Having trouble sticking to those New Year’s resolutions to become better organized? You are not alone. Although just about everyone seems to understand the benefits of being organized, it’s not always easy to figure out just where to start.

Thankfully, there’s Get Organized Month – a national event sponsored by the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) each January that is designed to highlight the benefits of the association and working with NAPO’s professional organizers.

Many people use the start of a new year to think of ways in which they can improve their lives, and becoming more organized can help save time and money, increase productivity, enhance one’s quality of life, and reduce stress. In fact, in its most recent survey, NAPO found that 96 percent of respondents felt that they could save at least some time each day if they were more organized at home and that 91 percent felt they could be more efficient at work if they were better organized. Overall, 71 percent indicated their quality of life would improve with more organization.

To highlight ways in which people can become more organized at home, work, and even school, NAPO members and chapters throughout the country will be hosting events for Get Organized Month.  Check with your local NAPO chapter to see if there are any Get Organized Month events planned in your area.

Get Organized Month is also a time for NAPO members and chapters to give back to their local communities. Schools, local businesses, and community agencies have all benefited from NAPO members’ help to get organized, streamline processes, and reduce clutter. Every year since I became a NAPO member, I’ve chosen a non-profit organization as the recipient of my Get Organized Month pro bono project. One of my favorite Go Month projects was donating organizing services to my local humane society! 🙂

This year, I have chosen the Junior League of Orange County, Inc. as the recipient of my Get Organized Month pro bono project. The Junior League of Orange County, NY, Inc. is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.  Membership is open to all women over the age of 21. 

I will be volunteering my time and expertise by participating as a speaker in the Junior League’s Winter Leadership Workshop, to take place on January 23rd from 10am-2pm at the Carl P. Onken Conference Center at the BOCES campus, 53 Gibson Road Goshen, NY 10924.  The workshop includes 3 one-hour sessions with a choice of 3 topics per session and a networking lunch.  I will be presenting three sessions: DECIDETM to Be Organized!  An Empowering Process for Change, Goal Setting for Your Career & Your Life, and Stand and Deliver: Dynamic Presentations.

Tickets for the Winter Leadership Workshop are $35 in advance (received by January 20th) and $40 at the door.  The workshop will be a great opportunity to network with other Orange County leaders while strengthening and developing leadership skills. 

If interested in registering for the Winter Leadership Workshop, please contact Krista at kristaburket@yahoo.com, leave a message on the League Line at 845.344.8554, or visit their website at www.jlocny.com.

To locate one of NAPO’s professional organizers in your area, you can use NAPO’s free, online automated directory, searchable by zip code, country, and organizing service at www.napo.net. The site also has a lot of great information about Get Organized Month, so be sure to visit!

Habitat for Humanity 12-12-09I had the opportunity to participate in a very meaningful volunteer project this month with the Young Professionals (YPs) of the Orange County Chamber of Commerce — a Habitat for Humanity project in Newburgh, NY (www.habitatnewburgh.org). I must confess that I’ve always wanted to do a Habitat project so I was thrilled when the YPs decided to take this on as their community service project. And I was not disappointed!

There’s something so satisfying about Habitat’s work; you really get to see the fruits of your labor. Most YPs painted for the day. I hauled materials, loaded up dumpsters, and even got to “organize” in the warehouse a bit! I also had the chance to see their store (aptly named Restore) for the public to purchase used furniture, supplies, and materials.

They require all volunteers to take a mid-morning break and gather in one location for refreshments, food, announcements, and acknowledgements. They recognize groups of volunteers and express their gratitude for all the volunteers’ assistance. They share stories about families that have benefited from Habitat’s assistance, which makes you realize even more the direct impact of the work you are doing.

I may have been sore the next day, but it was a really rewarding experience, and I was very impressed with Habitat. If you are looking for a volunteer project, definitely consider Habitat. I know the YPs plan to volunteer again in 2010, and I very much look forward to it!