DECISIONS–After the Consultation

Now you are at the stage where you have met with the organizer for an initial consultation and need to make some decisions about what to do next! How do you test your readiness and choose who is the best person to help you?

You can link to these Q & A topics in Decisions– After the Consultation and read answers to questions you may have on what to do next. These will help you decide whether or not to proceed with your transformation and schedule a work session.

Motivation “How do I know if I am truly motivated to accomplish this?”
Readiness “How do I set myself up for success?”
Comparing “How do I compare what Jill offers to other organizing companies?”
Family “Why not just get my mother or a friend to help?”
Hiring “How do I decide which organizer to hire?”
Trust “How do I know if the organizer I pick is honest?”
Credentials “What is the difference between the initials CPO® and CPO-CD® ?”
Specialties “Why is it important to understand Chronic Disorganization?”

So, now it’s time to decide – decide if you are ready to go forward and say enough to the stuff and see what it feels like to come home to an amazing space. It’s time to decide to work with family or friends or which DC organizer to hire.

The sanctuary of your dreams awaits! Finally, you can organize your home office and put in closet organizers in your bedroom closet. Maybe, you can even bring in a Feng Shui expert and repaint the walls...

Motivation: “How do I know if I am truly motivated to accomplish this?”

Test your motivation.

What do you really want?...
How badly do you want it?...
What are you willing to do to get it?

Have you made bargains with yourself in the past and then come up with excuses to not fulfill it?

Is there something different now that you believe will help you to not give in and break your private pact with yourself?

The Impact of Chronic Disorganization
Stop a minute. That really wasn’t a fair test. People who struggle with chronic disorganization all their lives are not necessarily lacking motivation.

If you are challenged by some organizing roadblocks, no matter how intensely you desire organization, you face a very difficult battle without professional guidance. Especially if you have ADD/ADHD, your motivation can be profound, but there are a number of confusing steps to follow and loads of choices to make.

If you have tried to do a small section of your home at a time – like a drawer or a cabinet, did you find that you took things out that didn’t belong in it, but then you could not figure out where to put them. There were no dedicated homes designed into a storage system for these stragglers – the audio wire, the picture hanging set, the stray photo, the charming child’s drawing.

Without clear obvious storage spots, these “orphaned” objects couldn’t find their families to settle in on a shelf in a bin somewhere. Then they stayed out on the counter or the top of the chest of drawers. Progress was not made.

With help from Jill-of-all-Trades plus your strong motivation to change, you really can create and live in the home or office you envision. Maybe you want to a home that says “Safety First” to keep your grown children from nagging you about going to assisted living? If you have the willpower and the commitment to move through this process, Jill can help you improve your productivity so you can succeed!

Readiness: “How do I set myself up for success?”

Here are some questions to ask yourself to find out if you are ready to embark on your organizing adventure.

  1. Do you realize that inactions have consequences just the same as actions have consequences?
  2. Do you prefer having peace of mind to a lot of new acquisitions?
  3. Do you picture yourself in your space the way you want it to be and feel that feeling?
  4. Have you re-framed your thinking to be more hopeful?
  5. Have you stopped focusing on what you are giving up and started thinking about what you are getting?

“Life is bristling with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to cultivate one’s garden.” Voltaire, 1769

If you really want to live in your own bed of roses, you need to envision it and share it first.

Clip a magazine photo.
Draw an image.
Write down your future vision.

Tell a family member or friend.
Share your goals and your intention.
Explain to them why it is so important to you.
Ask them to follow up with you on a schedule.

Now you have someone on your team who will check in with you and find out how you are progressing. This is a profound way to deeply commit yourself to fulfill your stated goals.

Just imagine your powerful feelings of personal integrity when you stay on track and share each step toward your goal with your friend.

Are you ready to command authority over your stuff so you can truly treasure what you care about and enjoy?

Are you able to start the momentum away from having, keeping and holding ...towards doing seeing and being?

Do you believe that the results of organizing are a long term investment of time and money and that it will pay you dividends for years to come?

Congratulations, if you are ready to get started and choose to hire Jill, Contact her now. You will enjoy robust, reliable systems that match your personality and access style. Open up that first box and allow your future to unfold before you. In those choices lies your growth and happiness. Feel the jubilation!

“I am not a has been. I am a will be.” Lauren Bacall

But if you are not sure which professional organizer to hire – read on — for some information on consumer comparisons.

Comparing: “How do I choose the least expensive organizer for my budget?"

