NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PRODUCTIVITY AND ORGANIZING PROFESSIONALS
It's National Get Organized (GO) Month! Every year during the month of January, NAPO promotes the benefits of working with an organizing or productivity professional. Throughout the country, events are held to encourage folks to walk forward on their organizing journey.
Whether that means decluttering a room, organizing your paper piles or hiring a Professional Organizer to get the ball rolling, we are here to make the process easier!
In the spirit of GO Month, I've put together some decluttering tips to help support both homeowners and organizers who support them. I hope you find these useful!
1. For those who have a hard time making decisions when decluttering, it can be very helpful to designate a specific home for everything. When the available space for that category is used up, this serves as a visual cue that it’s time to declutter. Relying on these visual cues takes the decision making outside of the emotional brain, and allows our more rational-thinking brain to make choices about what to keep and what to declutter.
2. Starting the decluttering process can be very daunting. If you feel overwhelmed, focus on one corner of the room and work outwards. Don’t worry about the rest of the space - that will follow as you build momentum and confidence.
3. Before you begin decluttering, grab a bin and designate it as a “go elsewhere” container. Any items you find that need to be put away in another room should go in there, which helps you to avoid wandering into other rooms and getting distracted.
4. If you feel overwhelmed by organizing, start in areas with a "low emotional barrier" - places like the bathroom or laundry room where you'll feel more ready to let go. That will look different for everyone.
5. Kitchen cabinets are clutter magnets for items that rarely get used. If you have two of the same thing or two different things that serve the same purpose, choose between the two.
6. When decluttering in the kitchen, getting rid of excess food storage containers is half the battle! If you have Tupperware that you can’t find the lid for - get rid of it.
7. 85% of all textiles thrown away end up in landfills. When decluttering your closet, if you have items that are too damaged donate but you don’t want to put them into the trash, cut them up and make cleaning rags out of them.
8. You’ll never be “done” with decluttering; it is a constant process that becomes much easier with daily practice. To maintain your larger decluttering efforts, set up a donation bin in an easy-access location (or two!). Pop some trash bags in the bottom and a Sticky Note “donation” label on the font. When it gets full, place everything in one of the trash bags and donate!
9. Place a small recycling bin in each room of your home. You would be amazed at how much clutter just sits around in the form of items to be recycled! Bathrooms, bedrooms and near where the mail piles up are all great spots.
10. Decluttering your bathroom might be as simple as checking the expiration dates on a lot of your products. Many makeups, sunscreens, medications, supplements, lotions and nail polishes can expire or dry out. If you look on the back, you can see the number of months from the open date when the product will expire. (This usually looks little a little jar or bottle with the number 18M or 12M - that means 12 months from the open date. Here is a quick video with examples if that is helpful.)
11. Take before and after pictures of your decluttering projects. Seeing how much progress you have made will inspire you to keep going! It’s easy to forget how far you have come and so helpful to have a reference for the times where you are feeling overwhelmed.
12. Schedule your donation drop-offs and pick-ups right away. A pile of things you are planning to get rid of is still clutter until it is gone. If it's in your calendar, you are more likely to follow through. Remember, this is an ongoing process. Each small step - even dropping things off at a donation center - should be celebrated!
Life is full of transitions. Changing careers, launching a business, navigating through pandemics, dealing with the death of a loved one, and even organizing your home...these transitions can all be overwhelming at first. During times of transition, to-do lists can feel endless. You might feel bombarded by the mountains of information to sift through and absorb. Then there are the inevitable times that you will stop and question, "is this endeavor worth it?"
As I began launching my organizing business, there were many days when I felt that the lists were insurmountable and the obstacles too large. Even as an organized person. When I felt this way, there were two words that helped me calm myself down and refocus:
I chanted these words to myself each morning as I prepared to tackle another checklist item. I uttered them aloud in the kitchen, thinking about all that needed to be accomplished. They were a constant comfort.
When frustrations gummed up the works and progress came crashing to an unwelcome halt, I felt blessed when those around me whispered (or more likely admonished rather loudly), "BABY STEPS!" to remind me that everything would get done in due time. It would not happen all at once, regardless of how impatient I got.
My mission for the business launch was to give myself a year to get everything up and running by the time my last bird flew the nest, and I would become a "Free Bird."
You see, I wanted to avoid feeling sorry for myself due to the changes in my life, watching my kids blossom into their adult paths taking them far away. Lo and behold, I DID get it all done...and more. The Practical Sort is now in it's 5th year, and business is going strong!
