(Host) Among the most popular New Year’s resolutions – right up there with getting more exercise and losing weight – is getting organized.
It seems more people are having a hard time organizing their work and home lives these days, and it’s given rise to a growing number of professional organizers.
VPR’s Steve Zind talked to two of them about their work and their tips for starting the New Year with less clutter.
(Zind) We’ve all experienced the confusion and frustration that comes with being disorganized, but for some people it’s worse than that.
(Donza) “They’re scared. I worked with a woman, her business grew very fast. She said she couldn’t sleep at night. She was so afraid of what was going on that she wasn’t able to pay attention to.”
(Zind) Donna Donza is one of a growing number of professional organizers in Vermont.
Professional organizers don’t come in to your business and do your filing for you or visit your home and straighten up your closets – they teach you skills you need to do those things yourself.
Donza says to become better organized people first need to examine their habits. Does the mail pile up on the table by the door because there’s no where else to put it – does paperwork accumulate on the desk because tasks aren’t being completed.
(Donza) “You don’t want to create the piles that then are drudgery. The other think is retrieval. I had another client that when I looked at her files, I said how can we better set this up, she said I don’t want to put anything in those files because then I know I’ve lost it.”
(Zind) Donza helps her clients devise a filing system that works for them. Sometimes simply moving a file cabinet closer to a desk helps solve the problem.
Julie Cubino is another professional organizer. She runs “Harmony at Last” which offers training and organizational help to businesses around the state. Cubino says one of biggest problems for people who are poorly organized is they try to keep too much in their heads instead of on paper or in a computer.
(Cubino) “Our mind can be swimming with information from everything from picking the kid up after work to going ahead and ordering something for a client to making for a phone call. If all of that is swimming in one’s head it makes it really hard to remember to what to do next, and we tend to act more in a panic rather than a mindful way that’s moving the business forward.”
(Zind) Cubino also assists people who want to be better organized at home.
Cubino says everyone is different in terms of what degree of organization works for them. The object, she says, is not to be a neat freak.
She says she’s the only organizing professional in Vermont who’s accredited to work with people who are considered chronically disorganized.
In its most extreme form years of accumulated belongings can pile up in a house, filling the rooms and hallways.
(Cubino) “When I’m working with someone in that situation, if they do need to seek the advice of a therapist I will recommend that they might want to talk to somebody about it because those relationships with that stuff can be so tightly coupled that that can really help them go deep in whatever other things they’re feeling.”
(Zind) Cubino also teaches organizational skills to people living with disabilities and those with attention deficit disorder.
Professional organizers charge anywhere from $100 to $300 for a three-hour session.
For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.