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Getting Organized in the Era of Endless

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Posts Tagged ‘NAPO’

The Value Of a Professional Organizer? Priceless

Friday, June 30, 2017 @ 07:06 AM
posted by admin

Recently, students at Fordham University conducted a study to identify the perceived value of hiring a Professional Organizer. This study identified reasons for hiring a Professional Organizer, the functional results of having hired a Professional Organizer and the perceived value of having done so.  A notable result of the survey was the perceived value of a reduction of stress.  

The Value of a Professional Organizer | Fileheads.net

So, you’re working in your client’s home. You are doing all that magic you do to make space for possessions where before there had been none, identifying excess for donation or give-away, and enabling your client to access what they want when they want it. But when your client hands over the payment, do you know what they value the most?

Professional Organizer’s Value To A Client

According to a survey entitled “Customer Value Perception of Professional Organizers”* conducted by researchers at Fordham University’s Gabelli School of Business, nearly half of the respondents reported that hiring a professional organizer is associated with spending more quality time with their family and friends. What clients feel they are paying for, most of all, is a social value of getting organized. Getting organized is also highly correlated (49%) with reducing stress. Although the price of paying a professional organizer is not reported as “economical,” the perception is that it’s really worth it for its “social” value.

Another primary finding of the survey is that our clients want to be heard. Of the clients surveyed, 65% of respondents report that the “empathetic nature” of a Professional Organizer builds trust. They value the conversations we have with them and the time we take to hear their stories.

Our experience and our confidence in ourselves is also perceived (over 90%) as a trust-builder. Building trust makes it possible for our clients to accomplish what the researchers identify as one of the foremost psychological values of getting organized: overcoming the emotional attachment to stuff. Fifty-eight percent of respondents cite this as a specific value of hiring us. But an even more prominent (66%) psychological value is that following the instructions of a professional organizer is easier and less stressful for our clients than making an organizing plan on their own.

From a functional point of view, 55% of respondents experienced greatly increased confidence when organizers shared organizing processes such as sorting, labeling and storing. These benefits are notable, but the most valued outcome for our clients is the capacity to find what they are looking for quickly. A full 74% felt increasingly more confident or greatly confident that hiring a professional organizer would help them in this area. Boom.

What’s The Bottom Line?

Now let’s talk bottom line: Ours and our clients. Our clients do not perceive hiring a professional organizer to have a strong financial value as measured by typical residential organizing indicators like paying bills on time, buying fewer new items, or avoiding duplicate purchases. Because neither productivity consultants’ clients nor business clients were the focus of the survey, the perception of the financial value of organizing definitely deserves more research.

However, what about our bottom line; what can we do to increase business with the knowledge we now have? Most importantly, we can be the kind of organizers who know how to communicate well with clients, to show empathy and to listen to their needs. NAPO and many coaching organizations offer classes that can “up your communication game.” Our research partners at Fordham University recommend that professional organizers also sharpen their sales pitch to clearly define the social and psychological benefits of getting organizing and not just the functional value. And lastly, it wouldn’t hurt if we implement innovative pricing schemes to make our services more economical, if we are not already doing so. Concepts such as sliding scales, pricing packages, or special discounts are examples that are economical but do not undercut our value-rich rates.

Where Does A Professional Organizer Go From Here?

There is much fertile ground for ongoing research. One fact that leaps out from the survey is that both we organizers and our clients are overwhelmingly female-identified. Would the results of the survey be different if the sample included more male respondents? We simply do not know…yet. But we do know that the market for bringing men into the profession and into our client base is wide open. The motivation of millennials (26-35 year olds) for hiring professional organizers is least well-known. Over 80% of respondents were over 46 years old. Perhaps millennials are too young to need us…yet. But we should get ready. They’ll be here. Let’s be sure we’re reaching out to younger people to join NAPO. We may find that their cohort clientele will have totally different perceptions of the value of professional organizing and productivity consulting.

