• September 25, 2017 9:24 AM | Kate Martin (Administrator)

    Please enjoy this NAPO Austin guest blog by Lindsay Palmgren,
    owner of 3e Organizing, reprinted with permission from NAPO National’s blog.

    “Brrrrrrrrrriiiinggg!!!” There’s the bell signalling a new school year! This means shopping for school supplies, preparing for new schedules, and getting ready to hit the books again. “Back to School” is for more than just the kiddos. As Professional Organizers, we understand the need for checklists and learning, but are we underestimating the resources right in front of us? Regardless of if you are a new Organizer, or an experienced Organizer, NAPO University has something for everyone! Here are my top 5 reasons why I’ll keep checking out the courses at NAPO University.

    1. There’s No Tardy Bell. With courses available both pre-recorded and live, there’s no need to worry about being marked ‘tardy’! You can fit your coursework into YOUR schedule – in between kids’ swim classes, after client appointments, first thing in the morning (after your coffee is brewed, of course), whenever it works for YOU.

    2. Syllabuses and Outlines. The courses are broken down into specific topics and segmented videos, with downloadable outlines. This makes it easier to tackle subject matter in small chunks, to take notes, and to resume a class. It makes my organized heart sing!

    3. Ditch the #2 pencils. As a NAPO newbie, I was relieved to discover that Organizing 101, 102, and 103 course provided relevant examples and realistic case studies to solve. This really got me thinking about new strategies and methodologies. There wasn’t a scantron test to take either, so no test anxiety here!

    4. Members and NAPO improve each other. Learning new skills improves the way we can help our clients, but it also improves the reputation of NAPO as a whole. When NAPO members become more educated, our organization becomes more respected. It helps unify the standard that NAPO sets within our industry.

    5. Personal development. Philosophies taught may benefit our personal lives, in addition to professionally. In Organizing 101, the speaker suggested using the “Premack Principle” with a client, however I found myself using the principle on myself. My own goal was to complete the first three NAPO “Going Pro” courses, Organizing 101, 102, & 103, and the reward would be replacing my broken purse. Well, I finally finished my 3-class goal, and have “Gone Pro”.

    So there you have it, a NAPO newbie’s take on why NAPO University is a great investment. Now if you excuse me, I’m off to go shopping for my new purse, and my next NAPO course.

    Lindsay’s testimonial to NAPO University:  “The first class in the NAPO University that I have taken is the Organizing 101 course. It was jam-packed full of valuable information for the newbie in the business! I have taken a few other organizing courses, and this course provided more organizational theory and information within the first 20 minutes than what I had obtained from another (non-NAPO) class. A definite “must take”, and I can see why it’s titled, ‘101’. Thank you, NAPO!”

  • September 05, 2017 12:33 PM | Kate Martin (Administrator)

    Please enjoy this NAPO Austin guest blog by Ryan Leary Lanier,
    owner of Love Your Space Organizing.

    Here are 5 Back To School Organizing Tips For Success:

    The Night Before

    A successful day starts the night before!  Establish the routine of a "launch pad" where your kid puts together his/her outfit from top to bottom (where ARE my SHOES???!?!), backpack with all homework and signed papers, and any special items.  Preferably, create a spot near the door for the items (except the clothes!), so it's ready, set, launch!  Use a "don't forget" sticky note on the door if an item is in the fridge.  "Today me takes care of tomorrow me!"

    Organizing A Homework Area

    Designate an area for homework and stock it with all the necessary supplies to cut down on the "where are the glue sticks?!" moments.  Use lots of pencil cups to keep everything neat and tidy.  If you need to stow it all away, choose a shower caddy to hold everything for easy toting.  Most kids like to do homework in the kitchen near the action so making a portable supply center will help tidy up after worktime is over.

