APDO Conference 2016
Late last year, I was privileged to join APDO (Association of Professional Declutterers and Organizers UK) as one of their first international members. As a Brit, I felt it would be prudent to connect with my national association and it would be easy to meet the members as I travel back and forth to the UK often. One of the perks of being a member of APDO is that you can attend their yearly Conference. As luck would have it, I had to be in the UK in March, so I booked to attend the conference.
The theme of the conference was “The Power of Letting Go” with an emphasis of helping our clients and ourselves find a long term solution to getting organized.
Day 1 including an inspirational talk from the lovely Colette Robicheau of the Canadian based company, Organize Anything. She spoke not only about being an organizer but also how she has developed and diversified her company. There are so many elements you can add to your business other than being an organizer and this helped inspire me as I continue to grow my business.
One of the highlights of the conference was the Q&A session with a panel of 5 experienced organizers. All of them had been running their business for several years but had varied tales of being an organizer during that time. It was great to hear that I had experienced similar events to them whilst decluttering and organizing and that the majority of their views were the same as mine!
Day 1 also included great tips from Keren Lerner of Top Left Design on creating a “killer website” and some handy tips for becoming social media savvy.
In the afternoon we could choose from two workshops to attend. I attended the workshop on how to run and organize a workshop by Sandy Talarmo from Finland. I have been asked by clients and followers on my social media to start running workshops so this was a great way to learn how to run them successfully. Sandy also provided a great little notebook to use whilst planning the workshops! Thanks Sandy!
At the start of Day 2, we got to hear from The Slow Movement Advocate Carl Honoré on how he realized he needed to start taking it “Slow” and what it involves. This was a brilliant talk and it made me realize how much we need to follow his movement in this region (especially Dubai where I live).
After the APDO board updated us on the past and future of the Association we learnt about home staging from Gwendoline Alderton of GA Interiors. This is something that I love doing as a sideline project, but whilst listening to Gwendoline, I realized that it could be something that could be incorporated as part of the DeCluttr Me business.
The final workshop of the day was with Cherry Rudge who is one of the hoarding experts in the UK. Being the sole official organizing business in the UAE and region, I cannot pass clients to hoarding experts like many organizers do in the UK. I have been chatting to Cherry and others since being a member of APDO to gain some advice on how to help clients but this was a great way to gain more insight and to meet Cherry face to face. Although the workshop does not make me an expert, it gave me a basis to build on with my clients.
Not only did I learn a lot in a space of two days, but also got to meet various organizers who were at different levels in their careers. I have been running DeCluttr Me for over 3 years now and have had to learn how to run this business mostly alone. Meeting the APDO board and members I felt that I was no longer alone and had a network I could connect with when I needed advice or just needed to vent.
Also meeting other organizers, it made me realize that a) my experiences throughout the years are very similar to other organizers, b) I am an expert now in various areas of decluttering and organizing c) no one else has had to declutter Cartier boxes for over an hour.
Juliet Landau-Pope, who is a APDO Board member and Head of Training at APDO, did discuss extending APDO certification training to outside the UK. We will be discussing it further and planning to see if we can extend the training to this side of the world; so watch this space if you are thinking of becoming an organizer or have already started your business but need training.
If you are thinking of becoming a professional organizer I cannot stress how great it is to become a member of APDO or one of the other global associations such as NAPO (the USA association). The support network alone has helped boost my confidence and my business and also added credibility to my company.
Thank you to the APDO Board Members for organizing such a great conference and it was lovely to meet some many of the members during the two days! See you next year!
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© Pictures Shelina Jokhiya /© Ghislaine Salabert-Mougin/Apiam photos (where indicated)