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Professional Organizing is an industry that developed in 1984 in Los Angeles, to help individuals and businesses design organizing systems and processes to improve quality of life, personal productivity, and greater efficiency.
There are approximately 3,500 Professional Organizers and Productivity Consultants who are members of the professional association, the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO).
Beginning in 2002, a number of television programs aired on the subject: Life Laundry was followed by others such as, Clean Sweep, Neat, Mission: Organization, Hoarding: Buried Alive, Hoarders, Clean House, and NeatTV, as well as magazines like Real Simple.
NAPO defines Professional Organizer and Productivity Consultant as follows:
- A Professional Organizer supports evaluation, decision-making, and action around objects, space, and data; helping clients achieve desired outcomes regarding function, order, and clarity.
- A Productivity Consultant supports evaluation, decision-making, and action around time, energy, and resources; helping clients achieve desired outcomes regarding goals, effectiveness, and priorities.
Certifications and Credentials
Certified Professional Organizers (CPOs) have proven industry proficiency by demonstrating they possess the body of knowledge and experience essential to professional organizing and productivity consulting. The CPO® credential identifies professional organizers who’ve documented a specific number of paid hours that include transferring organizing skills to the client, and passed the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers (BCPO®) examination. The credential provides the organizing and productivity industry a way to elevate its professional standards.
The National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals' education arm is known as NAPO University. Currently NAPO University offers two Specialist Certificates: Residential Organizing and Workplace Productivity. A third Specialist Certificate in Life Transitions will be launched in early 2018. NAPO University also offers a Business Resources Track to support Professional Organizers and Productivity Consultants in developing and growing their businesses.
Professional Organizers achieve the goal of creating and maintaining organizational systems by teaching others the basic principals of organization. Writer Julie Morgenstern suggests communicating these principals by using the acronym "SPACE", interpreted as: S=Sort, P=Purge, A=Assign a Home, C=Containerize and E=Equalize. The last step ("E") consists in monitoring how the new system that has been created is working, adjusting it if needed, and maintaining it. This principle is applicable to every type of organization.
As one of their main jobs, Professional Organizers help clients reduce excessive clutter (paper, books, clothing, shoes, office supplies, home decor items, etc.) in the home or in the office. Professional Organizers endeavor to help individuals and business owners take control of their surroundings, their time, their paper, and their systems for life. Professional Organizers help redirect paradigms into more useful cross-applications that ensure properly co-sustainable futures for their clients' spaces and processes.
Professional Organizers offer a wide variety of services, from designing a functional closet, to organizing a cross-country move. For homeowners, a Professional Organizer might plan and reorganize the space of a room, improve paper management, or coach in time-management, or goal-setting. In a business setting, Professional Organizers work closely with their clients to increase productivity by stream-lining paper-filing, electronic organization, and employee time-management.
- "National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO)". www.napo.net. Retrieved 2018-01-22.
- "About NAPO". Retrieved 19 December 2014.
- "About NAPO – National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO)". www.napo.net. Retrieved 2018-01-22.
- "Board of Certified Professional Organizers".
- Julie Morgenstern (1 September 2004). Organizing from the Inside Out, second edition: The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life. Henry Holt and Company. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-4299-5536-2.
- Buck, Claudia (February 3, 2013). "Personal Finance: It's time to tame paper tiger". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on 13 May 2013. Retrieved June 3, 2013.
- "Our Profession". Retrieved 14 April 2013.