    Managing School Lunches

    Spend some of Sunday afternoon or evening prepping and stocking the lunch making station.  Cut veggies, make sandwiches, cook a bunch of pasta, put trail mix into small containers, and then these items are ready all week to throw into those lunch boxes.  If you have leftovers from dinner, go ahead and put into lunch sized containers and then they are ready to roll!  When training your child to pack his/her own lunch, teach him/her to choose something from each food group.  Lessons learned now can benefit them their whole lives!

    Helpful Apps For The Family

    Google Calendar is the way to go for family activity management, and to do items.  Link everyone's calendars and designate each person with a different color and life will look pretty in its craziness!  We always have our phones, so use that to your advantage.  Any thought, date, or whim can be entered on the calendar and not overlooked.  A must for families with a traveling parent too, to keep him/her in the loop!

    Go To Parenting/School Resources

    For any and all advice, tips, funny stories, blogs, podcasts and Facebook groups to help with being a successful home CEO, turn to www.organize365.com and you will find a wealth of logical, do-able, and clever strategies to cope with this crazy life!  Lisa Woodruff has been through it all and has created many products and programs (lots of free ones) and an online community for support and tips whenever you need it.  And we all need it!

    Just take it one day at a time!

  • July 10, 2017 2:56 PM | Kate Martin (Administrator)

    5 Top Summer Vacation Travel Tips

    Please enjoy this NAPO Austin interview of guest blogger Erin Morper,
    owner of Start Somewhere Professional Organizing Solutions

    1. What lists do you make before going on vacation?

    I make my packing list by grabbing a sheet of paper and making three columns; in the first column I list the days of the vacation, activities, and the weather forecast for each day, in the second column, I list each item of clothing and whatever accessories I’ll need for each activity, and the third column is a running list of everything to pack. To streamline my lists, I keep the lists necessary for all trips electronically in Evernote so they’re easy to update and share. I have a before we leave, house sitter instructions, and general packing checklist, which saves me so much time getting ready for a trip.


    2. What is your favorite travel item?

    My favorite travel item is my VW bus toiletry bag. It’s colorful and fun and just packing it helps me get into vacation mode!


    3. Do you have any special way of packing a suitcase - fold or roll, certain items on top/bottom, jewelry packing secrets?

    It’s amazing how much space you can save in your suitcase by rolling your clothes instead of folding them. I also like to bring my own pillowcase, which doubles as a travel case for necklaces or bracelets to keep them from getting tangled. Simply lay the pillowcase out, place a necklace close to one end, fold the pillowcase over the necklace and repeat!


    4. What is your favorite app to use when traveling?

    Tripadvisor is my favorite travel app. It’s like Yelp for travel; you can find things to do, restaurants, and real-time reviews wherever you are. If you’re traveling with pets, Bring Fido is an app that locates pet-friendly accommodations and dog parks along your route.


    5. What things do you suggest bringing along on a road trip to keep the car clean, organized, and not too boring?

    One of my road trip must-haves is a car power inverter with USB ports. It keeps everyone’s devices charged and if you want to plug your laptop in to watch a movie, you can do that too! One thing that’s always on my Before We Leave list is to download podcasts, music and videos for the trip so we can access them in the middle of nowhere without using all of our data. To keep the car clean and organized, I recommend packing wet wipes and a roll of paper towels for messes and spills and a handful of plastic bags for the inevitable accumulation of road trip trash, muddy shoes, wet bathing suits and laundry.


    A big thank you to Erin for all of her fabulous travel organizing tips!

    If you are planning a vacation and need a little assistance, check out our Find An Organizer page for more help.

  • June 21, 2017 5:39 AM | Kate Martin (Administrator)

    *Adapted & reprinted with permission from the author,
    Jamie Steele of  www.steeleorganizing.com 

    Master Your To-Do List

    We all have so much to do it can be overwhelming. Here are 6 strategies to keep your sanity and master your to-do list.

    1. Keep A Master List

    If you don’t have a master list start one right now.  Set a timer for 20 minutes and write down everything you have to do.  If you keep your lists in multiple places, now is the time to gather all the scraps of paper and put it all down in one master list.

