Organizing Conference Take Aways


NAPO Conference

Last week I was in Los Angeles for the National Association of Professional Organizer’s 2015 Conference. Each year about four hundred and fifty organizers gather to soak up education classes and industry trends. Thankfully the conference rotates around the country and we will be closer to Chicago next year in Atlanta. Since starting my organizing business eleven years ago, I have attended seven conferences. In the beginning I used to come back with a million new ideas and feverishly work all year to accomplish new endeavors and grow my business. Now, when I return I take a step back and analyze where I have been and what I need to do to stay up to date in organizing trends. I never want to get to a point where I’m not staying relevant to my clients’ needs.

For example, I was in a home this last week going through files. Ten years ago I was building filing systems and organizing paper completely different than I am today. The trend now and wave of the future is really going paperless, implementing scanning and getting rid of files altogether. Of course some families will be the exception to the rule, but I foresee less and less paper in homes and more and more documents being organized on our computers. It’s my job to make it simple for my clients, switch over clients that want to move in that direction and then work with those that have already made the switch over. Organizing documents on the computer isn’t super different than the physical paper. Creating buckets or folders with subcategories is still the way to go whether you’re in your email platform or just in your documents folder. Keeping up on “filing” the paper on your computer or scanning documents is the same as needing to file hard copy paper. It’s all about switching our thinking to digitally thinking in regards to going paperless.

The other buzz or trend in our industry I noticed for myself as I’m working with homeowners is digital photos. Yes, some families still have bins or shoe boxes of printed photos but our world has mainly gone digital. Gone are the days of printing pictures unless you have a specific use for them or a project that need a hard copy. Homeowners, families, and individuals now have pictures saved on their phones, in the cloud, on their laptop, tablets. How do you keep track of all of them? Get rid of duplicates? and organize them in a way that will help retrieve the picture you want easily? The same hard copy problems get transferred to digital problems. We still need to find the picture we want to view and we still want to store photos safely and long term without losing them.

Besides contemplating those two trends, I also took several classes on how we think about stuff, why we hold onto stuff, and how to transfer organizing skills to my clients so that they can maintain organization and think like an organizer. It’s always a good reminder that my standard of organization is not the same as any of my clients. I work to bring you to the level of organization you desire for your home or business. My expectations and my standards don’t really matter. Yours do. You’re the client. I’m just the tool to get you there. Making organizing practical, helpful, and useful is the priority so you can get the results you desire.

Here’s to another year of organizing and great education from the National Association of Professional Organizers!

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4 Responses to Organizing Conference Take Aways

  1. Anne-Marie Concepcion

    Hi Amber! Interesting post. You helped me organize my home office a couple years ago, and I’m still using your system.

    I had a couple questions and comments.

    1. Do you recommend people scan documents if they’re already properly filed? To have a digital back-up, perhaps, or to move to digital only and free up storage?

    2. Regarding organizing digital files, using subfolders and buckets. I would think a trend would be to move toward tagging files with keywords, and then using those keywords (metadata) for searches. Does that come up at all in your conferences? That’s how digital images are usually organized, using default metadata (like creation date) and added keywords and descriptors. For document management, in this way files that should be in both the Creditors folder and the Home folder (like, say, mortgage docs) could be tagged with both keywords and found via searches, rather than guessing at which single folder it should go in. Thoughts?

    3. Do you have any recommendations for companies that convert photos and VHS tapes to digital storage? I’m one of those people with the boxes ;-D


  2. Sarah says:

    I love your work. You inspire and educate us on your blog. You can really help a lot. Great blogs!

  3. it is very nice to read this blog

  4. Apu Mridha says:

    your post is really amazing . i enjoyed reading through your post. Please keep sharing this kind of work with . 🙂

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