Tidbits from the National Organizer’s Summit

Seana holding a name tag at the National Organizer's Summit

This past week I had the pleasure of attending the 2023 NAPO Summit. This is the annual conference for professional organizers and productivity experts around the country. The event was full of educational sessions, networking, and the latest bling from our sponsor mDesign. I had the pleasure of speaking on “Foresight and Trends in the Organizing and Productivity Industry.” Needless to say, I was in my element. Since I figure you can’t get too much good information about organizing, I thought I’d share a few tidbits from the National Organizer’s Summit.

First, here are a few of the “fun facts” from my own presentation:

  1. Self-storage is a booming business! There are currently more than 50,000+ self-storage facilities in the US. Approximately 11.1% of households currently rent a self-storage facility. That is an estimated 14.6 million households! (MJ Partners Self-Storage Update, January 2023).
  2. Being kind to our planet is increasingly important. A 2022 Gallup poll found that 44% of Americans identify as caring about the environment “a great deal.” This impacts the way we get organized, as we no longer feel comfortable just tossing items into the landfill. While this is a healthy objective, it can result in “disposal confusion” for how to let go responsibly. Need help figuring it all out? Professional organizers (and our business partners) are on the cutting edge of how to lighten up and stay green at the same time.
  3. We are taking a lot of photos on our phones. In 2022, we took 1.72 trillion worldwide. In 2023, it is estimated we will take 2.3 trillion! For perspective, in 2000, we took 80 billion. Maybe you could benefit from deleting a few photos from your devices? Did you know there are organizers who specialize in photo organizing?
  4. The line between organizing and decorating is getting increasingly blurry. With a vast array of attractive solutions for containing, dividing, and planning, you can have a life that both functions well and looks great.
  5. In some form, remote work is here to stay. In 2022, 26% of US workers were working from home. Even though the worst of the pandemic seems to be behind us, 40% of workers believe that they are more productive working from home. Additionally, remote jobs now make up 15% of work opportunities in the US. Need some extra space for working from home? Check out this “office in a box” from Estonia-based Oöd.

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In addition to leading my own session, I was lucky enough to spend time chatting with many colleagues over the course of the conference. When asked to share some wisdom with my readers, they were more than generous. Here are a few “free tips” for you!

“Have a weekly family meeting to discuss what’s coming up in the week. Do a Sunday “reset” to get everything in order for the week. Establish and use a shared calendar where everyone can see what’s going on.” ~Ellen Delap, Professional-Organizer.com

“Later is not a time. If you put a task off until later, it will never happen.” ~ Diane Quintana, DNQ Solutions

“Stop the incoming. Don’t buy and buy a lot of stuff on sale or stock up on supplies until you’ve gotten your current situation under control.” ~ Angel Cody-Rouget, Major Organizers

“If you’ve only moved once in a number of years, lean into your resources to get things in order. Professional resources have got the ‘Easy’ button.” ~ Darla DeMorrow, HeartWork Organizing

“Have a vision of what you want your space to look like. This helps you stay committed and motivated until you reach your goal.” ~ Janet Schiesl, Basic Organization

“Remember that your things should work hard for you and serve you well.” ~ Sue Duval, The Organized Hive

“Ziploc™ bags are you friend. Use them to contain items so they don’t get jumbled. Bags like these are affordable and can be temporary or permanent. Use them to contain items while you are organizing before buying products to ensure you get the right size containers.” ~ Gayle Goddard, The Clutter Fairy

“If you don’t know where to start, ‘treasure hunt’ what can easily go.” ~ Lynne Poulton, Wholly Organized

“Remember that being a minimalist doesn’t need to be your goal. Organize for whatever YOUR priorities are.” ~ Beth Fuchs, Organized to Perfection

“Sort the daily Mail DAILY. Don’t let mail get comfortable on a surface or in a container as “mail” and relieve yourself of the pressure to process mail, but SORT it quickly, in two minutes or less. Sort bills to pay, statements to file, magazines to read, etc. and free up your number one organizing tool: a clear work surface. Only junk mail should be discarded immediately. Otherwise divide now, conquer later.” ~ Matt Baier, Matt Baier Organizing

“Don’t forget to take a “before” picture when you are getting ready to work on a space. It is motivating to see your progress.” ~ Lisa Dodson, New Season Organizing

“For parents who are struggling with what to keep for their children in terms of memorabilia & artwork, ask yourself 2 questions: (1) What do YOU have from your own childhood? (2) How do YOU feel about it? This helps guide you to what matters most for you individually, and helps give perspective on an often overwhelming task.” ~ Emily Maioco, Next Level Organizing

