Search This Blog

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Org Org

There is a group called the National Association of Professional Organizers, and as soon as I find the link to their website buried somewhere in my 3218 ungrouped browser bookmarks, I’ll tell you more about it.

(2 ½ hours later)…

Ah, there it is. So NAPO offers a vast curriculum of pricey webinars to those who are interested in becoming a PO, a Professional Organizer. Here’s my favorite class, obviously a graduate level course:

Title: Chronic Disorganization: Understanding Emotional Challenges with the CD Client
Course #: PO-403W
This course will…help generalist organizers decide whether to pursue working with the CD population and, if so, learn how to further their education in that direction.
Cost: $129 for members/$229 for non-members

I wasn’t aware that CD was a human condition. Is this the result of a birth injury or premature birth, like cerebral palsy, or is it more of a congenital condition, like sickle cell disease? Are there support groups for the Chronically Disorganized population, or maybe a 12 step group?

Hi, I’m Bill and chronically disorganized (“Hi, Bill!”). It’s been three weeks since I left the cap off the toothpaste and a month since I left my underpants on the bedroom floor (raucous applause). Two days ago I bought a litter bag for my car, and this morning after I came back from a meeting, I got out of my car and got to the front door before I remembered I had forgotten to take the littler bag out of the car and empty it in the big can in the alley. I ran back to the car and grabbed the bag, and my heart was racing. I thought I might black out. Oh, God, this is so hard… Anyway, it’s been six weeks since I left a dirty dish in the sink, and my spice rack has been alphabetized for three months now. And next week marks the year anniversary when I last found a teaspoon mixed in with the soup spoons. I know all this because I keep a list. You know, the other day a friend of mine called me anal retentive, and I said, “But at least I’m organized,” but then I started wondering—and I’ve talked to my sponsor about this—if maybe I should check into anal rehab.”

I looked over NAPO’s website and was a little unsure if this was the right organization for me. On the surface, they look like they’re really organized. After all, they have save-the-dates for their 2015 AND their 2016 annual conferences, and we’re just halfway through 2014. On the other hand, there are dead links on their website that take you a place that says this: “Server Error, 404 File or directory not found.”

I’m thinking that instead of offering course # PO-302W, Downsizing with Senior Clients, they should instead create course # PO-001, Organizing Your Website So That Visitors Won’t Think Your Association Is A Sham.

And when you stop and think about it, what’s involved with Downsizing a Senior Client, other than walking in and saying, “You’re going to a nursing home. Throw out all your shit except for your clothes”?

What’s interesting is NAPO is not the only company that mentors you on how to become a professional organizer. You can get your PO certification at after passing the $625 test. And there’s The Institute for Challenging Disorganization, which seems to do a lot of the same things that NAPO does, but sadly they only have a link to their 2014 annual conference. Get with it, ICD. Failing to plan is planning to fail! You’d think these groups would be a little more, uh, organized, and join together under one corporate umbrella so that disorganized people wouldn’t have to weed through a long list of organization organizations to choose the one that would show them how to pick out the right shoe racks.

Now, sure, I’d like to be more organized. I would love to not have to tear the house apart every morning to find my spectacles, but I don’t think hiring a professional organizer is going to fix that, unless I hire a live-in PO. And good luck finding one who would get up at 5:30 every morning to help me find my glasses. I have a hunch it’s in the Professional Organizer Bylaws that they all go to bed at 10 PM and get up at 6 AM and smooth out the bedspread, because they don’t unmake the bed when they sleep, because that just wouldn’t look structured.

Frankly, I don’t want to be that organized. I think it’s kind of tacky to whip out the label maker and designate drawers for wash cloths and toenail clippers. People who are organized with military precision become the butt of a lot of jokes. I used to work with a woman who placed precisely pre-sharpened pencils in her desk drawer, aligned by size, and everything on her desk had to be either parallel or perpendicular. There was no room for any other dissenting angles. People would always sneak into her office and put the long pencil next to the short pencil or offset her Post-It Note dispenser by a few degrees and then snicker from afar when she came back in her office and squared things up again.

I think Professional Organizers are part of that weird elite group of oddballs that celebrities hire, like personal shoppers, life coaches, emotional support dogs, post-cosmetic-surgery nurses, and ATM installers who put money machines in their kitchens. I read that Oprah has a staff member whose title is “Bra Handler” and Justin Bieber has someone on staff whose position is “Pizza and Drink Holder.” Try finding those job descriptions on

Many years ago I worked for a Fortune 500 company. They paid an enormous amount of money to hire consultants from Daytimer to get us better organized. Some well-appointed guy came in and gave us very expensive, gigantic organizer books with tabbed dividers for addresses, appointments, and to-do lists and all sorts of other information, I suppose, but I wasn’t awake for the entire presentation. During one of my conscious moments, he told us we should all leave at the end of the day with nothing on our desks. (I did that a total of one day.) Everything we needed, he said, should be filed nicely away in our pricey Daytimers. He then set us free with our posh books and warned us that he would be back in a month to check our progress. Fast forward exactly four weeks later to the minute, and we were again summoned to a Daytimer meeting, and everyone filed into the conference room with their slick books filled with things that are supposed to be important to people who take business seriously.

And then there was me. The boy who had somehow lost his organizer.

(Photo credit:

Creative Commons License by Bill Wiley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

No comments:

Post a Comment