Not only is the promise of getting organized a common New Year's resolution, but organizing and staying organized is also a process at which some make a living, including Michelle Worthington, a professional organizer and owner of Worthy Spaces in Boca Raton.
Worthington stepped into her organizer/consulting role last year after a decade of working in technical software support jobs. But her skills are nothing new, she says. Family and friends have always tapped Worthington for their own undertakings that require organizing.
"The majority of my client projects involve just one or two sessions of organizing," said Worthington. "It's truly amazing how much you can accomplish in a four-hour session."
Most of Worthington's clients range in age 30- to 55-years-old, and seek assistance with home offices, closets, unpacking and kitchens and garages in addition to senior moves.
She helps businesses convert to paperless offices and organizes filing systems. Worthington helps with stagings and other tasks that require workflow and presentation skills.
And this month, Worthington is branding her business with a series of "Worthy" organizing tips and events in recognition of National Get Organized (GO) Month, aptly celebrated in January each year, according to the National Association of Professional Organizers.
As a member of NAPO's local chapter, Worthington participated in the IKEA Organizing Expo in Sunrise last week, the first time the South Florida chapter got involved with the store's annual event, says Worthington. There, she and other chapter members met with consumers, advising them on how desks, accessories and other furnishings can maximize organizing opportunities.
"I think as a group we really made a difference for some of the shoppers that had so many great ideas, but didn't truly know how to get started," said Worthington. "Often people just need some direction."
How did you get the idea of your own organizing business? I have to thank reality TV shows like Hoarders, Clean House and The Amanda's for inspiring me. Without these shows I never would have realized that there was an actual industry for professional organizers. Once I decided this was a direction I wanted to go in, I researched professional organizer contacts in South Florida, and attended a chapter meeting of professional organizers.
What was your game-changer? After some intense projects at work I decided to take a step back from the pace of technical software support that required on-call activities for over a decade. I wanted something that would give me more flexibility with my daughter and to do something I felt was making a difference.
How important is business networking? It's huge. It really helps to promote our industry. Beyond that, in my line of work -- especially residential organizing -- the process is very personal. That means getting to know someone through networking really helps. Not only does it build a rapport between me and my clients, it allows them to feel comfortable enough with me to have them in their house sometimes organizing very private and personal items. Most of my referrals are from word of mouth from someone who has gotten to know me through networking and I am no longer a "stranger."
What is the single biggest organizational "don't"? Don't go out and buy lots of bins, baskets or containers with the charge to get organized. One of the most important overlooked and most difficult tasks is purging. Many people already have enough containers on hand to hold all of the items that should be kept.
How can people get/stay organized? Take 15 to 30 minutes of uninterrupted time in a business workday to do some administrative tasks: filing, billing, correspondence, etc. It may mean NOT taking on an extra client or customer, but being able to successfully handle a current customer base with quality and organization is more important in the long run than rushing through and losing items today. If you don't have the time and this isn't an option, then hiring someone to take on the administrative tasks may be a worthwhile expense.
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