    “Matching hangers transform a closet the way a coat of paint transforms a room.” ~ Lauren Haas, Clutter Kicker

    “Find the joy in your space. There is joy everywhere.” ~ Kristine Stables, Mermaid Home Organization

    “Here is a tip for when you unpack from a type of trip you take repeatedly. To help “next year you,” as you unpack, snap a photo of the contents of your bags, including the bags used. Markup the photo with the year, location, and dates traveled. This gives you something to refer back to next year!” ~ Sue Duval, The Organized Hive

    Photo credit: Sue Duval, The Organized Hive

    *     *     *

    Attending a conference is a wonderful way to get the creative juices flowing. I know I’m coming away with a lot of great ideas to share with my clients.

    What’s the best tip you’ve recently heard?

    Seana's signature

    18 thoughts on “Tidbits from the National Organizer’s Summit”

    1. Oh my – NAPO again! Was this the first year it was non-virtual since COVID, or was that last year? I was about to give birth last year at this time so I can’t really remember.

      I love the shared calendar/Sunday reset tip from Ellen! We do that!

      1. I think this is the second “live’ conference, but I couldn’t make it last year, so it is the first for me. Ellen has great wisdom. I agree with pretty much any advice she gives. Gold start to the Bowmans for having this under control!

    2. It was wonderful to see you at the NAPO Summit, Seana. I’m looking forward to listening to your session. The statistics you include here are fascinating! I love all the tips you included here. My favorite is from Lisa Dodson about taking a picture before you start organizing a space. This is particularly helpful if the space is very full. Sometimes it can feel like you’ve made little or no progress organizing a small spot. If you have a before picture to compare the space to, it will show the change you’ve made.
      Diane N Quintana recently posted…Reasons To Organize Your Closet With A Professional OrganizerMy Profile

      1. Such a great point, Diane! It can feel like you haven’t made progress, especially if your expectation is that you are going to go in and get everything cleared it in a day. It’s so good to remember, and credit yourself, for progress made. It’s so motivating!

    3. Welcome back from the NAPO conference! I loved seeing the photos everyone posted and all the smiling faces.

      Your session sounds fabulous, and I love the parts you shared. Great stats, and those office mirrored structures are incredible! I would love to have a remote space tucked into our backwoods.

      I love all the tidbits you garnered. But what I loved most was thinking about the many conversations you had with everyone. That’s the true gold of these conferences- the connections, sharing, and conversations. I missed being there.

      1. I missed seeing you, Linda! I agree that the time spent with others is the best part. There is something magical about being “in the flesh” with people you’ve only seen on a screen. It’s sort of like seeing a ghost LOL! I loved getting to connect with my various communities.

        Next year is Long Beach – maybe?

      1. I’m not sure the recordings will be made available this year, Sabrina. Nevertheless, there is always great inspiration out there, right? Nothing like a terrific podcast to jumpstart your thinking. 🙂 Maybe you can come to NERCPO in November? It isn’t far from PA… (I think that is where you are?)

    4. After 19th straight years attending the NAPO conference (and then the virtual one in 2021), it breaks my heart to be missing great presentations like yours. Weighing my health concerts against the camaraderie and education at NAPO is a struggle, but you’ve delighted me with this amazing recap. My thoughts, in no particular order:

      * I love the Office in a Box, but Oöd just makes me think of the Ood in Doctor Who. Still, it’s like the mommy version of the baby pods I blogged about last week. I want one!
      * Your trends have me thinking about how important sustainability will continue to be, as part of our clients’ lives and our practices.
      * I love all of the quotes, but Lynne’s “treasure hunt” for the low-hanging fruit is one of my favorites. And Sue Duval’s “Help Next Year You” is exactly what we need to think about when we work — Present Me must be kind to Future Me!

      Thanks for this great recap!
      Julie Bestry recently posted…What’s in a Name? “Addressing” Organizing and ProductivityMy Profile

      1. I was so thankful for all the tips, and it has already been interesting to see the variety of responses. Different tips are popping up as favorites, which is just terrific. We definitely missed you enthusiastic and fun presence, Julie. However, you are demonstrating how we all have to balance priorities. Next year – Long Beach!

    5. I loved spending time together learning!

      Your session was especially valuable to learn what is next for us as professionals and our industry. We are better prepared to help our clients because of you!

      1. Thank you, Gayle, I was delighted to be introduced by you! I have fond memories of our time serving together with the NAPO New Members!

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