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Professional organiser Anita Fortes of A Neater Life organising a wardrobe

A day in the life of a professional organiser: Anita Fortes

Have you ever wondered what it’s really like to be a professional organiser? In this post, Anita Fortes of A Neater Life takes us behind the scenes of her business and guides us through a typical day in her life as a professional organiser.

Anita’s day

One of the things I love about running my own business is choosing my working hours. That said, I’m an early riser, usually up before 6 a.m., when my Labrador Retriever takes me for a walk on Overstrand beach.

After showering and breakfast, it’s time to deal with admin tasks.  After moving to a new house last year, I’ve progressed from using the kitchen table to an office on the first floor. I check emails and add a little more to a feature on organising which I’m writing for a local magazine.

Then I prepare for my in-person work with my client, Eva*. I look through the notes from my last visit, make lunch for later and pack up a few resources. I see my job as supporting people to make a change in their lives. It just happens to be focused on belongings and clutter.

Living in rural Norfolk invariably means a long drive, but it’s a good opportunity to think about how I will support my client. When I arrive, I unpack storage boxes, stationery and a labelling machine and, after a quick cuppa, we get started.

Open notebook and a pen next to a pot plant

Eva is a young woman with a busy family life and a demanding job. She’s accomplished, intelligent, and hoards paperwork…lots of it.  Documents, magazines, newspapers and notebooks are in piles everywhere.  The sheer volume had become overwhelming, so she asked for help. We’ve been working together regularly for several months and she’s made amazing progress. Our agreed aim is to reduce the paperwork sufficiently to create a contained filing system of documents, stored in one place. To make progress with this, it’s important to work to a structure.

I help her to prioritise and organise her thinking by sorting documents into categories. To encourage decluttering I offer new perspectives: Is it essential to keep that? How will keeping it benefit you? I check that she is not becoming too absorbed reading each document. This keeps the momentum going and makes the best use of the time we have.

I’m aware of Eva’s rising anxiety levels, so we take regular short breaks to diffuse.  If it becomes tricky, I mention her ‘clutter free’ ambition – she would love to set up a business consultancy. I’ll definitely help her to achieve this.

Five hours of decluttering is enough because it’s quite intense.  We finish the session with a cup of tea, highlight our achievements and chat about the aims for next time. I give her a small task to focus on until then, for example, clearing her desk daily.

An organised white desk with a plant, vases and gold A ornament against a wire grid noticeboard and white wall

On the drive home, I call in to see a new client. She wants to declutter and reorganise rooms to create a spare bedroom. She tells me that she is taking medication for depression. We arrange a session for the following week.

Once home I feed and walk the dog. Later, I check emails and catch up with invoicing. If I can cope with the frustration, I might do some social media marketing.

Or I might just enjoy a large glass of wine.

* Names have been changed to protect clients’ confidentiality. All APDO-registered organisers adhere to the APDO Code of Ethics.

If Anita’s post has inspired you to start your own professional organising business, APDO offers regular training and support for organisers. Visit the training page to find out more!

a hand using a laptop - keyboard

How to manage a bulging inbox

Overwhelmed with email? Karen Eyre-White of GO DO, a productivity coaching business, shares her secrets to managing email.

When the first email was sent in 1971, I’m sure its creator couldn’t imagine the full enormity of what was to come. With that single message, Raymond Tomlinson began something which has revolutionised the way we communicate and made it easier for us all to do our jobs and live our lives. Today we can quickly and easily contact someone halfway across the world (or halfway across the street) at the click of a button.

But our email systems are only as good as our ability to manage them and use them well. All too often my clients tell me they feel overwhelmed by the number of emails they receive, they can’t keep up, and that it is a constant source of stress in their lives. Our work inboxes have become a barometer for whether we’re on top of everything or good enough at our jobs. It can feel like a daily battle to keep them under control, to bail the water out more quickly than it is coming in.

And with the rise of smartphones, we’re never that far away from that source of stress, whether we’re trying to watch a box set in the evening, spend time with our kids at the weekend, or enjoy a family holiday.

organised desk with laptop notebook flowers and coffee

So, how can we get all the benefits of this amazing form of communication without the stress and anxiety that have become associated with inbox management? Here are my five top tips for getting in control of your inbox before it controls you.

