They can do that? 10 services you didn’t know professional organizers provided

NAPO members discuss what consumers should ask when hiring a professional organizer in the Smead podcast series, “Keeping You Organized.” Click the image to watch.

NAPO members discuss what consumers should ask when hiring a professional organizer in the Smead podcast series, “Keeping You Organized.” Click the image to watch.

When people think of the services professional organizers provide, de-cluttering closets, setting up filing systems, creating time management strategies, or designing custom garage storage systems typically come to mind. But professional organizers specialize in many different areas, and can help overcome a variety of organizing challenges faced at home or at work. Here is a list of some lesser-known services they offer:

  1. Specialty Moving & Relocation: Need help packing the kids up for summer camp or moving your college student into his or her dorm?  There’s an organizer for that! Hiring a pro lets parents stress less and spend more quality time with their kids before they go away, and helps college students get off to an organized start when living away from home for the first time.
  2. Organizing and Cataloging Collections: From photographs to memorabilia to wine, if you need to manage the items in your collection for insurance purposes, display, or simply for easy access, a professional organizer who specializes in collections can help you keep track of the items you have so carefully curated.
  3. Blending Households: A professional organizer can help preserve household harmony when new spouses, stepfamilies, roommates, or parents find themselves sharing living space, and need to find places for everyone’s stuff.
  4. Eco-Conscious Organizing: Everyone is more aware of humans’ effect on our environment, and for those consumers who actively try to reduce their overall impact, there are organizing professionals who specialize in sustainable ways to reduce clutter, organize and recycle unwanted items.
  5. Technology Organizing: Need someone to help set up your new smartphone?  Need help keeping track of documents and files on your home and work mobile devices? Need help figuring which apps to use to help you stay organized?  Tech-savvy professional organizers can help you get the most out of your electronic devices.
  6. Personal Assistant/Concierge Services: If staying organized means you need a helping hand running errands, scheduling appointments, or fulfilling other commitments, professional organizers who also provide assistant or concierge services will keep you in control of all the aspects of your busy life.
  7. Medical/Legal Office Organizing: Establishing effective filing systems, chain-of-custody protocols, and document retention policies is vital to successful case management and protecting sensitive and confidential information. A professional organizer experienced in medical or legal organizing can help improve office efficiency and maintain client privacy.
  8. Estate Sales: When a person passes away leaving behind a home full of possessions, sorting through a lifetime of memories may be too much for grieving loved ones to handle.  Professional organizers who offer estate sale services coordinate the sale or donation of unwanted items, taking the burden off family or friends at a difficult time.
  9. Working with People with ADHD or ADD: For people who struggle with attention-deficit disorders, routines and systems can dramatically help them maintain focus so they can be more productive at home, school, and work. Organizing experts who specialize in working with those living with ADHD or ADD understand their everyday challenges, and help them develop habits to minimize frustration and become more successful in all aspects of their lives.
  10. Emergency Preparedness: Disasters can strike home or work at any time, and a good emergency plan can keep you, your family, or your colleagues safe, and get you back on your feet sooner. Professional organizers can help you create a plan to keep your vital documents safe, create an emergency kit, put together disaster evacuation and communications plans, and develop recovery  procedures, so your life is disrupted as little as possible in the face of disaster.

These are just some of the specialized services that professional organizers can provide, so if you feel overwhelmed by an organizing dilemma, you don’t have to tackle it alone.

Need help getting organized? Visit NAPO's Professional Organizer Directory to search for professional organizers in your area.

More reasons why IKEA is an organized person’s dream

Anyone familiar with IKEA knows that organization is built into the DNA of its furnishings, housewares, and accessories, but even items that aren’t specifically meant for organizing can help your possessions neat and tidy.  This recent Buzzfeed article demonstrates “37 Clever Ways to Organize Your Entire Life with IKEA,” and you’ve got to admit, some of the ideas are pretty cool.

Is there anything you can’t organize with something from IKEA?

Have you ever bought something at IKEA to organize in a way that wasn’t necessarily intended?  We want to hear about it–share in the comments!

