The Importance of Authenticity

By Janine Adams

I was talking with another professional organizer, Aimee Krummenacher the other day and we were reflecting on how the catch phrase “fake it ‘til you make it” just doesn’t ring true for us.

We agreed that people respond to authenticity. Acting like you have experience or expertise that you don’t have may seem like a good idea when you’re first starting out. But I think it’s stressful. And it doesn’t really benefit anyone.

When you start out in a new field, it can be hard to be confident and recognize your value when you lack experience. I know I felt that conflict when I first started my organizing business, back in 2005. But I also recognized that I was not at my best when I was not being authentic. So I stopped trying to pretend I had more experience than I had and just went with honesty. At the very beginning, my organizing expertise was derived from my own experience or my experience helping friends. And that’s okay.

Of course, as time went on, I didn’t have to worry about faking experience. And certainly I’ve gained expertise through my education and training as well as experience working with clients.

Even now, sometimes I have to remind myself that it’s best to present myself as I am, not as I think people want me to be. That means:

  • I let people know I’m messy
  • I’m not shy about telling people about my part-time job at the International Institute
  • If I backslide on habits, I admit it
  • I tell folks how much I benefit from the help of other professional organizers
  • I admit that sometimes I don’t always follow my own advice.

I’m honest with clients in person and I feel free to chronicle my foibles here on my blog.

For me, there’s nothing worse then being inauthentic. If I’m presenting myself authentically a potential client may discover that I’m not the best organizer for her (or him). And that’s perfectly okay. It’s much better than their feeling deceived!

Janine Adams is a certified professional organizer and owner of Peace of Mind Organizing. She specializes in working with chronically disorganized client, primarily in their homes, helping them create the order they crave. She blogs regularly at her website and offers concise, downloadable Organizing Guides for purchase. With life coach Shannon Wilkinson, she also offers a 28-day e-course called Declutter Happy Hour.

Advertisements

Routines to Get Your Mojo Back

By Janine Adams

I’m a huge believer in the value of routines. They keep my life running smoothly. But right now, my routines are all messed up. I was away for a week, attending the ICD conference. Then I was home for four days and too busy to focus on my surroundings. Then I left home for a lovely, relaxing weekend in Nashville with friends.

I’m writing this from the hotel in Nashville, anticipating going home. Unfortunately, I left my office in such disarray that it looks like I need the help of a professional organizer. Serious, long-term help. The place is a wreck. I’d love to tackle it as soon as I get home. But I have some urgent items on my to-do list, like finalizing a talk I’m giving in two days. And finishing up a new Organizing Guide (on Bingo!) that I want to offer.

But I know the minute I step into the office it’s going to really bug me. Like many of my clients, I feel myself falling into the trop of feeling like I need to put aside a half day or more to do the job justice. But of course that’s not necessary. If I simply set my timer for 15, or perhaps 30, minutes, I’ll create enough order to give myself peace of mind. It’d be nice to do a thorough sprucing up. But all I need is a modicum of order to get my sanity back. I can always snatch pockets of time to keep working on it throughout the week.

The other key to recapturing and maintaining my sanity will be to get back in the groove of my routines. For me, that means clearing off my desk every night, as well as beating my email back into submission and maintaining inbox zero daily I also need to get back into my morning exercise routine. And daily litter-box and yard-scooping. Those habits are so ingrained that it should be easy to get back into them. And it’s amazing how much I miss them when I’m away (well, maybe not the poop scooping).

If you’re interested in learning more from me about the value of habits and routines, you can sign up for my online workshop at simplify 101, Simplify Your Life with Habits + Routines, which will be offered again in 2012. It’s chock full of advice on creating good habits and routines and letting go of bad ones. The secret sauce of these workshops is the online forums for participants only. I’ll be there to answer questions and provide support. (And the other participants fulfill that role too!) At only $59, I think it’s a real bargain.

Janine Adams is a certified professional organizer and owner of Peace of Mind Organizing. She specializes in working with chronically disorganized client, primarily in their homes, helping them create the order they crave. She blogs regularly at her website and offers concise, downloadable Organizing Guides for purchase. With life coach Shannon Wilkinson, she also offers a 28-day e-course called Declutter Happy Hour.

The Edited Life

By Janine Adams

On the email list for the National Association of Professional Organizers, I saw a link to a TED talk by Graham Hill called Less stuff, more happiness.

In the talk, Hill extolls the virtues of living with less. Hill, who started a project calledLifeEdited.org, makes a compelling argument. His main three guidelines are:

  1. Edit ruthlessly
  2. Think small
  3. Make multifunctional

He suggests that living with less gives you more freedom and time. That makes a lot of sense to me. I see how possessions tie people down and actually prevent them from living the life they want to lead.

Here’s the video. Enjoy!

