I am only the 4th person in the State of Wisconsin to obtain this certification through the ICD! (June 2014)
In May, I traveled to Phoenix for the NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) Conference and sat for my first Level II Certificate through the ICD (Institute for Challenging Disorganization.)
In preparation for the exam:
I completed four books which included:
Completed nine hours of tele classes:
The ICD has five levels of certification:
If you are interested in learning more, please visit their website or feel free to contact me. It has been a great experience!
Sit back, close your eyes and try to list the complete contents of one room of your house. Not too bad? You can probably give a pretty good guestimate.
Now imagine staying up for two days straight after a fire forced you to leave your home. Your insurance agent has asked you to provide a Home Inventory to begin the claims process. You are so overwhelmed that you have no idea where to start.
Creating a Home Inventory seems like one of those tasks that you will get to "some day," and yet should be often times be moved up on the priority list. There are varying levels of detail that can be put into these.
How to Create A Home Inventory:
The best way to complete an inventory would be to have some visual documentation along with your notes, receipts, and manuals.
Do not wait for the perfect solution to getting your home inventory documented. Use pen and paper if you have to. The important thing is to get it done!!!
Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance does give some information on how to create your home inventory. (http://oci.wi.gov/consumer/inv-home.htm) They also provide a template that you can use to itemize a list of your belongings. (http://oci.wi.gov/pub_list/pi-224.pdf) Finally, they link to FREE apps to work on an inventory on your iPhone or Android. I have downloaded the iPhone app and it is pretty user friendly, but very basic.
You have decided to sell and your real estate agent has suggested that you declutter. You decide to start in the living room. When you walk in, you look around and notice that you have "things" out, but they are useful and used every day. You decide to start in another room...
Realtors and stagers do not have any emotional attachment to your things, and it is easier for them to point out the obvious "clutter." Be realistic about what it means to have your home on the market. You want others to picture living there, and their lifestyle may be very different than yours.
It is very important to make sure your home is ready for it's closeup!
Buyers will most likely have their first impression based on photos they will see online. This is where I suggest the staging start! Take a camera and stand at the curb, entrance to each room, and furthest corner from the door in each room. Snap a photo from each one of those locations. Then, upload them on your computer, and take a look, a real close look. Consider having someone such as a friend, family member, or neighbor help with this process and ask for their brutal honesty. What do you want potential buyers to notice about each room? What is the first thing you notice about each photograph? Is it what you want buyers to notice?
Many times, the answer to that question in…NO!
Make a list of things that need to be done BEFORE you have the pictures taken for your listing. Dedicate the time to get as many of those tasks done. All the time you put into making your house the bast it can possibly show, will help sell it faster. Buyers do not want to have to rehang doors, touchup paint, and clean before they move in. All of those things that you take care of for them, means a larger selling price.
Once listing pictures go online, and buyers see them, it is hard to undo the damage. Consider learning a little about living a minimalist lifestyle temporarily…who knows, you might even like it!
Making Peace with the Things in Your Life
Why Your Papers, Books, and Other Possessions Keep Overwhelming You-and What to Do About It
By Cindy Glovinsky M.S.W. A.C.S.W.
Platform: Paperback (Available through Madison Public Library)
This book really geared towards the casual reader in tone, but offers some really great insight into Thing management techniques for the professional organizer as well.
Cindy breaks the book down in to four sections
Part I: Rethinking Things
Part II: You and Your Things: Taking Inventory
Part III: Why Things Keep Overwhelming You
Part IV: What to do About Things
She really helps you try to determine why Things (capitalized on purpose!) are difficult for some. It feels a little like a history lesson. If you learn why you are holding on to things, or why you manage things a certain way, then you can avoid repeating that in the future. She makes some really great points about becoming aware of our surroundings and how it became to be the way it is. I often feel like I could write a book about organizing for my clients, but now I feel like I don't have to! This is a great book for the person trying to get organized, their families, and professionals.
"…time is time, however you chop it up. It's all about learning to make best use of whatever your brain does naturally, setting limits when you must and going with the flow whenever you can." (p139)
OK, people, let's get down to it! Spring is sneaking up fast (although I am not sure where it snuck off to…let me know if you find it!!!) Time to start thinking about opening up the windows to let in some fresh air, cleaning house, and making plans for warm weather activities.
What is the history of Spring Cleaning?
Your guess is as good as mine. I did an internet search only to get very conflicting information ranging from preparations for Persian New Year, to two weeks after the Jewish New Year, to near the Chinese New Year… I really was not expecting to find a debate!
So onward to the real topic at hand: Spring Cleaning.