1 Don’t live out of your inbox

Many of us spend the whole day in our inbox, flitting between old emails and new emails, making it difficult to achieve any focused work. Instead, I recommend deciding how frequently you need to check your inbox. This will depend on your role, but it is rare to need to look at new emails more than three times each day. Decide when you’ll do this and stick to it. You’ll be amazed how much ‘real’ work you’re able to get done without the constant distraction of new emails.

2 Do, delegate, defer

When you do go in to check new emails, work through them systematically from bottom to top rather than cherry-picking the ones that look interesting or easy. All that does is leave a concentration of less interesting or more difficult emails, which you’ll struggle to motivate yourself to clear. As you work through them, decide for each email whether to do any action on it now, delegate it to someone else to do it, or defer it to later. I recommend putting deferred tasks on a to-do list and clearing the email out of your inbox.

3 Keep your filing simple

You’d be amazed how many people aren’t moving emails they’ve processed out of their inbox because they are not sure where to file them. I’m an advocate of having one ‘done’ folder and putting all your emails in there once you’ve processed them. The search function on most mail applications is excellent, and normally more effective than relying on you remembering where you’ve filed something.

4 people sitting at desk and typing on laptops

 

4 Use your to-do list not your inbox as your go-to place

Once you’ve limited your inbox use to three times a day, you’ll need somewhere else to act as the central control point for your work. This should be your to-do list. This should be the first thing you open in the morning, where you go when you have a spare minute, and the last thing you check at night. Aim to have only one to-do list and make sure to review it from top to bottom at least daily.

5 Turn off your notifications

I often say this is the single biggest thing anyone can do to boost their productivity. If you’re notified every time you receive an email, it is almost impossible not to get drawn into your inbox. Turn off those pings and you’ll find your attention span skyrockets.

Emails are a wonderful tool which we have been using for decades. It’s impossible to imagine what our work life would be like without them, but it’s vital that they serve us, and not the other way around. Follow these tips and you’ll find that your inbox feels more manageable, less stressful and altogether a more positive part of your working life.

If this post has inspired you on your decluttering journey, you can find your local APDO professional organiser here.

Click here to read more blog posts from APDO

 

 

 

yellow and white flowers arranged in a vase on an organised wooden coffee table

Finding your motivation during lockdown

Have your decluttering efforts been stalled by the COVID-19 lockdown? Are you struggling to find motivation to get organised? Help is at hand! APDO member Lynda Wylie, owner of organising business Tidy Rooms, shares her tips on overcoming procrastination and getting that project finished!

Starting (and finishing) a decluttering or organising project during lockdown

If I’m honest, it’s taken me a while to write this blog about motivation. I’ve been lacking the impetus to get going during lockdown. The idea of writing the blog made it straight on to my To Do list (Colornote for Android), but without a specific deadline, and with a growing list of priorities and glorious weather tempting me outside, it just didn’t move any further.

I know from talking to clients that this is similar to what can happen when you decide to start decluttering. Other things suddenly become much more appealing (even jobs you’ve been putting off for ages) and you can quickly lose your initial enthusiasm to get stuck in. Feelings of overwhelm are very common and you may wonder where and how to get started.

The talk of lifting the lockdown finally got me focused again on writing. Having a deadline is a powerful force for getting your project underway.

a tidy organised decluttered kitchen counter with white cupboards

5 ways to overcome procrastination:

Here are 5 established ways to get your decluttering off the ground during lockdown:

1 Set yourself a clear deadline

Deadlines don’t just apply to big tasks, like decluttering the garage or setting up a filing system. Smaller tasks  such as clearing the ironing basket or changing the beds respond just as well.  You could tell someone about your deadline, even asking them to check in with you as it approaches. Promising yourself a reward once you’ve done the task can also inspire you to get going.

2 Break a bigger job down into smaller chunks

Start with a small goal.  Setting out to file a handful of papers will feel more achievable than tackling the entire bagful. Once you’ve done it, you’ll feel great. Plus, once you’re underway you’ll often do more than you expect. If your goal is to tackle one shelf and you keep going to finish the whole bookcase, you’ll feel fantastic. Remember to step back and appreciate your hard work when you’re finished.