The next time you take on a big project that feels daunting, like changing careers or trying to organize your home, simply close your eyes. Notice if your stomach is churning and the muscles in your back and neck tighten because you have no idea how it will all get done.
Then, say these words or keep them in the back of your mind, "Baby Steps." Repeat if necessary.
Sometimes it is best to start with a very small project or area because the pay-off will be more immediate. Your brain will experience the surge of endorphins while you admire the progress made. This can stoke your energy and motivation to keep going!
And when you find yourself in over your head, figure out how to calm down your amygdala and get back into your prefrontal cortex, the rational thinking brain. That might look like:
Baby steps indeed. It will all happen in due time.
The changing of seasons is always a motivating time to declutter, organize and turn over a new leaf (pun intended!). To celebrate, we've found some great local Portland area events, including those related to shredding, recycling and hoarding disorder services.
We hope these help you and your clients move forward into the new season and to close the year with intention. DISCLAIMER: NAPO Oregon does not specifically endorse these organizations and is not liable for their performance.
Local shred events are a great opportunity for our clients to eliminate shredding and support a good cause at the same time. These events are increasingly geared towards collecting food donations as well as shredding, so always check before you go!
Note: Unfortunately, the Beaverton Police Department has discontinued their Shred events.
Saturday, October 30th from 9 am – 12 pm at the Sherwood Police Department.
Protect yourself and your clients from identity theft while the Sherwood Police Department works to restock the community’s food pantries. This event is sponsored by The Sherwood Police Department and Pride Disposal. They will allow two boxes of shredding maximum and a minimum of two non-perishable food items. Call 503.625.5523, #2 with questions.
More Information Here.
Saturday, November 6th, 2021 from 8 am - 1 pm at 3083 NE 49th Pl, Hillsboro, 97124.
This is the fall shred event in Hillsboro, which benefits the Safe & Sober Grad Night Celebrations for Hillsboro High Schools. You are allowed three grocery bag/banker boxes of shredding and a minimum $5 cash donation per car. This event starts at 8am and they go till the trucks are full! They ask us to remember to bring PAPER ONLY.
More Information Here.
As many of our members know, buried in Treasures is a FREE 16-week peer-led, judgment-free program sponsored by Washington County Disability, Aging, and Veterans Services. There is a group starting October 18th and running for 16 weeks on Mondays from 12 pm -2 pm PST.
NOTE: The dates for this course are decided once enough participants are registered on the wait list! So if you have a client who wishes to attend, they should go ahead and get themselves signed up. Once they have enough for a group, they will contact participants to decide on a time.
This program provides in-depth training and support for people with clutter, chronic disorganization, and hoarding tendencies to learn practical skills in a small group setting of up to 12 who share similar experiences.
Each 2-hour session focuses on a chapter in the provided book, Buried in Treasures: Help for Compulsive Acquiring, Saving, and Hoarding (Tolin, Frost, & Steketee, 2nd ed. 2013, Oxford University Press), with readings, activities, and homework between sessions.
Participants are expected to commit to attending all 16 sessions as well as to participate actively. Research by Randy Frost and colleagues indicates that up to 73% of participants are much or very improved by the end of the group.
Participants will find a supportive community of people who are struggling to cope and are ready for change.
Contact Kera Magarill at 720.210.8481 or via email at email@example.com to register.
Recycle or Not is a great local resource that can help clients who struggle with recycling to develop an understanding of what Oregon Metro takes at curbside pickup.
To benefit from this resource, simply follow their Instagram page. They post common household items with info on whether the item can be recycled or not. You can also Direct Message them with a photo of an item you have a question about, and they are great at getting back to you!
Note: Recycle or Not focuses ONLY on what Portland Metro's curbside service takes. There may be alternate recycling options out there for some items! For the savvy recycler, this resource will be less helpful, but it's an excellent guide for beginners who want to stop "wishcycling."
You can find out more about them at recycleornot.org, or follow them on Instagram here.
This is a great resource for our Oregon Chapter Members only! It contains resources for recycling, repurposing, selling and disposing of unwanted items. The Resource List is maintained by the NAPO Oregon Resource Committee as a benefit to current NAPO Oregon members. If you are a Professional Organizer and you are NOT a member, this resource guide is a great benefit of joining the chapter!
Once you have joined, the Resource Guide will be available in the Members Only section of the NAPO Oregon Website.
NAPO Oregon, Incorporated is a legal entity separate and distinct from NAPO, Inc. (the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals) and is not entitled to act on behalf of or to bind NAPO, contractually or otherwise.
© National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals Oregon Chapter. All rights reserved.