    2. Brain Dump Weekly On To Your List

    Now that you have a master list you need to keep adding to it.  Every week block out some time to brain dump all your new to-dos.  List everything that pops into your mind.  No item is too large or too small to be added to your list.  By now you probably have an enormous list and it is a bit overwhelming.  We will take care of that in the next couple of steps.

    3. Delete Items That Are No Longer Relevant

    So, you have brain dumped and gathered all your miscellaneous lists into one master list and you are totally overwhelmed with all there is to do.  I want you to go through your master list and cross off anything that you really don’t need to get done.  We add items to our lists thinking we are supposed to be doing these things.  Not necessarily.  Don’t succumb to the pressure of what others are doing.  Look inside yourself to determine what needs to be done and cross off those items that are irrelevant.

    4. Delegate Items That Don’t Need To Be Completed By You

    We all need help and with the list you have going, you have to enlist the help of family, friends, and co-workers.  Go through your master list and decide what doesn’t need to be done by you.  Delegate those items out.  No need wasting your time on tasks that are not your strong suit when there are plenty of resources to help you.  For example, do you hate grocery shopping? There are services who will do the shopping for you.  Delegate that task out.

    5. Transfer Items From Your Master List To Your Daily To-Do List

    This step is one of the most important, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed by your master list.  Review your list and write down your top 3 priorities for the day.  Trust me your day will throw you curve balls, and you most likely won’t have time for more than 3 of your to-dos.  Do this every day, and you will start making progress on your master list.  It doesn’t mean you can only do those 3 items.  You may find yourself with extra time to tackle more items on the list.  Just make sure you get the top three done.

    6. Schedule Your To-Dos

    Writing your to-do list down doesn’t mean it is going to get done.  You need to block out time to accomplish your tasks.  Take a look at your calendar and decide when you will complete your tasks.  Make an appointment with yourself and stick to it.  No rescheduling.  You need to get these tasks done, and you have made time for it so respect your schedule.

    Following these strategies will put you in control of your to-do list!

  • May 21, 2017 4:12 PM | Anonymous

    During our monthly May meeting, we had a round table discussion about various organizing business related questions. It was great and we had thoughtful and helpful conversations. 

    What struck me through the course of the small groups sharing their topic highlights was that people enter into professional organizing as a career in two main ways - wading in or jumping in. 

    Waders - They think about organizing for a long time, slowly crafting a business with the perfect name and branding and website. They start with one or two clients they know and grow from there. 

    And that is totally okay. 

    Jumpers  - They dive head first into organizing, they may or may not have a social media presence or website or even a name, but they start organizing and figure it out as they go. 

    And that is totally okay. 

    I bring this up because no matter how you start your business or how you journey down the business owner path, it is your journey. No one can tell you how fast you should be going or what you should have done by this or that date or year marker.

    There are times when you need to heed wisdom, to act, to slow down, to process, to learn. That is part of being a business owner. 

    There are also times you need to listen to your self and own that you might be wading into organizing or jumping in and either way is normal and okay. 

    Words to Leave You With:

    For the Waders, remember that your business and website will always be a work in progress. Don't wait until everything is perfect to act, it never will be.

    For the Jumpers, remember that business goals and plans orient you and keep you focused on ideal clients and you know - having a legal business. Don't wing it, plan it!

  • March 28, 2017 9:15 AM | Anonymous

    As a new organizer, there are thoughts, questions and maybe even pressures to pick a specialty. Do I specialize in ADHD organizing? Holistic organizing? Senior Moves? Is holistic organizing even a specialty or a methodology? The next meeting is tomorrow and I have to introduce myself, so what do I say?

    You might be a seasoned organizer and still feel the pressure.

    I have sat in many chapter meetings and heard frustrated exclamations of "I don't have a specialty yet!" or slightly embarrassed "I am 'just' a generalist." 