3 Schedule a time to get started

Making a decluttering appointment with yourself, just as you might to see the GP or go for a run, shows it’s important to you. Allocating a slot in your day helps move it from “To Do” to “Doing”, and encourages you to start. Schedule more time than you think you might need too so you know you can finish the job and maybe even have bonus time at the end for a cuppa.

4 Invite a virtual body double along

This is a great technique to try during lock down. A trusted friend works alongside you from their home by video call, whilst you work away on your task at the other end of the camera. Their presence is stabilising, helping you to concentrate and keep going when you might otherwise have got distracted or given up.

5 Focus on the end result

When you’re doing physical decluttering, focus on the space you’re gaining and how you’d like to use it for the things you’re keeping, rather than what you’re getting rid of. Planning how you want to use your new clear spaces can be really exciting and provide the incentive to get you going.

 

If you’re still wondering how to get started on your project, why not try a fun ‘Show and Tell’ video call with your friends? One of my clients has been inviting her friends each week to show and tell a category such as shoes, scarves or bags. In preparation for these weekly calls, everyone has been decluttering and organising their belongings and storage ready to show. Lockdown creativity with great results!

Many APDO professional organisers are working remotely during the COVID-19 lockdown, offering “virtual” sessions over the internet and phone. If you are looking for support or accountability you can browse APDO’s “Find an organiser” page to find an organiser to help you.

 

Click here to read more blog posts from APDO

Hannah Ashwell-Dickinson smiling

Interview with an organiser: Hannah Ashwell-Dickinson

Have you ever wondered what being a professional organiser is like beyond the Facebook page? You might wonder if their homes are spotless, why they started their business, and of course the ultimate question; how do they stay so organised? APDO sat down with Hannah Ashwell-Dickinson to talk home, business and top tips on what it’s like to be a professional organiser.

What does being organised mean to you? What does being organised look like?

Being organised has given me more time, better physical and mental health, improved productivity, and reduced anxiety. It really has changed my life. Having a home that is easy to maintain means I can concentrate on the things that really matter to me – my family, my business, and my well-being.

What is your favourite thing or area to organise?

I love organising living rooms and playrooms. Helping a client create a welcoming and calm living space that they enjoy being in, and are happy to invite guests into, is really satisfying.

What habits have helped you to be more organised?

Having a goal! Setting goals for my home keeps me focused and disciplined in my organising. I’m always looking to find more time to spend with my daughters and myself; having an organised home helps me do that. Having a goal keeps me motivated and accountable.

You’re a professional organiser – does that mean you live in a perfectly organised, neat-as-a-pin home?

Ha! My home looks like any home that has two young children in it – there is Lego on the floor and there are clothes to put away.  But living with less and being organised means that it doesn’t take long to ‘reset’ our spaces. All items have a home so even when the house has become messy, it doesn’t take long to put it all away.  Our house is organised so that is functions well and my family can relax and enjoy being in it, but it certainly doesn’t look like a show home!

What benefits do your clients experience from becoming more organised?

The biggest benefit is that they no longer feel a sense of dread when they enter their homes. They describe feeling calmer and less anxious. Often clients say that they have gained extra time in their day as they can easily find things, and it’s quicker to tidy up. Most importantly, clients say that they are now able to move forward with other aspects of their lives that they have previously felt stuck in. Removing clutter and getting organised gives them the space (both physical and mental) to take the next steps in their lives.

When you are going to a client, what essentials are in your organising bag / toolkit?

Sticky labels and pens are useful to keep track of items that need to be taken to the charity shop; recycled; or re-homed elsewhere. I also take a folding board to fold clothes neatly and a label-maker to label boxes. Most importantly, I bring with me a calm demeanour and stacks of empathy. Clients need to be listened to without judgement and for me to hold space for them while they work through their organising challenges.

What’s the most memorable collection you’ve seen? (What did you / the client do with them)

I came across an impressive Harry Potter memorabilia collection. The reason the client wanted to organise their home in the first place, was to get rid of clutter so that their HP collection could take centre stage.

What’s the best outcome you’ve ever seen?