Need help getting organized? Visit NAPO's Professional Organizer Directory to search for professional organizers in your area.

Give old items a useful second life

Ice cube trays make great jewelry organizers.

Just because something has outlived its original purpose, doesn’t mean it’s not still useful. Repurposing old items is good for the planet and your wallet, and it gets your creative juices going too. For instance, if you’ve ever  purchased Swiffer Wet refills, they come in a sturdy rectangular plastic container with a lid that’s still perfectly usable once all the pads are gone. It’s great for storing items that are typically hard to contain, such as spare extension cords, rolls of ribbon or tape, or paintbrushes.  We’ve asked NAPO professional organizers to spill their best secrets about items that can easily enjoy a second life as an organizing container or tool, so check ‘em out below.

Got any tips about reusing old items to help you stay organized? Share in the comments!

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Need help getting organized? Visit NAPO's Professional Organizer Directory to search for professional organizers in your area.

Help create a snapshot of organizing in America

It seems everywhere you go, you can find advice on how to organize. There are countless resources available — products, apps, books, articles, videos, organizing blogs (hello!), and TV shows — but there hasn’t been much attention focused on the public’s organizing attitudes and behaviors, and how they impact life at home and at work.

To help create a snapshot of how organizing impacts the everyday life of Americans, we’re asking our readers to participate in a nationwide  Household & Business Organizing Survey. The responses will provide insights into how people feel about their organizing and productivity habits, and the roles technology and the environment play in organizing in today’s demanding 24/7 world.

Take the survey yourself, then share the link — http://bit.ly/1sQpfCQ — with your family, friends, and co-workers; the more people who take the survey, the better.  Once the results are in, we’ll share them here!

 

Need help getting organized? Visit NAPO's Professional Organizer Directory to search for professional organizers in your area.

Cool tools to help you clean out your closets

InStyle Best of DIGI_1114_Clean Out Your ClosetsA heap of second-string clothing is usually the by-product of cleaning out your closet. Most people default to donating the items to charity, but what if you just want to store them elsewhere or want to sell them for some extra cash?  The November issue of InStyle magazine’s #BestofDIGI feature lists four cool online tools to help you manage clothing that isn’t in your regular rotation. Check ‘em out!

  • Stylebook:  Remember the scene from Clueless when Cher was using a program to choose her outfit for the day?  The fantasy is a reality with Stylebook.  Use your smartphone or tablet to take pictures of all the items in your wardrobe, then use the app to mix and match to make the perfect outfit, or try out new combinations.
  • MakeSpace: If you have seasonal or B-list clothing that you want to keep, but not in your closet, Makespace can help you well, make space.  Think of it as PODS, but for your clothes.  When you sign up, they’ll send you a bin to fill with whatever you want to store off-site; schedule a pick-up and they’ll store it at their facility. Whenever you need it, log on to have it delivered to your door. They even have a service that you can use when traveling, so your clothes arrive at your destination, and you don’t have to deal with lugging suitcases through the airport or baggage fees.
  • MaterialWrld: When it’s time to get rid of gently used luxury clothing and accessories, MaterialWrld will help you buy new ones by giving you gift cards from retailers like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales and shopbop. Simply search the website for a list of accepted brands, and get a quote instantly online. If you agree to the amount offered, ship the item to MaterialWrld for free.
  • Twice: While there are many consignment options for high-end labels, what about popular brands that people buy every day?  Twice buys clothes from brands like GAP, Ann Taylor and Express, as well as luxury labels. Simply request a selling kit, send in your items, and decide whether to accept the offer. If you disagree, you can ask Twice to send your items back to you, or donate them to charity on your behalf–they’ll even send you a receipt for tax purposes. Plus, you can purchase gently used fashions for up to 90% off regular retail.

With all of these fabulous convenient options, managing your wardrobe should be a snap!

Are there any other cool tools that you use to keep your closets under control?  Sound off in the comments!

 

Need help getting organized? Visit NAPO's Professional Organizer Directory to search for professional organizers in your area.

