The Calling, Before It Had a Name
Ask a teacher what she was doing at the age of nine and she'll probably say, "Playing school." What was I doing at that age? Playing efficiency expert. I'd sit on my bed, streamlining the steps to whatever activity I was working on. Or I'd sit there visualizing how to make the space in my room more efficient. It didn't take long for my mom to figure out who to go to when something needed organizing.
The artist in me started to blossom, opening up new opportunities to organize. At 12, for example, I re-organized the family utility room to create a studio in the corner where I could paint. When people started asking me what I wanted to be, expecting me to say "artist" or "art teacher", I said I wanted to organize people. This was well before anyone had heard of a "professional organizer". So people scratched their heads and asked, "You mean a secretary? A housekeeper? A wife?" I kept shaking my head. Eventually they'd shrug their shoulders and leave it at that.
I enrolled at the University of Massachusetts. When it came time to choose a major I was stumped: how do you major in organizing? I chose art and education instead-actually the perfect choice. This training laid the foundation for later study in interior design. Plus, it developed my understanding of how artists think and work, which equips me to help creative professionals get organized. Today my training helps me view problems - and their solutions-from different angles.
Time Management and Peanut Butter
Six years after graduation, I was the owner and manager of an Orlando, Florida, gift shop. I was also married and the mother of two boys: a two-year-old and a newborn. It was during this period that I honed my time management skills and learned to value "whatever works for you."
My two-year-old, for example, was seriously into peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So I'd make a whole loaf of PBJ sandwiches and stick them into the freezer. Did they come out a little soggy? Yes. Did my young culinary critic mind? Not a bit. His only goal — which became my goal — was to have PBJs on hand when the need struck. Whatever works.
Learning the Words and Hearing the Call
In 1995 I read a New York Times article about a professional organizer. For the first time I was able to assign a title to my career aspirations. Finally I could identify with a real person with a name and a face. I learned that the profession even had its own organization: The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). I found myself able to articulate — in terms others would eventually understand — what I wanted to do. After five years of volunteering my organizing skills in the community for event planning, team building, and other activities, I founded Things in Place.
I continue to enjoy artistic pursuits, like quilting, and in fact I see a strong connection between quilting and organizing. I'm also an avid participant in the sport of curling. Is there a connection between curling and professional organizing? I think so. Clickto learn more.
Owned & Operated by a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO)