People who know my work would say that I’m organized. Working as an event producer, small business owner, Olympic communications director and now, as a consultant and professional speaker, I’ve always delivered my projects in an organized and efficient manner. In my industry, being organized is key to being successful.

But (true confession ahead), organized is not a word I could use to describe my humble home office over the past two years.

Like many consultants, my office is at home — in a lovely suite with big bright windows and a generous amount of well-organized space, but it didn’t always look this way. Everything changed last week when I finally buckled down and brought in the services of a professional organizer.

Flashback: In March 2002, I was running my own event management firm, when I had the opportunity to join the bid team for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games. What an incredible opportunity. I left my home office and didn’t return until September 2010.  For eight years, I was too busy to deal with filing and the “boxing up” of the company.

And over those eight years, I also acquired a lot of Olympic “stuff”: keepsakes, publications, scrapbooks, clothing, gifts, and pins, yes, lots and lots of pins. When I packed up my Olympic office in March 2010, I left with eight bankers’ boxes of “stuff”. Eight. And being the sentimental fool I am, parting with any of it immediately following the Games was out of the question.

So, once the Games were over and I started up Mobilize Strategies, I knew I had three challenges to conquer:

1)    Review, reduce and recycle everything from my pre-Olympic small business.

2)    Review, recycle or repurpose every piece of memorabilia from the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

3)    Create efficient systems, storage and access for Mobilize Strategies, a business that often requires me to “grab and go” with facilitation and presentation tools or event supplies. Things go out organized, but if I’m busy, they don’t always come back that way.

Since I started Mobilize I’ve stayed busy, so the organizing, unpacking and reviewing waited. And waited. And waited. Through the waiting, the clutter, unpacked boxes and lack of systems was a frustrating distraction for me — because I’m an organized person. I continued to be hyper-organized for my clients, but put my own organization on the back burner. What a mistake.

Last week, the ridiculously spatial-relations gifted Hailey Guille* of Perfect Fit Strategies spent two days with me in my office and now it looks amazing. And it functions amazingly, too. I feel more empowered to tackle my project lists, to plan the next year and to continue to maintain my freshly organized ways. And I now have one box of 2010 memorabilia. One.

Hailey showed me effective systems for storage, filing and “grab and go” efficiencies. Now there’s no looking back. My late autumn spring-cleaning has created an office where I’ll enjoy spending productive days as it has increased my enthusiasm for current projects and new initiatives.

My business, my clients and my de-cluttered brain will all benefit from the Great Office Purge of 2012. It’s some of the best money I’ve ever spent. If it’s something you’ve been considering – don’t hesitate. Get ’er done. The commitment will pay you dividends in efficiency and productivity.

*Professional organizer Hailey Guille is the in Sea to Sky area, but does travel at the request of clients. She can be reached at, or check with your local Chamber of Commerce for a professional organizer in your area.

~ Maureen Douglas, Certified Professional Faciltator-IAF

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