Each quarter, the NAPO Awards & Recognition Committee will select a member to feature here on the Get Organized & Be Productive blog. This regular blog feature will give everyone the opportunity to get to know a few NAPO members and to see the value of their NAPO experience in a more informal way. This quarter we looked for a new(er) member’s perspective on the industry and selected Sherri Curley of The Practical Sort in Portland, Oregon.
How did you get into organizing and productivity? What were you doing before professional organizing?
Like most other organizers, I can’t recall a time in my life when I wasn’t organizing something. As I think back, I even embarrassingly did some minimal organizing at babysitting clients’ homes. They never actually said anything to me about it, so I don’t know if it was appreciated or not, but they were on-going clients.
For the last 20+ years, I organized non-profits and school libraries as a volunteer as well as helping out friends and family. Prior to that, I worked at the Environmental Protection Agency. I use the knowledge seeded there to instill an eco-friendly mind-set in working with my clients. Sharing tips among NAPO’s ECO-SIG members also keeps me up-to-date with the latest eco-ideas.
When did you start your business? Do you specialize in any areas, or are you still exploring all possibilities?
I officially started my business [The Practical Sort] in March 2016 prior to my son leaving for college. I reject the term “Empty Nest Syndrome,” and instead have coined and embraced the term “Free Bird” which is much more liberating and empowering. No sitting around pining for me! Frankly I have been too busy to notice that the house is quiet most of the time.
I have earned my Residential Specialist Badge through NAPO, with a preference for kitchens, craft rooms and other interior rooms. Garages, attics, etc. are not my thing.
In addition, a large part of my business has come from managing home sale prep. If a client is too busy or cannot execute coordinating with contractors for one reason or another, I can provide liaison services to get the home market-ready for successful sales.
Did you join NAPO right away? What benefits attracted you to join NAPO?
Yes, in fact I joined before my biz was an official LLC. I was shocked when I discovered that such a creature existed! You mean there are others out there who have a passion for organizing – really?! At first, I was very hesitant about joining. I wondered how they would feel about the “new kid competition.” But NAPO Oregon is an extraordinarily generous group. They host Golden Circle events where senior members share their knowledge selflessly with us newbies and they do so at every meeting too. Their philosophy is “there is enough business for everyone.” The meetings are highly informative, and it is nice to know that the tribe “gets it” particularly when a sticky situation arises.
What was your biggest fear when you first joined NAPO? Did you overcome it? If so, how?
See the first sentence above. Rejection. And, during my first conference, about a month after I officially launched my business, I developed warm friendships with several members who I still regard as among my mentors.
Do you have a business or personal goal for 2018 (that you can share)?
Yes…but I am not entirely ready to share it yet. I am working on gaining greater experience with a modality to help the organizing experience with my clients. I have had remarkable success so far when I have used it. Eventually, I might want to angle my business more in that direction as my body ages and is not as forgiving as it was in my younger days especially with heavy lifting.
I also found that I love speaking gigs (who knew?). Therefore, I plan to seek more opportunities to share my passion with others, and to help them become more productive and less burdened by the things that preclude getting tasks accomplished.
What do you do for fun (aside from organizing!)?
Tennis, tai chi, Qi Gong, daily meditative and high-powered walks, travel, Sunday New York Times crossword puzzles, and occasional photography when I have time.
Thank you to Sherri for sharing her story with us and we hope you’ll check out her business at www.thepracticalsort.com to learn more! Be sure to look for the NAPO Member Recognition Showcase this winter when we will feature another one of our fabulous members here on the blog.
Courtesy of Sara Getzkin of Hands On Organizing Services
Member, NAPO Awards & Recognition Committee
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