I’ve helped several families get on top of their clutter and get organised when they have been very close to their baby’s due date! It’s wonderful to instil a sense of calm in the client and their home before such a momentous occasion.

Who’s your dream client? Who do you most like to help?

My dream clients are wonderful, creative, passionate people who are time-poor, overwhelmed and have become stuck. They often feel alone and anxious and are looking for a steady hand to help them. They are big-hearted and always have something to teach me too. All my clients have it in them to make change for themselves, they usually just need someone to motivate, empower, and most importantly, believe in them.

What’s your top tip to share?

Getting organised requires motivation and discipline. On the days you feel motivated, use that momentum to tackle an organising job you’ve been putting off and tackle it in small chunks so you don’t get overwhelmed. On the days you don’t feel motivated, try to be disciplined; you know you will feel better when you tackle that stack of post for example. Set yourself a timer, and reward yourself with a stroll around the park, or a coffee and a pastry when it’s done.

If you’d like to get in touch with Hannah about her services, you can do so by contacting her on her website here.

If you’re interested in becoming a professional organiser, and want to learn more about APDO, visit our Why Join APDO page.

APDO Hoarding Conference Birmingham

National Hoarding Roadshow 2019 – Birmingham

This week in the UK it is National Hoarding Awareness Week and the week was launched with the National Hoarding Conference in Birmingham, which took place on Monday 20 May.

APDO was delighted to exhibit at this wonderful event, raising awareness and understanding around hoarding behaviours and the sort of help which is available.

Our President Katherine Blackler ( SortMySpace ) was joined by our Head of Membership Lisa Pantling (Clutter Free Living), Claire Birnie (The Tidy Life Project), who had come all the way from wonderful Scotland, and Lynsey Grundy (Tidy Homes Tidy Minds at Southway Housing) to field questions from delegates struggling with their stuff as well as those keen to join the industry and help. APDO was well represented at the event as a number of members attended as delegates and others were also exhibiting on neighbouring stands.

National Hoarding Awareness Week logo

Hoarding behaviour is a complex and emotive subject. Almost everyone you talk to has some experience of their own hoarding difficulties, or those of someone they know and love. Even a lawyer I met in the hotel lift on her way to check out of the hotel briefly shared her personal experience! As soon as I mention what I do, I am invariably met with the response ‘Oh, my mum/dad/auntie is a hoarder’.

The conference opened with with a real treat: a filmed excerpt from the play ‘Stuff’ by the Women’s Theatre group. This superbly captured the thought process that people go through when they are trying to let go of things in their home. Each item has a story, a memory or a purpose, it brings joy, sadness or potential and this is why it so often feels truly impossible to let it go.

APDO member Lisa Panting standing with APDO Banner

Professor Paul Salvoskis gave a powerful and uplifting presentation around showing empathy, understanding and, most of all, compassion. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution or treatment, but that doesn’t mean that all hope is lost. By showing respect and genuine care, we can help and support people to improve their situations.

We also heard from Lee, a retired Fire Officer of 30 years, who now works closely with people who hoard. He talked us through the process of assessing the highest risks of fire, and stressed the importance of really getting to know the person you are working with so that they can make progress.

Many APDO members have a wealth of experience of supporting people with hoarding behaviour. A growing number of members have been attending specialist training and developing their skills so that they are able to support people exhibiting hoarding behaviour. You can search for members with this specialism on www.findanorganiser.co.uk. In addition, you can find more information on hoarding support at www.helpforhoarders.co.uk and www.hoardersuk.org.

To read more about APDO and hoarding, please visit https://www.apdo.co.uk/what-is-hoarding/.

IKEA Store Greenwich

A match made in organising heaven

In a first for both APDO and IKEA UK, a line up of professional organisers and declutterers were on hand to help shoppers at IKEA Greenwich make the most of their home environment. Covering a range of topics, the speakers ran sessions throughout the day using the room sets on the shop floor at IKEA UK’s newest, and most sustainable store. Emily Wapples (Simply Sorted) was onsite to see the day unfold and report back on this landmark event.

Ingrid Jansen (Organise Your House) kicked off the event with a professional organiser’s guide to storage and organisation, in which she showcased some of her favourite IKEA products to a large audience of interested shoppers. Working room-by-room, Ingrid offered practical suggestions for keeping the home organised and highlighted the versatility of popular IKEA products.