As with any home project, I suggest you schedule the time for it. If it is a priority, you make the time. How much time should you plan on? That is not a simple question to answer, so get out your notepad and lets make some quick figures. Make a list of all the rooms in your house, the cleaning activities that need to happen, and the time you think it will take to complete the tasks. Do this quickly, there will not be a test at the end.
Everyone always thinks it will take less time, and if it does then consider it a bonus, but there is nothing worse than giving yourself time to do a task and then leaving it half done because you did not have time to finish it. Err on the side of caution, and over estimate. When you have your estimate add 30-50% more time. Below is an example of one room:
It might seem silly to plan how you will clean, but if you do this in advance, it will give you a chance to add to the list rather than be surprised the day of. Keep these estimates and make notes for next year. Maybe you had trouble removing a screen and want to remember a little trick. Also note the actual amount of time you spend in the room and add anything you forgot to the list.
So how about managing the whole home project?
Will you dedicate a day or weekend and blitz the whole house at once? Will you break it up into a few Saturday mornings so you do not have to miss out on invites for fun activities? You have to decide what option is best for you, and there are benefits to each. I suggest that if you decide to break up the project over several weekends that you break the house into zones. If you have a multi story, I would do one floor at a time. If it is a ranch style, then maybe split it into sleeping quarters, living quarters and kitchen/baths.
3.20.14 edit: I know that managing any process, even spring cleaning, with making a list might seem awkward to some. On the other hand, many people are challenged with how to manage such tasks due to ADD/ADHD, depression, anxiety, or other physical or mental conditions. The reality is that each of us has a brain that processes information and things differently. Making lists and estimations for time are just some of the tools to help folks manage.
I am very excited to announce an event that will be taking place on the North Side. It is a seminar series on April 9 & 16, 2014, called Transitions. They are Living and Planning Seminars for Active Seniors. Each of the dates will feature three sessions designed to get seniors actively involved in planning their futures. Maybe it would be helpful to listen to see if you are on the right track. Are you ready? Or maybe you have no idea where to start and need some ideas or help finding resources? No matter where you are in the process of planning, these sessions have something to offer everyone.
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope to see you there!
There are many different types of speciality organizers in the world, and today I learned a little more about a specific type of organizing called Feng Shui. There was so much interesting information! Pam provided a glimpse into her practice and made me really excited to try some techniques in my own home, and to find ways that I could incorporate the practice into my work with clients.
So, here are the highlights of what I learned today. This only skims the surface of the practice, and I encourage you to check out Pam's website or your local library for more information if you are interested.
Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese technique and has been adapted to suit todays needs.
Pam gave us many wonderful examples including how to place key furniture facing doors to decrease vulnerability. Pam explained the process for clearing a space by using fresh air, burning sage and performing a blessing ceremony. Finally, she also suggested creating new energy through the use of the senses, such as bells, incense, and using natural materials.
I know like with many eastern practices, there can be some skepticism. I am the first to admit that I am open to ideas of Feng Shui, but because it is a completely new concept to me, and not evidence based science, I have a little trouble wrapping my brain around it. That said, none of the concepts seemed harmful, and sometimes you have to step just a little out of your comfort zone to explore.
Let me know if anyone has used any Feng Shui techniques. I would love to hear your experiences!
OK, I cheated. I grouped the last two weeks together… I have found great joy in searching my home for randomness that the family no longer uses, but honestly, I am done blogging about it. Just because I am tired of showing pictures of all my cast-offs, does not mean that I have any intention of stopping. Just the contrary! I have never been so motivated! I have had this feeling before, but usually when preparing for a move. I am now wondering if minimalism is my path… No, probably not, but in the mean time I will keep a box upstairs and a box in the garage to catch any of those items that I catch myself or the family not using and get rid of them.
So what made the box these past weeks? More kids stuff was donated: clothes, and a few small toys, two changing pads. More kids stuff thrown out: personal hygiene items, as well as several pairs of socks well past their prime. And some donations: costume jewelry.
All in all, this has been very therapeutic and I hope motivating for my followers to see that even I, the Home Organizer, can find some useless items around my house to purge. I will do the project again. I am thinking instead of two months in a row (December and January), that I will pick January and July? We will see. In the mean time, I would love to hear what you are working on organizing and what you need help organizing.
Happy decluttering to my faithfully organized followers <3
Do you have organizing projects but are not sure how to get started?!?
Enter a drawing to receive one month of virtual organizing services for FREE!!!
How to enter:
What will the package include?
The drawing will be held on February 28, 2014 at 10PM by use of a random number generator. Winner will be contacted by email within 24 hours.
Everyone is a Winner! Every one who enters will be added to our monthly newsletter which includes book reviews, project ideas, and organizing tips and tricks. Cheers!
Do you like what you see?Sign up for a monthly newsletter and never miss a beat!
Professional Organizer at your service...