* NAPO professional organizers and productivity consultants volunteered the names of clients to participate in the survey. The researchers contacted the clients by email. Assuring anonymity, 96 clients actually completed the survey. Background research was also gathered from industry-related blogs, articles, white papers, personal interviews with professional organizers, and websites.

The Value of a Professional Organizer | Fileheads.net

This post originally appeared on the NAPO Get Organized blog.

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Professional Organizers: The Who, What & Why of the Organizing Industry

Friday, June 2, 2017 @ 05:06 AM
posted by admin

Professional Organizers: The Who, What & Why of the Organizing Industry | Fileheads.net

What Does A Professional Organizer Do?

According to a survey of 1,001 people sponsored by the National Association of Professional Organizers, the public is well-aware of the term “professional organizer”. In fact, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed is familiar with the term*. More than half of those surveyed know professional organizers assisting in both the home and work environments, and the public totally get that they can help reduce clutter, lower stress, and help them find things easier. In fact, 22% of all respondents who’ve never used an organizer’s services would consider hiring one. One of the primary factors that influences this decision is whether their friends or family members saw results when working with a professional organizer.

Why Should You Hire A Professional Organizer?

The tough nuts are those 50% of respondents who have not yet used a professional organizer and are holding back. Why? No, it’s not value. “I think it’s a waste of money” actually comes in fifth place. Is it cost? No, guess again. The number one reason people do not consider hiring a professional organizer is “I can do it myself.” Okay. Have at it. But when your home office explodes or your den has to house your returning adult children, the professional organizer be here for you. The office and den are the most disorganized rooms of a home, according to the survey at 42%, followed by the kitchen (35%), laundry room (33%) and master bedroom (30%).

Who Is Most Likely To Hire A Professional Organizer?

25-34 year olds are most primed to hire a professional organizer, the survey reveals, followed closely by 35-44 year olds. And although the survey does not make it clear what they might need from an organizer that differs from other age groups, we know that these millennials have just surpassed the Baby Boomers in numbers reaching 75.4 million this year. So there’s plenty of organizing business go to around.

Once someone hires an organizer, 73% of respondents with prior use of a professional organizer would hire one again and not just for clutter-control but for the broader benefits of increased safety and security and improved relationships. Who knew? Well, now you know!

Click here for a great infographics with more statistics from this survey.


*Conducted in April, 2016 by NAPO, the first annualPublic Survey is sponsored by the National Association of Professional Organizers. It surveyed 1001 qualified respondents on questions related to residential and office organization, organizing industry awareness, and perceptions of the public to that industry. Qualified respondents are US citizens only, over the age of 25 and who own their own home. For more information about these results, please contact Kahra Buss at kahra.buss@napo.net.

Professional Organizers: The Who, What & Why of the Organizing Industry | Fileheads.net

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What is a Professional Organizer?

Friday, March 24, 2017 @ 05:03 AM
posted by admin

Recently the National Association for Professional Organizers conducted the first annual Public Survey to find out what the public knows about professional organizers and what they think about them.

What they discovered is very interesting. Read more about the results here.

What is a Professional Organizer? | NAPO.net

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What We Are Most Likely To Forget During A Disaster

Monday, September 14, 2015 @ 06:09 AM
posted by admin

Don't forget these things in an emergency! Tips from Professional Organizer Judith Kolberg of fileheads.net

September is Disaster Preparedness Month. Recently I was interviewed by a Los Angeles Times reporter writing an article about things we might forget to do during a disaster. Stress is high. The brain gets overwhelmed. We’re often sleep deprived. It is a perfect storm, if you’ll excuse the pun, for forgetfulness. I am the author of Organize for Disaster: Prepare Your Family and Your Home for Any Natural or Unnatural Disaster and while it’s a great book, you won’t find these ‘Don’t Forget’ tips in it. Disaster preparedness is a very dynamic field. After every disaster, there is always more to learn and implement into our own personal disaster preparedness plans.

So, what might you forget to do?