Next up was Isabelle Lamy (IDea for Your Space) with her guide to kitchen and meal planning. As people gathered around the kitchen counter, Isabelle discussed how the kitchen is much more than simply a place to cook, and offered advice on the best way to keep this multi-functional area organised. When it came to meal planning, Isabelle’s time-saving suggestion of creating a set of recipe cards to work from was a real hit.

The lunchtime crowd of shoppers were treated to a talk by APDO President Katherine Blackler (SortMySpace Ltd) on how to organise their bedrooms and closets. Katherine encouraged people to be realistic about which clothes they want to keep when embarking on a wardrobe decluttering exercise, and offered tips on how to make the most of the prime space in their closet.

Rounding off the day was Filipa do Carmo (Khôra – Space . Sorted) and her guide to sustainable living, which featured an interactive discussion with shoppers about how to maintain a more environmentally conscious lifestyle. They shared stories of the difficulties they faced when trying to adopt a sustainable lifestyle and offered each other ideas for ways to deal with them. This was a fitting way to end the day in IKEA UK’s leading sustainable store.

 

A beautiful kitchen in the Ikea showroom

The presenters were supported by a team of fellow APDO members, who helped to make the event a great success, including Sarah Bickers (Free Your Space), Karen Storey (Homespace), Emily Wapples (Simply Sorted) Eszter Csurgo (Erase Chaos) and Catherine Carrad (Organise Your House).

After the event, Katherine Blackler, APDO President commented, “I’ve been dreaming of teaming up APDO and IKEA for a number of years so it was wonderful to see us come together especially in a store they’ve just built in my neighbourhood! The day itself flew by but I know APDO members are excited to team up for more events here in Greenwich, at IKEA stores across the UK and even beyond like Dubai or Hong Kong”.

Manuel Recalde, Local Community Specialist IKEA Greenwich added, “We were delighted when Katherine reached out to us whilst we were still building our new store. The synergies between IKEA’s ethos and what APDO members do daily was clear and this collaboration a long time in the making! We enjoyed hosting the APDO team, and seeing them engaging with our customers and community on the shop floor. We’re already in discussions about when we can collaborate again”.

And of course the day wouldn’t have been complete without some goofing around in the business hub before the store opened!

Smiling APDO members looking through a fake Ikea window

Looking for some help sorting your own Ikea storage? Use our Find an Organiser tool to find a professional near you.

box of old family photos that need organising

Organising your precious photos

You may have noticed when you head to our website to find an organiser that you can now search by specialism. One of these specialisms is ‘Photo Organising’ – but what is it all about and how can it help you? Ian Killick from Photorganised explains all.

Why has photo organising become a profession and a hobby?

People have been taking digital photographs for more than 20 years and are starting to realise not just how many they have taken, but that maybe they don’t have time to sort through them and view them properly.  Add to that all the print or slide photos people have in cupboards and boxes which they now wish they had in a digital format to integrate with their born-digital photos, and you can see why people are looking for some help.  This is where a photo organiser comes in: to save people time or provide the skills needed to kick-start a photo sorting project or take the job through to completion.

Why are photo organisers linked to APDO?

Photos are one of the most important categories which people need decluttering and organising, because they can hold very important, happy memories for people, or they can hold memories which people do not want a physical reminder of.  People may wish simply to get their photos sorted and may ask a photo organiser for help with this.  APDO members are professional declutterers and organisers who, whilst sorting a home or office, might come across photos which need organising.  Some APDO members are trained in this specialist area and so will be able to help with the photos, or they can introduce their client to a specialist photo organiser.  Some photo organisers are also members of the Association of Personal Photo Organizers (APPO) and have passed their Certification Programme.  We all work together to achieve the best solution for clients.

APDO member Ian Killick organising photos with a client

What kind of projects can photo organisers assist with?

Photo organisers can help with:

  • Scanning slides, negatives and prints
  • Photo editing
  • Identifying and removing duplicate photos
  • Photo storage and backups / archiving
  • Creating albums, photobooks and wall art
  • Integrating disparate photo sets together
  • Setting up digital cataloguing / display software such as Apple Photos or Lightroom.

