The Organizer Gene

Some of us really are born this way. I’ve always loved organizing. I remember playing out in the woods as a kid and wanting to organize nature. The disarray of the leaves, branches and uneven ground just would not do. So I got to work organizing my little patch of play-space within the wild of the woods. I should mention that I have since grown to better appreciate the beauty of the natural world. There are some places where disorder should be enjoyed and celebrated!

But it didn’t stop there. When I was about 10 or 11, my grandparents downsized and moved into an apartment in a retirement facility. I wanted to direct the whole process to make everything run smoothly for everyone. I excitedly created diagrams of how their furniture would fit best in the new space, and my grandmom actually laid out her new home based on my sixth-grade designs.

Yes, during my teenage years, my room often became a disaster like many adolescents’, but the joy I found on my designated clean up days was probably an outlier from most.

As a young adult, my boyfriend and his roommate moved into a new apartment; but weeks later, everything was still in boxes, and furniture was poorly positioned all over the place. I rolled up my sleeves and dug in; and when that phase was over, I started helping friends organize their closets.

There is no doubt that my organizing tendencies helped me excel in school, both as an undergraduate at Temple University in Philadelphia, and as I obtained my master’s degree from The Ohio State University.

Professionally, this organizing gene was even more beneficial. When I worked as the Marketing Director for a film company, I cleaned up our contact databases and meticulously created our monthly newsletters.

As the Director of Marketing and Event Entertainment at The Actors Gymnasium, I decided to also manage a massive redesign of our costume storage and filing system.

As Publicity Manager at Goodman Theatre, I executed an overhaul of the Publicity Department’s press contact database to better fulfill the specific needs and desires of the staff. As I transitioned into a new role as Audience Development Manager, I created a new system for the organization to better communicate internally with the marketing and ticketing departments when creating new events. I then led my colleagues in a clean up and redesign of our Grassroots database to better streamline the workflow and process.

At home, I found myself drawn to similar endeavors. I always determined the most time and energy efficient ways for my husband and I to accomplish any task. Inefficiency was my nemesis.

Then one day as I was organizing a closet at home, it occurred to me what a great sense of joy I found from a task like that—-something that most people disdain; and that is when my fantasy of starting my own professional organizing business began! I wanted to share this skill with others and improve lives by helping people achieve that same sense of relief and clarity.

It also occurred to me that I had spent years improving other people’s businesses, and it was time to put those skills toward running my own business.

And then I found my people! As I began research, I quickly found the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO). I joined as a provisional member, and immediately began taking classes to earn Professional Member status. Once I became a Professional Member, I joined NAPO Chicago and began attending local meetings and events where I felt truly at home with like-minded professionals.

As I started taking my first official clients, I felt confident in the work and joy in the outcomes I witnessed. When a recent client told me I had changed her life, I found myself grateful that I could make such a large impact on someone’s life through something that comes so naturally to me.

And that’s where I am now–hoping to bring more life-changing moments to those who are ready for it.

Where are you on the Organizer Gene spectrum? Feel free to share below! Can you relate to the situations I described, or do you find yourself on the other end of the scale? How does it feel? If you’re happy with your systems; your days feel focused and efficient; and you can find everything you need, when you need it with minimal time spent searching, then you are probably feeling pretty good! But if you feel like you’re losing time, money, opportunities and/or peace of mind because of inadequate systems, you may want to consider hiring a professional organizer.

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