I finally joined the National Association of Professional Organizers! (Don’t go to dot-com or dot-org unless you want the Nat’l Assns of Police Organizations or Pizzeria Operators.) Unfortunately, I can’t be an “active” member, because I don’t have any proof that I’ve been professionally organizing for over a year. I’ve just been lumping my organizing income in with all my other income. No longer! I’m going to get a Business Certificate and file a separate Schedule C. But anyway, I’ll have to be a provisional member for a year. It’s not a big deal; it mostly means NAPO won’t refer clients to me, but I think I’m getting enough clients on my own anyhow. I’m looking forward to taking their intro class. It’ll either be immensely educational, or will validate my current abilities. Maybe some of both. I wonder if I can put their logo on my website if I’m only a provisional member… I’ll have to look into that.
Here’s a brilliant insight from a guy who was on the Oprah Winfrey show today, where the theme was “living in small spaces.” Some people might feel like it’s enough to find a home for everything, but if that means your storage space is crammed tight, it won’t work well. The idea is to leave a little breathing room. Purge as necessary, and restrict acquisitions, to leave 10 percent of your storage space open.
There are so many good reasons for this!
1. It will make you feel better psychologically.
2. If you believe in that “woo woo” stuff, it sends a message to the universe that you’re open to receiving new things (not just material things).
3. It makes it much easier to move your stuff around if you decide you want things in different areas.
4. It allows you to easily receive unexpected arrivals of new stuff (for instance, a big bag of hand-me-down clothes for your kid, or your old childhood stuff that your parents finally make you take). This is presuming, of course, that you follow it up with purging stuff you no longer need and/or love.
5. It simply looks prettier, and will show off visible storage (like stuff on shelves) to its best advantage.
This idea has me so incredibly excited! Plus, it gives me an excuse to get rid of more stuff. I wouldn’t say my space is stuffed full, but I don’t think I have 10 percent open, either.
I have decided that if you refer a new client to me for organizing (presuming that the organizing actually happens), you will receive $20 off your next organizing session. This is non-transferable. You can save up credits for multiple referrals to use in the same session, but the three-hour minimum rule still applies, so to get a completely free organizing session, you’d need to send me six new clients. Hey, it can be done!
Organizing tip o’ the day: If you live in a home with multiple floors, place items that need to go up or down in a non-hazardous spot near the stairs, and bring them with you when you are changing floors anyway. It takes virtually no effort, and saves you time and energy!
Has this happened to you? You get all ambitious and energetic, and you tear up the place trying to organize and move your stuff around on a grand scale, then you poop out before the job is done and the place is a mess – worse than when you started. Or else you force yourself to finish, and wind up exhausted, and the place may look okay, but the last thing you want to do for days/weeks/months is any cleaning or organizing. And then you slide back into chaos.
To avoid this, make sure to choose a project of a realistic scope for the amount of time and energy you have available. That may mean just one kitchen drawer, one pile of stuff in the corner, just the top of the coffee table, and so on. When you finish a job, even a small one, it’s good for your state of mind: there is one completely clean and organized countertop. This way, you will train your brain to see organizing/cleaning as something manageable and satisfying. Then the trick is to keep that countertop clean and organized, and next time, do another countertop. Step by step, each room gets under control.
It’s okay to bribe yourself into tidying up and organizing. Perhaps you think “But I should do it anyway.” But you don’t. So you have a choice. You can either flog yourself over a personality defect (and not get the work done either), or allow yourself to be who you are, someone who doesn’t like tidying up.
Some useful “during” bribes include: good fast-paced music, snacks, comfy clothes, and/or company (in person, or on the phone with a headset). Sometimes I listen to radio shows online, like This American Life, if the organizing job is mindless enough.
Some good “after” bribes include: a food treat, watching a movie or TV show (especially if fluffy mindless crap), having a hot bath, and really anything you love but don’t typically make time for. I like to do artwork.
Bribes also work on reluctant sloppy spouses/housemates!
Don’t forget to make the goal attainable. You can think small: one M&M per item picked up. Conditioning and positive reinforcement work!