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professional organisers | Association of Professional Declutterers & Organisers – Decluttering and Organising across the UK

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.

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

APDO Donate-a-Day Smart Works

Smart Works just got smarter!

How do you take an already efficiently-run stockroom and make it even better? Hannah Ashwell-Dickinson (Declutter with Hannah) and nine other APDO colleagues did just that as part of National Organising Week (NOW) last week with North London charity Smart Works.

The team, headed up by Marcella Caricasole (Think Tidy), joined forces to organise the stockroom and offices of the charity Smart Works as part of APDO’s annual Donate a Day where professional organisers donate a day of their time and expertise to charities.

“Having an opportunity to work in a team with my awesome colleagues was the strongest appeal. Doing so for the benefit of such a terrific charity was the icing on the cake,” said Arianna Steigman (Reclaim your Space), a sentiment that was echoed by the whole team.

Donate a Day was an idea introduced by APDO’s President Katherine Blackler (SortMySpace) in 2016 when a team of six organisers helped to organise a charity’s​ new stockroom. Katherine says “This year I was delighted to participate in one of 10 events across the country involving over 40 APDO members. It’s amazing to see an idea grow with such momentum.”

APDO Donate-a-Day Smart Works shoe organising

In her element sorting shoes; Heidi Vorster (All Organised)

Smart Works is a UK charity which provides high-quality interview clothes, styling advice and interview training to women in need.  They give women the confidence, the self-belief and the practical tools they require to succeed at interview and start a new chapter of their life.

Hannah said “Smart Works’ attention to detail in making their clients feel comfortable and special is so inspiring. We were very lucky to have had the opportunity to help make their already well-organised space even easier to manage.”

After being shown around Smart Works and learning more about the valuable work they do, APDO members got stuck in: organising rails of clothing, categorising shoes and bags, fixing and organising jewellery, steaming and mending clothes, and sorting out pedestals of paperwork.

APDO Donate-a-Day Smart Works Lizzie Grant

“A very long facial” described the day for Lizzie Grant (Simplify Stuff) steaming clothes

After five hours of focused activity everyone felt very positive and happy with what they had accomplished, and they had enjoyed some good giggles along the way.

“It’s very inspiring to see so many beautiful clothes and accessories and how much love and care has been put onto creating this amazing walk-in wardrobe which will change the lives of so many women who are trying to get back into work,” said Filipa do Carmo (Khôra : Space . Sorted)

Sarah Owen (A Place for Everything) said “I wanted to be part of Donate a Day because I really liked the idea of teaming up with other APDO colleagues and giving my time and expertise to a charity which would benefit from my help. I was particularly impressed with the work that Smart Works does supporting women getting back into the workplace. It was a fun day to boot, so a ‘Win Win’ for all.”

Nicki Munns (All Organised) gets to grips with 2017’s donation documents

One of the achievements in the office was liberating a pedestal by reviewing, culling and organising older paperwork. “It’s a task which often slides down the list as day-to-day demands shout louder,” explained Sam Hofer (Untangled), “but creating that additional space by scanning or shredding historical paperwork can make such a difference so it’s really worth the time investment.”

Smart Works were delighted to host the APDO team “Thank you all so much…your expertise was incredibly valuable to our staff, volunteers and clients.”

Catch the team in action with the video round-up of the day activities.

APDO Donate-a-Day Smart Works

Group photo (from left to right):

Front: Arianna Steigman (Reclaim your Space), Lizzie Grant (Simplify Stuff), Sarah Owen (A Place for Everything), by Marcella Caricasole (Think Tidy), Nicki Munns (All Organised) and Filipa do Carmo (Khôra : Space . Sorted)

Back: Hannah Ashwell-Dickinson (Declutter with Hannah), Sam Hofer (Untangled), Heidi Vorster (All Organised) and Katherine Blackler (SortMySpace).

 

You can read about more Donate a Day activity by APDO members here!

red front door

Staging your home for sale

Selling your home can be an emotional and long process. Professional organiser Zoe Berry of Life / Edit shares her home staging tips in this blog post, to help make the process as stress free as possible.

Selling your house is well known to be one of life’s most stressful experiences, so anything you can do to ease the process must be a good thing. Home staging is something which is a standard part of the home selling process in some places (like north America) but here in the UK we are only just learning what a difference it can make both in terms of the speed of sale and profit you can make from your home. It’s amazing to think that buyers form an opinion in your home in around 10 seconds of walking in the door, so with that in context it’s incredibly important to make the right first impression. I recently staged a home for sale in Dundee and with a few tweaks and a keen eye, the property achieved 10% more than the pre-staging evaluation, and I only spent approx. 1% of the sale price on the changes.

