If you do a quick google search on what a Professional Organizer is, there’s a ton of blogs and professional organizer websites you will see trying to explain what a Professional Organizer really is… why? Because not many know about what we do… more so for people who are outside of North America.
The most comprehensive discussion on Professional Organizer is from Lifehacker.com (click this link to read the article).
National Association of Professional Organizer (NAPO) defines Professional Organizers as –
“Professional Organizers use tested principles and expertise to enhance the lives of clients. By designing custom organizing systems and teaching organizing skills, they help individuals and businesses take control of their surroundings, their time, their paper piles, their lives!”
After reading all that and all other explanations of what a Professional Organizer is, allow me to give you my version…
Finding Your Very Own System
There is a big difference between cleaning and organizing. That difference is the complexity of each and every individual’s personal preference. Yes, that’s how overwhelming the thought of making sure one’s habit, aesthetic liking, use of space, the flow of movement, and the simple joys that make one smile. And that is very difficult. The ability to understand these from a 15-minute discussion makes it even more challenging. I may have learned different systems from the training that I got, but to me, it’s all about the individual. I try to learn as much as possible about a person and how I can make a system suit her. How a system can make her life better, either by creating more space or by simply making it easy for her to find her often used things. The system has to work for you and not for the organizer. The system cannot be a system so complicated that it’s not useful anymore. That’s the reason why Professional Organizers ask a lot of questions and “edit” your system over and over until it becomes yours.
“Being a Coach before the Couch”
I am a coach first before worrying about fixing the couch… I have always been thankful that I am a Psychology major. This education helped me to have a good approach in understanding how people think and having reason on what their preferences are. And making the system work is not as easy as writing a list of 10 things one should do to keep the newly organized space intact as long as possible. Coaching is a process by which one enhances what is already there, making people become better faster than people might do alone. Understanding one’s strength and motivation and aligning it to a process/system that is most effective in bringing joy to the hearts of the individual is core to coaching. Now imagine one having an anxiety attack and being overwhelmed by the pile of clothes on a bed (or a couch). One can say “Just start doing it!” but a real coach will be able to understand why it’s not as simple as that. A good coach will first ask a question about a feeling or of the history before telling the how or the why of any problem. And that’s why it’s more than cleaning. Instead of just taking care of the problem of a dirty couch and immediately grabbing the vacuum and cleaning it, a coach will try to understand why the couch is the easiest place to dump the day’s shopping bags and try to mentor a person on how to avoid it in the future. Anxiety may come from different places, but sometimes all we need to have is seeing the big picture or seeing it through a different lens. Understanding it with someone releases that anxiety and in turn creates an inspiration to change. Before you know it, you might want to be open to minimalism… and be ok with discarding and keeping only the things that make you happy… something really painful without another person to appease you and tell you it’s not as bad as you imagine…
Making You Feel Happy
At the end of it all, what makes you happy is the most important. A Professional Organizer understands that if you do not want to throw anything or move it somewhere should be able to discern why that is the case and allow the process to happen without forcing it to any client. You have to feel relieved and more inspired to be better. You may not just be better at being neat, but be a better career woman who may not have the time to organize the chaos at home, or be a better mom who would sometimes feel alone and would need a fairy godmother who would help her feel more valued, or become a better woman who have all the things in the world except being understood.
Let me leave you with a quote I always treasure from Marie Kondo’s book
“Cherish the thing you love, cherish yourself”
Hope you have a better understanding of what we do now. Stay neat, everyone!