Don’t forget to periodically download to a flash drive, digital information such as the account numbers and log in information for your web-based bank and brokerage accounts. Make sure you give the flash drive to a designated authorized representative, Executor or Power of Attorney in the event of your incapacitation or death or in the event the disaster wipes out the Internet. See my Creating Your Digital Estate Plan for more tips.

Don’t forget to download a local disaster preparedness app on your phone. A local app is going to tell you about school closings, shelter locations and roads that are flooded. Get one from your state Emergency Management Association or your county American Red Cross office.

Don’t forget to pack a cell phone charger in your disaster kit. I like this one. Solar chargers are good too, but then again many disasters are sunless events.

Don’t forget to set up a Twitter and a Facebook account. You will find it a useful way to communicate with family, friends and co-workers during a disaster even if you don’t use it for any other purpose.

Don’t forget to rehearse your home evacuation plan in the daytime and in the dark of night.

 

Organize for Disaster by Judith Kolberg, fileheads.net

 

If you want to learn more ways to protect your family and home in the event of a disaster, I recommend my book, Organize for Disaster: Prepare Your Family and Your Home for Any Natural or Unnatural Disaster.

 

 

Other Posts You Might Enjoy

Organize For Disaster

Creating Your Digital Estate Plan

 

Calendar of Upcoming Organizing Events

Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) Annual Conference and Exhibition – September 17-19, 2015, Cleveland, OH, Exhibitor

Professional Organizers of Canada, Virtual Chapter, January, 2016

National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Annual Conference and Exhibition. May 18-21, 2016, Atlanta, GA. Workshop TBA

 

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Making New Year’s Resolutions

Monday, January 12, 2015 @ 05:01 PM
posted by admin

The word resolve comes from the Latin verb solvere which means to loosen or to dissolve. In modern terms, we’ve stretched this definition to mean taking on a big or tough project and little by little “dissolving” it. Resolve also has a second meaning: to make clear and unambiguous, to bring to conclusion. Here the emphasis is on focusing in on the exact outcome you want. Taking both meanings together, you can craft some pretty potent resolutions.

Let’s say you want to get organized. Focus in on exactly what you mean by get organized. Maybe it’s to dig out of a complex, disorganized physical mess. Maybe you want to develop regular, long-term habits and routines that keep you on top of things. Or perhaps your resolution is to become a better time manager. Focus first; then dissolve it, break it down: Square foot by square foot, habit by habit and daily plan by daily plan.

Realize that many resolutions require behavioral changes over time. Such changes always work best when you get some help. Find a supportive, non-judgmental family member or friend to help you with your resolve, or consider hiring a professional organizer or an organizing coach at www.napo.net.

Resolving to Get Rid of Your Stuff

High on the list of New Year’s resolutions is getting rid of excess stuff. For many disorganized people, this is not as easy as it sounds. Some people lack information about the many options available for getting rid of stuff. Others just can’t seem to get the logistics to line up including finding the time, applying the effort, or preparing stuff to go. Most, I think, get stuck on the decision-making process itself.

I developed a set of Get Rid of Your Stuff flashcards. Because they are colorful, graphic and tactile (as well as informative) the flashcards give disorganized folks a simple tool for making what I call “de-acquisition” decisions.  “The flashcards helped me learn all the different ways to get rid of stuff,” my client said. “Donations, eBay, CraigsList, consignments, yard sales, giving things away for free to family or strangers – the list goes on and on.”

Professional organizers use them out in the field to help sort stuff, improve decision making, discuss de-acquisition options, and plan the logistics. But the flashcards are designed for anybody who wants to reduce clutter. They make excellent gifts and can be ordered at www.squallpress.net.

Resolving to Plan Your Digital Estate

Recently, I addressed the American Association of Daily Money Managers (AADMM). My AADMM colleagues report that estate planning is high up on their clients’ resolution lists. I’m not a money manager, accountant, tax or financial professional of any kind, so it’s not my role to give you specific advice about your estate. But I would like to tell you a story by way of introducing you to digital estate planning.