What triggers people’s photo organising projects?

From experience, the following are common trigger points:

  • Upcoming milestones or events: Where photos are needed to create a personalised present. Examples are family yearbooks to surprise a spouse on their birthday or wedding photobooks to surprise the parents/in-laws at Christmas.
  • Relationship break-up: When couples split, they sometimes want to refresh their family photo wall art around their house and ask for help to organise / filter their photos first.
  • Businesses: Needing to find photos for an upcoming website refresh or publication, but their photos need organising first.
  • Death of a relative: Families may like short-term help sorting through photos for the funeral order of service and display board at the wake. Or they may like long-term help sifting through the inherited photo collection and deciding which photos to keep and how to display and store them.
  • Computer / phone failure: When someone’s electronic device crashes and they lose photos on them, it makes them think about how they could do things differently i.e. keep their photos backed up so if their device crashes again they won’t lose any precious memories.
  • Frustration: Sometimes there is no set trigger. People get so fed up with not being able to find or view their photos that they just have to do something about it. Finding a photo organiser to help can relieve the stress for them.

An open photobook of holiday photographs

Is there a particular photo organising setup you would suggest?

I have learnt over years of photo organising that there are many computer programs / apps, many platforms like Apple, Windows, Android and iOS, plus numerous combinations of these within each home and office.  Many people like to stick with what they know and just make sure that everything is organised and backed up within their existing setup.  Others are forced to change when software such as Picasa is not supported anymore and they have to migrate their photo collection to another program such as Lightroom.  Photo organisers do not force a particular system on to their clients but make suggestions and help them with any changes.

How about some top tips?

  1. Try to set aside a regular time to work on your photos: e.g. Transferring them from camera to computer, deleting duplicates or adding filenames/tags, etc. It certainly helps gain momentum with your project if you are tackling it yourself or doing prep work before handing over to a Photo Organiser.
  2. Even if all your digital photos are not named and organised, make sure you have another copy of them, especially in another location (e.g. family member’s house or on the Cloud so if anything happens to one set, you still have your other set and have not lost any precious memories.
  3. Aim to make your photos more tangible and viewed more often: Even children who have grown up in the digital era and have never taken their camera film to be developed into prints, still love to view photos away from the screen and in a printed format like photobooks. They are great fun to make, help ensure memories are not forgotten and make great gifts!

And finally…

Photos are so precious to most of us, they tell stories and help us remember important life events.  Let’s help protect them so we do not experience a lost generation of photo memories and also make sure we are enjoying seeing all of our photos to the max!  Thanks for reading this post!

If you have questions which haven’t been answered here, you can find your nearest photo organiser here.
Keep an eye out on the APDO blog in the future for more posts on photo organising.

 

APDO Katherine Blackler meets Gretchen Rubin at the NAPO 2019 Annual Conference

Bigger in Texas: APDO at the NAPO 2019 Annual Conference

APDO’s President, Katherine Blackler (SortMySpace Ltd), and Head of Conference  Management, Sammy Ryan (Strictly Organised), have recently landed back on UK soil after attending the annual conference of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO).

Now in its 32nd year, the event drew over 514 attendees from 44 states of America and international delegates from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Michelle Prince

The conference kicked off on Thursday afternoon with best-selling author Michelle Prince as the first keynote speaker. In her 20s, Michelle had jump-started her career working for Zig Ziglar, the popular author and motivational speaker.  In her address, she encouraged us first to identify our story and then to brand ourselves consistently and authentically in our work and in our personal lives. This inspiring talk was followed by drinks and nibbles on the terrace where we were able to get to know our transatlantic counterparts.

Themed breakout sessions

The sessions started at 8.30am each day and ran through until late in the afternoon. There were six specific breakout sessions scheduled throughout the event which counted as Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for those working towards or maintaining, their Certified Professional Organizer (CPO) or Certified Professional Organizer – Chronic Disorganisation (CPO-CD) status.

For each breakout session, delegates needed to make a choice between five key themes: Business Productivity, Technology, Residential, Business Growth and Challenging Needs. Choosing between these five offerings every session was incredibly hard as they all sounded valuable and interesting. To maximise the learning opportunities, Sammy and Katherine divided the sessions between them and reported back the salient points!