To do the comparison, let’s pick a sample basic plan with a newer organizer. That would be once weekly sessions for 4 hours each. In this example, these weekly sessions would span a 5-week period.

Jill-of-all-Trades would likely complete the same tasks in just 2 back-to-back days. This weekend marathon of 5-6 hours each day would result in a custom-tailored storage system in less than half the time.

Jill 11 hours x $90 = $990 2 Days
Newbie 20 hours X 70 = $1400 5 Days

So the lower hourly rate organizer actually used up 9 extra hours of your time and cost you an extra $410. You also lost a precious weekend day of leisure for 5 weeks straight!

Your sessions will zip by because Jill has the narrow folding tables, colorful supplies, education, expertise and experience and because you are compressing the work experience into one weekend. This is a much more efficient process because the focus is steady and progress is so apparent.

It’s a long-term investment in your quality of life over the long-term future – and it actually pays real life dividends.

Many media outlets have requested interviews with Jill because of her knowledge as a veteran in the field of organizing.

Family: “Why not just get my mother or a friend to help?"


Would you ask your cousin to replace your toilet?
Is your brother the best person to prepare your taxes?
Would you trust your mother-in-law to remove a computer virus?

Getting help from friends or family can have unpredictable results.

Sometimes they push their tastes and attitudes on you.
Sometimes they rush you, roll their eyes or make disparaging remarks
Sometimes they may throw things away without your being aware of it.

Shaming may be included as part of the free price you pay.

Hiring: “How do I decide which organizer to hire?”

Most potential clients ask about rates first. But hiring a professional organizer is not like hiring a plumber or a painter. You form a relationship with your organizer.

Let’s compare the results that may occur after a series of work sessions. This shows the true value of working with an knowledgeable, credentialed organizer like Jill vs. a part-time, inexperienced organizer.

What if the organizer is learning skills on-the-job while you pay per hour?
What if the layout of the storage components is too difficult to remember or awkward to access?

An educated, efficient veteran organizer like Jill Lawrence, CPO-CD® , can help you reach your goals quicker because she really listens before proposing inventive solutions to custom-design your system. Your ideas and input are always main ingredients in the outcome.

If you learn maintenance processes and practice new habits, the experience will bring you rich rewards for years to come.

Trust: “How do I know if the organizer I choose is honest?”

How do I choose a professional organizer who is right for me?

Consider the key elements of trust and honesty. Although it is unlikely that a professional organizer would be a con artist, you are probably safer if you choose someone who has remained living and working in the same location under the same business name for many years.

To become a member of NAPO, the prospective organizer fills out a form, signs an ethics pledge and sends in the yearly fee. There are no background checks required.

But, the chances of a scam artist maintaining memberships for years in both NAPO and the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) and being involved with a community chamber of commerce are very low. So, one indicator to use is to look for a professional organizer who exhibits ongoing interest in the organizing industry, in a lifetime of learning and in giving back to the community and to fellow organizers.

Other things to look for include Golden Circle (GC) membership from NAPO. GC members have submitted tax records to show proof of paid hours on organizing jobs spanning 5 years in business.

Completion of educational programs, earning of certificates, attendance at conferences, teaching other professional organizers – all exhibit the stability and trustworthiness you would want in a person who is given access to your financial and other personal information.

Jill Lawrence, CPO-CD® , GC is a veteran organizer who has achieved all these accomplishments and more.

Check out the Testimonials page in About Jill. It includes many comments from clients describing their impressions of Jill's ability to help them get organized.

Credentials: “What’s do the certifications CPO® and CPO-CD® mean?”

Professional organizers have 2 main certification programs they may pursue. You may be choosing between two professional organizers who are certified through two different systems. Here’s some information to compare the CPO® certification offered through NAPO (the National Association of Professional Organizers) with the CPO-CD® from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD). (Full disclosure: Jill Lawrence is a CPO-CD® and has not chosen to take the CPO exam.)

CPO® – Certification
In April, 2007, the Board of Certification of Professional Organizers gave out its first CPO® certifications to those who qualified to sit for the exam and then passed the exam. This exam involves 100 multiple-choice questions based on reading a list of books and understanding basic organizing principles. Recipients of the CPO® have met certain requirements including 1,500 hours of paid work experience in the last three years.

A percentage of CPO® graduates are spot-checked through an audit where they must prove their claims of the number of years in business and the number of paid hours performing on-site organizing. If an organizer’s documentation is not complete, they lose the CPO credential.