Here are my top tips for getting the most out of your property when you are selling:

Start with your kerb appeal

There’s no point spending ages making the inside of your house look desirable if the outside isn’t up to the same standard.  It’s important to make your home as eye-catching as possible from as soon as potential buyers first see it. So tidy up plants and lawns, give the front door a lick of paint and make sure your door furniture is looking super shiny.

Declutter and depersonalise

The most important thing you can do to showcase your home to its best standard is to declutter, as many people simply cannot see past someone else’s possessions. It is important that buyers can imagine themselves living in your house which is more difficult if your surfaces are full of your family photos and mementos. One or two carefully chosen pictures and ornaments are great – you don’t want it to look stark, of course.  Cast your eye around and check that your surfaces and floorspaces are clear.

Check your flooring

What state are your carpets in? Are they patterned and dated? Or have they worn and need to be replaced? What about your wooden floors? Do they need to be re-varnished? Remember the more jobs people mentally tot up in their heads when looking round a property, the more likely they are to be put off from making an offer.

organised entrance hallway decluttered

Is your décor up to date?

When selling your home it’s best to consider a neutral palate. That crazy feature wallpaper might be your taste, but to appeal to the widest possible cross section of people it’s best to go sophisticated. A subtle background means that people can imagine their belongings in your home more easily. Make sure that curtains and blinds are in good condition and fit properly. Long curtains can make windows feel larger and blinds can be a good option for replacing dated curtains as low cost.

Check each room one at a time

Hall

Buy a new doormat for your porch and clear all the usual shoes, coats and bikes away. A top tip for the hall is to hang a mirror on the wall to bounce light around.

Sitting room

Really look at your furniture placement. Yes, that might be where you have always had that chair but could it be repositioned to show the room off more? Make sure your sofas are in good condition and brighten them up with some new cushions. Clear magazines and books off shelves and from under coffee table and put back only what looks good: a few mags on the table and some carefully chosen pieces on the shelves.

APDO - staging your home for sale decluttering organising kitchen

Dining Room

Consider how your dining table looks with no one seated at it. A runner and a bowl of fruit or some flowers make it look inviting. Make sure you show the room size off as much as possible. If this means playing about with the positioning of furniture then do!

Bathrooms

When decluttering and depersonalising, all the same rules apply to your bathroom as elsewhere in your home . For a bathroom it’s also key to clear away any ‘functional’ items such as cleaning products, toilet brushes, weighing scales and toothpaste and toothbrushes. Update even a tired looking bathroom with fresh new towels, well-chosen toiletries and fix anything that needs updating such as grout/sealant etc. This way you show the buyer the potential of your bathroom without breaking the bank.

Bedrooms

Make sure you bed is in the right position to show buyers the proportions of your bedroom. Declutter and stage the room channelling  ‘nice hotel room’ i.e. make sure the bedding is clean, ironed and the bed made well. Make sure your bedside tables and dressing tables are clear, with just a few photos and carefully chosen possessions on show which compliment the décor.

Kids’ stuff

Children’s toys should be sifted through and, although you can’t disappear all of them, a large amount should be put away for when buyers are viewing.

APDO staging your home for sale organising decluttering playroom

Appeal to all the senses

Make sure you home is warm enough, clean and as bright and cheerful as you can make it. If it’s a dull day and your house is dark, make sure you have replaced lightbulbs. If you have a pet you need to eliminate any associated odours by washing upholstery, cleaning carpets and using air fresheners and giving the house a good airing.

And finally

You are trying to make your home seem uncluttered, have plenty of storage but also loved and lived in. It’s a fine balance and it’s a difficult one to achieve when it is your own home – which is why you might consider employing a professional organiser who specialises in home staging. It will be totally worth it when your house sale goes through. Happy selling!

If Zoe’s post has inspired you to stage your home for sale you can find more information about your local professional organiser here.

Lady talking at podium and presenting to group

Countdown to the Conference has started!

 

The countdown has started and the conference committee are working through the checklists in preparation for what is proving to be a sell-out for APDO  Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers, “Life simplified” conference on 21 & 22 March 2017”.

In fact, demand for this event is so high that we have had to revisit the conference venue, Resource for London, and book extra space!  If you haven’t bought a ticket yet – do not delay!  There are a couple of two-day and day 1 tickets still available and a few additional on day two.   We will also be running a waiting list once these tickets have been sold so if you would like to put your name down then please contact Sammy Ryan at the email address below.

And why would you want to miss this amazing event? APDO has a superb line-up of keynote speakers, a wide variety of workshops to choose from, a brilliant Q&A panel and great evening social events – and all topped off with some fantastic auction and raffle prizes, not to mention an eclectic goody bag selection to take away with you!!

We look forward to welcoming you all!

For any queries please contact: Sammy Ryan of the conference team via the enquiry form.

apdo conference

Talking to the Press