So, if your closet needs some love, here are some things that every closet should have:

    1. Good Hangers – Yes. This makes a difference. The thinner they are the more room you’ll have to hang your clothes. Make sure that you have the different kinds needed (ie., pants hangers are different than shirt hangers)

    2. Belt Rack – Everyone has belts. There should be a belt rack in every closet

    3. Valet Rod – They come in really handy when you’re getting dressed

    4. Adjustable Shelves – Every shelf should be adjustable because everyone’s needs are different

    5. Drawers – Every closet should have at least 5 drawers of different depths to accommodate underwear, socks, lingerie and other personal items

    6. Hanging area for longer items – Every closet should have a place to hang Dresses, Suits, Robes and other long items

    7. Double hanging area for pants – You can make more room by having double hanging areas for shorter items

    8. Shelves for Shoes – Make sure these shelves are not slanted as the shoes usually fall off

    9. Full-Length Mirror – It’s always a good idea to have a full-length mirror somewhere in the closet so you can see how you look when you’re getting dressed without having to leave the closet

    10. A Chair or small bench – If space allows it’s a good addition so you don’t have to go somewhere else to put on your shoes

    Seems simple enough but you’d be surprised how many closets don’t have these items built in.

    If your closet needs some attention, give us a call, we’d LOVE to be of service!


    If You Were Organized or Better Organized
    As I was selecting a quote for this month’s newsletter, I decided to use the lyrics of John Lennon’s Song “Imagine” (see lyrics below). I thought it was appropriate given the state of the world at the moment. Wouldn’t it be amazing if his words of wisdom were finally realized? I do hope so and I hope that this senseless war will end SOON. In the meantime, my heart and prayers go out to the people of Ukraine.
    For the sake of this newsletter, I must digress and bring it back to offering some of my own words of wisdom when it comes to Organizing.
    I often talk to my clients about their goals when we first meet to talk about their organizing project. I ask them to “imagine” what it would feel like to be organized and to describe that to me. This helps us determine what to do so that ultimately, our client is happy with the results.
    In this article, I ask you to “imagine” how you would feel if:
    1. You could quickly and consistently find something (ie, your keys or wallet) when you want it or more importantly, need it.
    2. You knew where to put something (ie, your purse, backpack, briefcase) when you get to your home or office so that if was always in that same spot if and when you need it (instead of just throwing it on the floor or nearest surface).
    3. You could have more time in your day (we all have the same 24 hours but we don’t all use them effectively) to do the things you enjoy.
    4. You could feel more confident inviting people to your home or office without having to stress out about “getting it together” before your company arrives.
    5. You could save money by not having to buy the same thing twice (ya know, when you know you have something in the house but just can’t find it. Maybe its something as simple as glue. Then you have to go out in a hurry to buy it, only to find that item a few weeks or months later when it appears in an unlikely place).
    6. Finally, since Tax time is upon us, what if you could pull all of the documents together for your taxes, whether you’re doing them or having a professional do them for you, in an hour instead of it being an all day and dreadful event?
    These are just a few of the many things that can and will improve if you are “better” organized.
    For those of you who think you are already organized, I have news for you…you can always be “better” organized. I have been organizing since I was 2 years old and professionally for 12 years and I still continue to learn about new and different ways to organize things when working with my colleagues on different jobs. Not to mention that there are a countless number of organizing products on the market that you might not know about. Sometimes, just another set of eyes and another way of doing things can help you get “better” organized.
    Oh, and one more thing…it’s always easier and more fun to undertake an organizing project with someone else.
    And, if I don’t say so myself, we have an amazing team of Professional Organizers who can help you get organized or “better” organized as the case may be. Check out the “About Us” page on our website ( to learn more.
    We’re ready when you are. Give us a call!

    Spring Cleaning Inspiration

    Spring is here! Longer days, better weather, flowers in bloom. It is definitely my favorite season.

    For some reason springtime is also synonymous with Spring Cleaning and that, in turn, leads to organizing. It’s the time of year that inspires us to purge and organize. So, let’s get to it!

    While it may not sound like or actually be fun, we all need to do some Spring Cleaning from time to time and, IMO, not only in Spring. I think each new season is a good time to purge and tidy up a little. It’s a chance to get rid of things that are ripped, soiled, broken, missing a piece, no longer fits or no longer feels or looks good. A little purging and tidying up can go a long way toward eliminating clutter and the results are well worth the effort.

    When it comes to purging and/or de-cluttering you can do it as you go about your life, which will help keep things organized. OR, you can do it later when the piles are high, things are out-of-control or you can’t find what you want or need. But why wait until that happens? Why not just make organizing a part of your daily routine. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Just a few minutes each day. Why not just try doing things differently for one month to see how it works out?

    As we’ve all heard… “The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result”. Why not stop the insanity and try selecting one area, one small area, that needs to be organized? Take a few minutes (since it’s a small area) and organize it.

    I suggest that you do whatever you can, when you can. Organizing isn’t just something that happens once. It’s always work in progress. Take a few minutes every day to stay on top of things. Open the mail, clean the dishes or put them in the dishwasher, do a load of laundry and then take the time to fold it and put it away. Whatever you choose, just do something around the house every day so things don’t build up and get out of control.

    We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We all have choices about how to spend that time. Spending just a few minutes every day to get something done, anything, will help you get organized and stay organized.

    “They” say that clutter is caused by delayed decisions and not having a designated place for something. If it’s not dealt with, it will undoubtedly continue to grow over time and get out-of-control, adding more stress and distraction to our already busy lives.

    NOTE: Rule of Thumb: If you take something out, put it away when you’re finished. Put it, whatever “it” is, where it belongs.

    Here are some hard and fast rules for organizing just about anything:

    • Get your supplies – Bags for trash, bins for laundry, boxes for donations, new hangers so that things look cohesive, labels so you can find things easily
    • Take everything out of whatever area you are working on
    • Sort things into categories – Put like items with like items
    • Get rid of the trash
    • Make a pile of donations if applicable
    • Decide what to put back
    • Put things back so that they are accessible
    • Label whenever possible

    Even if we get close or succeed in achieving our organizing goal, perfect order is never a finish line. It’s a moving target because life isn’t static. That’s why we have to maintain whatever systems we put into place to sustain them. I can assure you that you will be more inclined to maintain the area you organized because you’ve put in the time and effort. Because it will look good, feel good and will undoubtedly make your life easier.

    Come on…Just do it! If you need help, we’re ready! It’s what we do. Call us anytime.