Monday, March 27, 2006

Organizers Gone Wild?

Just yesterday I returned from the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) Conference in Boston. Professional Organizers are a serious bunch (check out the photo of me at right from the closing keynote address).

All clowning around aside, it was an honor to be one of the few NAPO members from Michigan to attend. I was further honored to attend the invitation only leadership forum on Thursday. Through this forum I was able to meet other Professional Development Directors from NAPO Chapters throughout the United States and Canada. In addition, I volunteered as a room host for the session on eBay selling and learned great new skills that I am excited to share with my clients.

So what's with the red nose? The closing keynote speaker, Stuart Ellis-Myers, lead nearly 900 Professional Organizers from around the world through some crazy (and fun) exercises. To learn more about this dynamic speaker check out his website at:

Keep watching this blog....I have some really exciting announcements to make in the days and weeks ahead!

Monday, March 20, 2006


My clients always tell me how much happier they feel after we have worked together. This in turn makes me happy both as an individual and as a business owner. It also is of great interest to me to learn what exactly it is that makes them happier. For some clients it is having more control over their space and time. For others it is being able to have friends and family visit once again. The reasons are as varied as the individuals that I work with.

Saturday's Wall Street Journal (3/18/06) had an interesting article on the study of happiness and how marketers are using it to get people to buy their stuff. I was intrigued by the findings of Stanford University Professor Brian Knutson. According to the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Knutson's has found that "people get more satisfaction and happiness from the anticipation of a purchase than from taking ownership of the item itself." This is very interesting to me, as I can see how it directly relates to many of my clients. In my words, it's not the stuff itself that makes you happy, but the idea of having the stuff.

Another professor at State University of New York, Dr. Michael Guiry, studies "recreational shoppers" or those who shop as a way to find self affirmation. I also believe that shopping is just something to do for entertainment in our culture. In Dr. Guiry's studies, he finds that people who shop mainly for necessities only tend to have higher self-esteem than those who buy things they do not need. This makes a lot of sense to me.

What does all this academic talk mean to me and my clients? In helping my clients improve their spaces, I utimately want to help them improve their lives too. This type of information can help me understand my clients better and maybe help you understand yourself better too!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Catalog Clutter

Today I received four catalogs in the mail and two were from the same company! If this pace continued every day, I would recieve 24 catalogs in a week and 1,248 catalogs in a year! So, something has to give!

When I work with residential clients we often find tons and tons of catalogs for the recycle bin. I imagine that you too might have catalog clutter, especially if you purchase a lot of items on the internet or by mail order. Here are three simple steps to keep catalogs from taking over your home:

1) Have a container such as a basket or bin specifically for catalogs---Mine holds about 20 catalogs and when it starts to overflow I know I need to weed some out.
2) Sort the catalogs from the mail and place in the container daily---This way you know where to find them if you need to order something or just want to look at them later when you have time.
3) Request to be removed from the mailing list of catalogs you don't use---This takes only a minute and the companies are happy to save money by not sending you a catalog. In addition, this works great for duplicates like the ones I received today.

With these three simple steps you can keep catalog clutter at bay! Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Spring Cleaning

It is still cold here in Michigan, but we have had some lovely sunny days lately. It is just enough to get me thinking about spring. With spring, comes another opportunity for renewal and improvement.

Over the last few days I have spent some time spring cleaning in my home. In theory, I am not real crazy about spring cleaning because I believe in doing a little at a time all the time. But there are always those extra things that need to be done around a home that do not easily fit into a normal cleaning routine. For me, spring time (or the hope of spring) puts me in the mood to take care of those extra things.

Picking an area to organize is a great spring cleaning project. It can even help eliminate some of the work in a normal cleaning routine. According to the National Soap and Detergent Association (who knew such an organization existed?) "getting rid of excess clutter would eliminate 40% of the housework in the average home."

Here are some tips for organizing this spring:
  • *Pick a defined area such as a cupboard or closet (NOT the whole house!)
  • *Set a time on your calendar and use a timer
  • *Involve a clutter buddy or professional organizing consultant to keep on task
  • *Work uninterrupted by letting calls go to voicemail
  • *Reward yourself when the job is done

Keep checking back for more organizing and spring cleaning tips!