The professional organizing industry has been in the media spotlight recently, which has created positive publicity and awareness, through television programs, magazine articles and a huge variety of organizing websites and services. At the same time, this spotlight has created some misunderstandings in the mind of the public. Angela F. Wallace, CPO®, who lives in Marin County, is President of the National Association of Professional Organizers. In a recent interview, she shared what is happening in the organizing industry.
What is the role of the President of NAPO?
The National Association of Professional Organizers is an organization of 4000+ members, managed by a professional association management company. The board of directors is a group of volunteers. Duties of the president include serving on the Board of Directors, working with the Executive Director, handling issues that arise, and presiding over the quarterly board meetings.
What should consumers know about working with a Professional Organizer?
Hiring a professional organizer is similar to hiring any professional service company; there are many different styles. Look for training and certification. Consumers may need to try several organizers before they find the right fit. When working with a service professional, there needs to be an energetic match. It’s similar to finding the right hair stylist.
What is the biggest misconception of working with an organizer?
There are several misconceptions.
1. Consumers think, “I don’t want to show them my space; they will judge me.” Professional Organizers are actually a very compassionate group.
2. Consumers think that organizers will come in and tidy up. Actually, what they do is come in and create systems to help their clients’ lives flow better.
3. Consumers think that organizers will tell them what to do. Instead, organizers help their clients create systems that work.
What is the trend in organizing right now?
Media has given a lot of focus to hoarders, but (what many people don’t know is that) most organizers don’t actually work with hoarders. Recently, someone asked how many tubes of lipstick is considered hoarding. As the President of NAPO, part of the job is to dispel those myths.
Where is the organizing industry heading in the next 5 years?
The need for organizing services is not going away. The need is global, not unique to Western Culture. In Japan, there is a new professional organizers association. In three years, it has gained over 200 members. Japan has very small spaces, which makes clutter management important.
Is there anything else consumers should know?
The need for organizing on both the residential and business fronts will continue to grow. Consumers have too much information coming into their lives: email, texts, flyers from school and internet research. The digital age did not make people organized; it just created a mindset of “out of sight, out of mind.” They still can’t find what they need! If a person can’t find what they need, then why have it?
Organizing is about function. Consumers need to ask themselves if their space is functioning for them. It’s not about quantity. If belongings are creating a negative impact, then it’s time to do something about it.
Clean, tidy and organized are not the same thing. A home can be tidy and disorganized, or dirty and organized. What each person thinks of as organized can really vary. Also, television shows create an unrealistic expectation as to what can get done in one hour.
To find an organizer, go to www.napo.net and click on “Find a Professional Organizer.”
Angela F. Wallace, CPO® is the President of the National Association of Professional Organizers and owner of Wallace Associates, located in Novato. To contact Angela, please visit www.wallaceassociates.net.