Jill has been a continuing member of NAPO since 1996 and has served four years on the Board of Directors of the local Washington, DC Metro chapter. She has not applied for this CPO credential through NAPO because she believes that the CPO-CD® certification is more useful and relevant to the work she does.

CPO-CD® – Certification
Five years earlier (2002), the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) started the first educational certification program for organizing professionals. By April of 2004, the ICD had graduated its inaugural group of Certified Professional Organizers in Chronic Disorganization – CPO-CD®. Jill Lawrence was among the first 20 in the United States to attain the CPO-CD® status in April 2005.

In order to receive the CPO-CD® certification, the applicant must pass a 2-hour, in-person oral exam before a peer review panel of coach/organizers. The study for this exam involves between 120-150 hours of intensive reading, research, writing and discussion during one-on-one phone coaching sessions. Assignments included analytical comparisons of concepts and strategies from various books with detailed bibliographies. You can learn more about the requirements for this curriculum by checking out Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) using the keyword “graduates.”

As you might expect, far fewer people have committed themselves to the year and a half of advanced study and homework assignments necessary to earn the CPO-CD® status through the ICD. As of December 2009, after 5 years of providing this CPO-CD® certifying process, only 59 individuals had completed this rigorous certification curriculum.

In comparison, in less than 2 years of operation, 259 individuals were able to take and pass the multiple choice exam to earn the CPO® provided for NAPO members by the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers.

You can find out more about Jill's Background and Credentials in About Jill.

Specialities “Why is it important to understand Chronic Disorganization?”

Jill has advanced training through the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) to create workable systems for clients who are chronically disorganized.

What does this term “chronically disorganized” mean? Some people use terms like collector, packrat, messie or sometimes hoarder. These labeling terms do little to help the person to make changes that may be needed and desired..

Situational vs. Chronic Disorganization
Most people have experienced occasional periods of short-term disorganization due to a situation or a transition. In contrast, chronically disorganized people have a long past history of disorganization.

After repeated self-help attempts without success, chronically disorganized individuals are facing a level of disorganization that undermines their quality of life every day. Without outside assistance, they expect that their disorganization will continue to follow them into their futures.

Factors in Chronic Disorganization
There are many factors underlying chronic disorganization. Among them may be ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, anxiety and depression. The over-a-year-long study for the CPO-CD certification also includes education about learning styles, grief, memory problems and various illnesses and injuries including brain trauma.

Although each client is totally unique, there are some similarities many CD clients share. They tend to be –

  • very curious
  • avid readers
  • have advanced degrees
  • knowledgeable about many topics
  • able to see multitudes of possibilities
  • open-ended creative thinkers
  • warm and social people
  • people who have a hard time saying no people or projects
  • involved in multiple hobbies or volunteer activities
  • overwhelmed with finalizing decisions and completing projects.

Learn more about ADD/ADHD and other factors in chronic disorganization by following the links in Resources.

On the Desire for Change:

“It’s like deciding to go on a diet or to quit alcohol if you are an alcoholic – you have to be open and willing to change – and desire it from deep inside your gut.”
S.L. retired bookkeeper, Olney, Maryland



























Willingness to Change:
“A person has to be willing to embrace peace in their lives. They have to give up a relationship with franticness.
Now, I’m addicted to the bins. All the time I’m saving will pay me back because I’m so much more productive. I’ve gotten so good at it that I was able to help my mother organize her apartment.”

S.L., retired bookkeeper, Olney, Maryland


























































On the Bonus of Free Research:
“You’re like a walking encyclopedia. You’re my font of knowledge and information and so eager and willing to share it. ”
V.C., disabled community organizer, Capitol Hill, Washington, DC

















On Trying Help from Friends:
“I’ve had friends help before but they were throwing so fast I had no clue...They’d say, “You don’t need this.” So for months I’d wonder – did they throw something essential. It would keep haunting me. This is a really good way to put a damper on good friendships.”
B.T., Navy nurse, Bethesda, Maryland




















On Wisdom gained through Experience:
“I think a younger organizer might tell you what’s wrong, but be too harsh or have an attitude that can be hurtful or insulting. You’ve gained wisdom over the years and have a lot more capacity for understanding. It’s easy to talk about things with you.”
M.S., radio producer, Adelphi, Maryland










On Comparing the True Cost of Organizers:
“Jill is an amazing bundle of organizing energy. If you are hampered and frustrated by disorganization, try her. She isn’t cheap but her “miles per gallon” is high.”
M.P., IT management, Glover Park, Washington, DC