My client Maxine died suddenly. I was helping organize her digital and tangible documents. Maxine’s executor notified the banks and other financial institutions of her death. But there were passwords and user codes and security questions to answer to access Maxine’s accounts that took weeks of hard work to untangle. And just when the family thought the estate was well on its way being settled, digital assets emerged. There was a web-only checking account Maxine had in the cloud with no paper trail and a PayPal account without any hardcopy statements.

We all have tangible and digital assets and information. I read about a guy who owned a “digital sword” he purchased for $17,000 to play high-stakes, international video games and legally it was considered an estate asset. I’d like to suggest in 2015, that you:

  • Create a password-protected document (like an Excel spreadsheet) of your login information so your executor and family can settle your account with less fuss and muss. In addition to your online accounts, consider “invisible” (web-only) accounts like Emigrant Direct and Voya and other places money might stowed, like PayPal accounts.
  • Next, inventory your digital assets and list how to gain access to them. Include the aforementioned accounts plus Bitcoins, royalties you may have coming in from the sale of eBooks on Kindle and Nook, seller’s accounts you might have with eBay, digital swords – you’d be surprised how many assets you have when you sit down and think about it. Even your domain name might have value to your estate. Find out at sedo.com.
  • Consider the Excel spreadsheet or other document you create a part of your final documents. Lock it down with a password, disclosed only to your executor, of at least 15 mixed characters and numbers. Keep a hardcopy with your Will. Download it to a flash drive and hand it to your executor. Keep a copy for yourself on a flash drive and consider not having a copy on your hard drive at all. Some folks also like to store a copy in the cloud at www.legacylocker or www.finaldeparture.com.

Watch for my Digital Estate Planning Kit at year’s end. Meanwhile, you can download a free Digital Estate Plan checklist at www.squallpress.net

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Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014 @ 10:01 AM
posted by admin

Happy New Year and more importantly, Happy National Get Organized month!

For many people, ‘getting organized’ and ‘happy’ in the same sentence is a contradiction in terms. Brother International Corporation’s (BIC) recent study on personal organizing indicates that it can yield a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of calm and relaxation, and even—dare we say it—’happiness.’ Still people avoid it. My advice?

  • Write down a small, achievable organizing goal.
  • Don’t go it alone. Bring a (non-judgmental) friend or family member in for support.
  • Know when you need a pro.
  • Wait for a tipping point.

Click here to view the the complete Filehead newsletter.

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Organizing In Other Countries

Sunday, April 15, 2012 @ 06:04 PM
posted by admin

Organization and Quality of Life

             Organization is a little like art. We may not always know how to describe it but we know it when we see it. Without ‘organization’ the quality of our lives is diminished. I have been privileged, as a public speaker to travel to Japan and The Netherlands. I have had organizing clients in Bermuda and Costa Rica. And I’ve corresponded regularly with readers of my books in Korea, Brussels, England and Saudi Arabia. Everyone I have spoken with shares the view that quality of life and organization are paired.  “An organizer is uniquely able to influence a client on reaching goals, managing stress, and getting things done” notes Mayumi Takahari, President of the Japanese Association of Life Organizers. Reaching goals, managing stress, and enhancing productivity are at the very heart of a good quality of life. My Bermuda real estate client said, “I want to conduct my business efficiently but not lose sight of old ways that bring us quality of life in Bermuda.” In organizing terms, that meant setting up office hours rather than permitting constant interruptions, and developing routines at work so her fine 18th century home could be dedicated to family and leisure.

Organization and Demographic Shifts    

            The Japanese are known for living and working efficiently in small spaces. The average home is only 983 square feet. They enjoy the planet’s longest life span. It is common to see active 80 and 90-year olds. There are also many baby boomers. Elderly Japanese are increasingly moving into senior community homes. Many middle-age boomers no longer want their parent’s possessions. “Middle aged people and younger prefer to shop at IKEA”, my Japanese/American translator told me. Coping with multi-generational stuff that is no longer wanted or handed-down is an example of how professional organizers are smoothing out these demographic shifts. Demographics in The Netherlands are also shifting. It is common for both household adults to be working. Boomers are sandwiched between the needs of their grown children and elderly parents just like in the US. Affordable housing is in very short supply. And, more and more people are working from home as corporations outsource. Here too, organizers smooth the way helping families and businesses manage projects, time, clutter and space.