Conquer closet chaos with tips from professional organizers

Now that autumn is in full swing and people in many areas are swapping their warm-weather wardrobes for sweaters and coats, it’s a good time to talk about closets. Closets are one of the main storage areas in our homes that we struggle to keep organized, with varying degrees of success.  If you’re faced with getting your fall and winter clothes organized, read the articles below to see what NAPO professional organizers advise for regaining and maintaining order in your closets.

Photo by James Ransom

The Case for Closet Rotation: Five Questions for Organizing Pro Liz Jenkins

Photo by Getty Images

Closet clutter: How having fewer, better-quality clothes can bring style and happiness

 

Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

Conquering the Closet

Guy fashion 911: A manly guide to cleaning out your closet

Kate Brown_Keep the closet double the space_Costco Connection

Keep the closet, double the space

Have any tips on keeping your closets under control? Don’t keep them to yourself–share them in the comments!

Need help getting organized? Visit NAPO's Professional Organizer Directory to search for professional organizers in your area.

Could you give up email to get more done?

Email graphic

Ditching email can dramatically increase your productivity, if you’re brave enough to try it!

Email is part everyday of life, and it’s often hard to remember how we got by before this quick and easy method of communication became the norm.  However, over the years it has become more of a nuisance than a convenient method of personal and business contact. Our email accounts (and most of us have several of them) are often brimming with unwanted offers, notices, announcements, and cc’s that cause a sense of dread as soon as we open our inboxes. The time we spend processing all of these messages often eats into a good portion of our day, causing stress and reducing productivity.

Fed up with the time drain email has become, some business and individuals have taken the radical step of eliminating or drastically reducing the use email, and have seen their productivity skyrocket as a result.  Would your life be easier and could you get more done if you gave up email?  Curious to give it a try?  Check out this RealBusiness.com article, How I Stopped Using Email to Double My Productivity, and see if it could work for you.  If you’ve already given email the boot, or tried it, share your story in the comments below!

Need help getting organized? Visit NAPO's Professional Organizer Directory to search for professional organizers in your area.

Sometimes the best plan is one step

Planning De-movitator posterWe’ve all heard the expression, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” but too often, we get hung up on planning the entire journey, which can be overwhelming and lead to procrastination. But setting a goal, focusing on one action, and making decisions based on the outcome (instead of trying to predict all the steps that lie ahead) can be a more effective way to get things done. For those of us who are “control enthusiasts,” not planning for every possible scenario may be scary, but ultimately it’s freeing–flexibility often leads to discoveries and opportunities we never would have found had we stuck to a pre-determined plan.  This recent Lifehack article explores a dynamic approach to planning–do you think it’s sound advice, or impractical? Sound off in the comments!

Need help getting organized? Visit NAPO's Professional Organizer Directory to search for professional organizers in your area.

Pro tips for managing your digital files

Mobile Devices

Organizing your digital files doesn’t have to be a headache if you know the right tricks.

Email. Contacts. Photos. Documents. Calendars. Music. Video. These days, so much of the information we send and receive is some type of digital file, and somehow, we have to manage it all. When you often have to access various files on multiple devices in different places on diverse platforms (whew!) it can become a bit overwhelming, to say the least!

We’ve asked NAPO’s organizing and productivity professionals to weigh in on the the best ways to manage your digital files to minimize frustration and boost productivity. Check out their advice below, and if you have a trick that helps you keep your digital files under control, share it it the comments!

 

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Need help getting organized? Visit NAPO's Professional Organizer Directory to search for professional organizers in your area.

Mastering the work-life balancing act

Feeling burned out? It’s time to restore your work-life balance.

Achieving and maintaining positive work-life balance is becoming increasingly difficult, given the 24/7 access we have to work and work has to us, via voicemail, email and texts. Gone are the days when leaving your office meant cutting off access until you returned. But how do you create and enforce the boundaries needed for you to disconnect and recharge during downtime so you can be more productive during your working hours? This Lifehack article offers six things you can do now to restore work-life equilibrium and make it a habit, rather than another item on your to-do list.

Need help getting organized? Visit NAPO's Professional Organizer Directory to search for professional organizers in your area.