Janine Adams is a certified professional organizer and owner of Peace of Mind Organizing. She specializes in working with chronically disorganized client, primarily in their homes, helping them create the order they crave. She blogs regularly at her website and offers concise, downloadable Organizing Guides for purchase. With life coach Shannon Wilkinson, she also offers a 28-day e-course called Declutter Happy Hour.

Staying Safe on Craigslist

By Kylie Gilbert

Craigslist is currently one of the most popular sites for selling and buying stuff online and it has many advantages, which we talked about in our last blog post. However, this classified ad site has also opened up possibilities for dangerous situations.  Because Craigslist itself is not involved in any of the transactions, it is up to you to safeguard yourself while using this site either to sell your unwanted stuff or acquire a new treasure.

Keep your Identity Protected

One of the first precautions to take when using Craiglist is to keep your private information private.  Don’t give out your full name, address, or phone number.  By creating a separate email account without your full name attached to it you can help prevent identity theft.  You can also take advantage of the anonymous email address feature Craigslist offers.   Just as you wouldn’t tell a complete stranger on the street your social security number, you should never do this on Craigslist either.  Don’t under any circumstances give out your bank account information or credit card number.

Meeting Someone in Person

Before agreeing to meet someone in person, make sure you bring someone along with you or that there is someone else at home with you before agreeing to let someone come over.   You should also always tell someone about your meeting for added security.  If you are agreeing to meet somewhere besides your home, do it in a public place.  It is also helpful to do a bit of research be fore meeting someone, or to run a criminal record.  If this seems a bit too involved for you, even asking to speak to others who have dealt with them before can go a long way.

Payment

In order to protect yourself from forged checks, it is best to accept money order, cash or a cashier’s check, rather than personal checks.   You should also never agree to wire money when making a Craigslist purchase, because these transfers are not traceable and cannot be cancelled- a sure sign of a scam.  All goods should be sent via mail or a delivery system such as UPS or FedEx, don’t pay extra for the cost of a shipping or escrow service, which can also be a sign of a scam.

By following these basic guidelines and knowing what to look out for, you can protect yourself and navigate Craigslist with ease.

Sources

How to be Safe When Using Craigslist | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2006750_safe-using-craigslist.html#ixzz1O63UIq9J

How to Use Craigslist Safely | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2350839_use-craigslist-safely.html#ixzz1O62dRj00

Associated Content (this site was really comprehensive but it is four years old)

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/431843/how_to_stay_safe_while_using_craigslist.html

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2951044/how_to_use_craigslist_safely_and_efficiently_pg2.html?cat=15

Cracking the Code for Craigslist

By Kylie Gilbert

Along with sites like eBay and Amazon, Craigslist is center stage as a convenient method for selling items online. In addition to providing a huge community of online users, Craigslist is also a cheaper alternative, making this site an important tool for getting rid of all of that junk you no longer want, or buying something new for that matter.  Follow these simple steps to be a Craigslist master in no time.

Pictures and Descriptions:

Just as with eBay or any other method of selling your stuff online, you should include as many high quality pictures and detailed descriptions as possible to make your item stand out and build your credibility.  I don’t want to buy anything without seeing what it looks like, even if you tell me it’s in great shape.  This description should also include dimensions as well, especially when it comes to larger items like furniture.

What to Sell:

When deciding what you actually want to sell, people are most interested in buying items that are hard to come by, or often overpriced.  Bottom line: people want a deal, so if you can make this happen you’re on your way to a sale.  It is worth your while to sell larger more expensive items, rather than smaller items that take just as much time and effort to advertise and sell but don’t bring in as much money.

Finding the Right Price:

Price right, sell quickly.  That’s the name of the game.  Finding the right price is key because some people waste time listing items for way more than their worth, rather than being realistic about it.  This doesn’t mean you need to give it away either (well, unless you know it’s crap).  However, keep in mind the cheaper you go the more offers you will have rolling in.  You may also want to consider offering transportation for an extra fee depending on what it is you’re selling.

It’s important to make these conscious steps to sell your items as quickly as possible so buyers don’t begin to assume that there is something wrong with your item that is keeping others from purchasing it.   Even though you may think your item is worth all the money in the world, shoppers won’t think twice about buying a cheaper alternative if your price is sky high.  Think reducing the price to about 50% of new or less if you’re serious about selling.

Carrying out the sale:

People are flaky.  They might say they want something and change their mind the moment after they hang up with you. They may say they want to come take a look and not show up. That’s why you should make sure they come to pick up the item ASAP so you can complete your transaction with the least amount of hassle as possible.  However, patience is definitely key.

Some good sites to check out that helped inform this post:

http://findouthowtomakemoneyontheinternet.com/how-to-make-a-full-time-paycheck-selling-on-craigslist

http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/eug/957568595.html