 Organizing Makes The World Greener

             The rain forests of Costa Rica with ozone-filled clouds wafting past 2,000 year old trees and bizarrely colored frogs jumping at your feet can turn anyone into an environmentalist. My client, a professor at a Costa Rican university, and I traveled miles to take waste paper from her office to a trade school where it is combined with banana by-products and pressed it into another generation of paper. Recycling, reusing and repurposing is important in small countries were landfills are not an alternative. Even small towns in Japan have modest recycling centers. Charitable-giving, with its roots in the Christian church, is not a big part of Japanese culture. In Holland these charitable thrift stores are common and known as ‘kringloopwinkels.’ “In the Netherlands we are known for frugality”, a leading organizer told me. “Our clients tend to want certain objects completely used up before they are willing to discard them.” Yard sales and garage sales are strictly a US tradition, though flea markets have there origin in Europe. My Dutch colleagues were unfamiliar with consignments stores but Tokyo touts high-end, designer brand consignment stores. Every country has its own reuse, repurpose and recycle methods.  

Organizing Is Universal and Personal At the Same Time

             Organizing has universal appeal, but it is still a fairly personal activity. This is very beneficial to chronically disorganized clients who require one to one assistance. A Japanese organizer asked me, “I am patient while my client learns the organizing process. I believe it is better to wait than rush her. However, it means the organizing takes a very long time. Can you tell me how to manage a client who works so slowly?” Organizers everywhere confront these issues with grace and compassion. The Netherlands, with its long tradition of psychology (think Freud) makes it easy for organizers to connect how the mind works to how people organize. If you are diagnosed with ADD you can get a ‘persoonsgebonden’, a personal budget from the government for services, including organizing services. In Japan, an obstacle to organizing like a neurological disorder or a learning difference might still be considered a personal failing though thanks in part to professional organizers, that is changing. In Bermuda, Costa Rica, and many countries throughout the world, asking for organizing support carries a stigma. Organizers are playing a role in helping to bring that stigma to an end.

 —-This article originally appeared in the March/April 2012 issue of NAPO News.

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New Classes of Information

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 @ 09:03 AM
posted by admin

Are you confused about what information to keep? How to keep it and for how long? Digital society has given rise to entirely new classes of information that require us to make more and more deliberate us decisions about our ‘stuff’. If you don’t decide, you let the deluge of information overwhelm you. Consider bank statements, for instance. Hard copy or digital or both? Hard copy gives you that ease of viewing without ever being near a computer (assuming your bank statements are well-organized), and are permanent unless you have a major fire in your home but they do take up space. Digital copies are neatly organized and invisibly stored but only accessible with a computer. Also, many banks are putting a limit on how long they’ll keep your digital data. Both versions, digital and hard, seems a bit exccessive. And so it goes, for every document and bit of information you encounter.

New Classes of Information                          Sample______________________

Born digital/stays digital                 E-greeting cards 

Born digital/tangible twin set        Electronic legal document, printed and signed

Born digital/selective tangible       E-mail

Born tangible/stays tangible           Greeting cards received by snail mail

Born tangible/digital twin set         Heritage photos with no negatives that are scanned

Born tangible/selective digital       Business cards

In the book Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, the author, Viktor Mayer-Schonberger predicts photos and documents will soon come with self-determined expiration dates and the capacity to self-destruct. Remind anybody of Mission Impossible? Until then, I highley recommend, given our digital society, that you proactively determine which documents are in which class. Those decisions will then guide you about storage, retention and disposal. But if you’re still overwhelmed, contact a local professional organizer to give you a hand.

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