In our efforts to help you get organized we’ve decided to kickoff a regularly occurring series of posts called "Q&A with a Professional Organizer". Deb Lee from Upper Marlboro, MD has been kind enough to be our first featured organizer. Thanks Deb!
Q&A with a Professional Organizer
Deb Lee, CPO – Upper Marlboro, MD – www.dallisonlee.com
1. How long have you been a professional organizer?
Practically all my life! One of my first organizing jobs (self-imposed) was rearranging the apples in my mum’s fruit bowl at the age of 9! Then, I moved on to sorting her mail and redesigning her bedroom (yes, my mum was very patient!). After stints as a special needs teacher and regional manager for corporate child care, I officially started my company, D. Allison Lee Professional Organizers, in February 2006.
2. What inspired you to become a CPO?
I remember watching a popular television program where a professional organizer assisted a client with reorganizing her bathroom countertops and cabinets. I had a “light bulb” moment when I realized that I had always helped friends and family to do the same thing with their homes and offices. For quite some time, I had already been relying on several organizing principles in my positions as a teacher and regional manager. I also trained others on how to manage their time better. It seemed like a great fit, so I grabbed the light bulb by the horns, and the rest is history.
Of course, pursuing certification was a very easy decision to make. Certification not only raises the standards of excellence in our field, but also brings more attention to the valuable services that we provide. That, coupled with my membership in the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and camaraderie with the other awesome organizers at NAPO-WDC, continue to inspire me to help others regain balance in their lives.
3. What is the most common organizing project you’re hired to do?
Many people call me to help them better manage paper. Though we live in a world with vast amounts technology and gadgets to help with almost anything, paper seems to infiltrate our homes, offices, and cars at a rate that’s very difficult to keep up with.
4. What is the most common organizing challenge people have?
Many of my clients find it difficult to donate or throw something away. Sometimes, it’s clothing or something from their childhood. It can be magazines, books, or an item that a loved one has given them. At times, old bills are collected. No matter what the item is, the most common thread among clients seems to be the belief that they will one day have a future need for the things they have kept over the years.
5. If you had to pick ‘your’ biggest organizing challenge, what would it be?
I have so many things I want to do and achieve, sometimes all at once! There really isn’t enough time to do it all, so I have to make sure that I keep my calendar and “to do” list close by to keep myself on track, especially now that I’ve started blogging.
6. What one tip would you give to people who are trying to get organized?
I actually have two: First, do a little bit every day. Even just 5 minutes a day of organizing activities will go a long way to achieving the desired result. Second, don’t print something unless you really must have a paper copy.