Group of International Federation of Professional Organizing Associations representatives

Information sessions

Each day was supplemented with information sessions such as hearing the latest research into public perceptions of our industry, discussing possible future trends, meeting representatives from International Federation of Professional Organizing Associations (IFPOA) to compare cultural difference and similarities, or getting to know the conference partners exhibiting onsite.

Special Interest Groups

The conference also included scheduled opportunities for attendees to gather together for their Special Interest Groups (SIGs). These groups represent those NAPO members more experienced in specific areas ranging from services such as moving and relocation, holistic organising,  environmentally-conscious organising and include hoarding,  technology or business productivity specialists. The SIGSs also cover supplementary revenue streams for members who are published authors or professional speakers for the industry.

Gretchen Rubin

The Saturday afternoon gifted us with a second top-drawer keynote speaker, Gretchen Rubin, best-selling author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home.  Her new book Outer Calm, Inner Peace continued the theme of the importance of decluttering and designing your environment to improve your sense of wellbeing. Gretchen also expanded on four behavioural tendencies (upholder, obliger, rebel and questioner) which can help explain our own and our clients’ responses to the world. Sammy, having identified herself as a ‘questioner’ spent the rest of the weekend quizzing Katherine on anything and everything, while Katherine, an ‘obliger’ in Gretchen’s definitions, tried desperately to keep Sammy content with her responses!

Katherine Blacker and Sammy Ryan of APDO with author Gretchen Rubin

President’s Reception

The social highlight was the President’s Reception on Saturday evening at which we were actively encouraged to embrace the Texas location. After the intensity of so much stimulating food for thought during the days, everyone was delighted to don western attire and let their hair down. Some of us tried line dancing, with mixed success, but we’re pleased to report no previous (or future) APDO conference speakers were trampled in these attempts!

Bringing it all home

Leaving NAPO, Katherine said “We felt we’d been through the spin cycle of an industrial washing machine! It’s taken a good week or so to percolate all the information and ideas we absorbed over the five days, whether for our own businesses and clients, for our personal development or the great ideas and connections we made on behalf of APDO”.

“Next steps for both of us are to make time to review our notes and slides, implement the learnings, hold each other accountable for the goals we’ve set. Oh, and to make the APDO 2020 conference even BIGGER than Texas”, a bold statement from Sammy Ryan as APDO’s Head of Conference!

Watch this space!

You can find out more about Katherine and Sammy’s roles on the APDO Board, and the other Board members, here.

NAPO 2019 Annual Conference banner image

Open notebook and a pen next to a pot plant

Spring Clearing Week wrapped up!

Spring Clearing Week 2019 has been inspiring and informative! In case you missed any of our tips, blogs and interviews, here’s a round-up for you:

 

decluttered organised bedroom

We were delighted to guest post for:

 

organised boxes in a white room ready for unpacking

We shared these intriguing initiatives happening outside APDO:

  • You might think it odd that we interviewed an online sales platform but you’ll soon see why we wanted to bring you this very interesting interview with Tara Button, founder of BuyMeOnce.
  • If you’ve not used Library of Things we highly recommend watching this fascinating interview with Alys Penfold, Community Activator. Will you be inspired to set up a Library of Things in your community?!

APDO Spring Clearing Week 2019 logo

Thank you for reading, sharing and liking our Spring Clearing Week tips!

And, finally, thank you to the APDO Social Media volunteer team: Simon Wizgell, Nichola Skedgel, Claire Birnie, Cory Cook, Tilo Flache, Mel Carruthers and Kate Ibbotson, for working tirelessly behind the scenes this week.

APDO Spring Clearing Week 2019 logo

In conversation with BuyMeOnce

Tara Button, CEO & Founder of BuyMeOnce, is at the forefront of the global movement to change the way we shop and live forever, championing the longest-lasting and most sustainable products on Earth. 

In the spirit of Spring Clearing Week 2019, professional organiser and APDO member Caroline Rogers spoke to Tara, to find out more about the movement, the website and how we can all benefit. 

 

You can find out more about Spring Clearing Week 2019 here!