    It saddens me to see the anxiety or embarrassment. Those are totally normal feelings, but let's start to shift the mindset of specialties. I have a few thoughts on how to do that:

    1. Picking a specialty is like picking your favorite color. You don't really pick your favorite color - you just know. So go with what feel right and what you enjoy.
    2. Don't stress about it. You don't have to have a specialty. You might develop one later or never. That is okay!
    3. Having a specialty is really for you, not your clients. It gives you a really specific and clear snippet of what you do, so others automatically think "that is me!" or "I know so and so that could use your help!" 
    4. A specialty is also really for your marketing purposes. Marketing is best done with surgical precision, not a shot gun. A specialty helps identify where to focus your marketing efforts in finding and bringing in your ideal clients.
    5. Be aware that if you do everything for everyone, you aren't going to be anything for anyone. Being a generalist doesn't mean that you tell people everything thing you do. Listen to what they are telling you or what group you are in and tailor your elevator pitch or project examples you give about what you do! 

    If you are in the process of specializing or living large as a generalist, I hope this has given you some helpful pointers and encouragement!

  • March 03, 2017 4:22 PM | Anonymous
    Looking for an organizer specializing in ADD/ADHD? Interested in specializing in ADD/ADHD as an organizer?

    Stephanie Eyster with remedy., one of our very own ADD/ADHD specialists, penned some helpful information on ADD/ADHD and how organizing can support individuals with ADD/ADHD.

    ADD/ADHD Is... 
    ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and replaces what was once known as ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). 

    It is a condition that affects both adults and children and symptoms include:
    • inattentiveness
    • impulsiveness
    • hyperactivity

    How Professional Organizers Support Adults with ADD/ADHD...

    Professional Organizers can support adults with ADD/ADHD by explaining the organizing process in depth to lower anxiety levels. Organizers can also break large projects down into smaller objectives, so clients feel less overwhelmed.

    Organizers can also develop routines during the organizing process that allow clients to sustain the organizing systems established. A professional can also create an appropriate reward system, so achieving an objective is fun and personally rewarding!   

    How Professional Organizers Support Children with ADD/ADHD...

    Professional Organizers support children with ADHD by providing structure, developing routines, and laying out expectations. ADHD children work well when their environment and schedule are structured. 

    Why? Structure takes the guess work out of knowing what to do and when. The children build confidence when they can successfully follow a routine to achieve an objective or when they are familiar with an expectation.  

    Helpful Tools...

    A Timer

    When working on the actual physical organizing with a client with ADHD, a timer can be your most valued tool. Set the timer for 15 to 30 minutes then allow the client to take a 5 minute break in between. 

    A Calendar

    A calendar of any kind is a very important tool for a client with ADHD. The calendar can be on their smart phone or in paper form. All activities and appointments must be represented on this calendar and it's important that they have only one calendar to reference. When working with several calendars at once, appointments are often missed or overlooked. 

    A "To Do" List

    "To do" lists are equally as important to a client with ADHD. This can come in the form of a planner or utilizing a "to do" list app on their smart phone.  

    For Organizers...

    How Can I Specialize?

    What are Some Local Resources?

    • The NAPO Austin Chapter library has several resources that address clients with ADHD (Come to our monthly meeting for library access!).
    • Organizing Solutions for People with ADHD by Susan C. Pinsky is an excellent book that guides organizing processes for ADHD clients. 

    Photo 1 by Annie Spratt

    Photo 2 by Brooke Lark

  • February 22, 2017 9:38 AM | Anonymous

    Hello and Welcome to NAPO Austin's blog!

    This is a fun new adventure for us, so we hope you will enjoy the various topics!

    You will see blogs on things like

    • how our chapter can support you in reaching your organizing goals
    • how our organizing specialities tailor our work to you
    • all the details on events you might enjoy
    • a few organizing tips to encourage you along your organizing journey.
    And for the professional organizers, we'll share
    • helpful business tips for you
    • some of the "whys" to our methods
    • how new developments in our field can support your business
    • even some fun product reviews of things we love.
    We are jazzed about our blog and hope you are too!

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