Personal Organization Classes and Courses Overview

A personal organizer is a professional who works with clients to de-clutter their home or office. Classes in personal organization are generally taken during a full certificate program.

Essential Information

Although there are no education requirements for personal organizers, the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) does offer certification, and some universities and trade schools have professional organizer certificate programs. Such programs may last as short as one week and sometimes have options to focus on professional organization for residential or business clients. Individual courses in a program may take place in the evening and last just a day.

The coursework generally covers organizational principles, needs assessment and project management for residential and business clients. Students learn strategies for managing time, sorting items, reducing clutter and utilizing space. Some programs include a final hands-on organization project.

Those who meet the NAPO's requirements can pursue certification as a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO). This requires having a high school diploma, agreeing to the CPO ethical code and having at least 1,500 hours of work experience completed throughout the last three years. College education can substitute for a maximum of 250 of these hours.

Overview of Classes

Some courses that might be taken as part of a personal organization certificate program are detailed below.

Principles of Organization

A study of the principles of organization provides students with an introduction to the basics of organizational theory. This course covers topics in time management, sorting, categorizing, removal of excess, space utilization and workflow efficiency. Other skills that may be developed during this course include the types of clients a professional organizer may work with and client behaviors. Learning styles, personalities and chronic disorganization are also topics for discussion.

Needs Assessment

A needs assessment is a review of a client's current organizational structure. After the assessment is made, a personal organizer would then have a conversation about their client's desired results. This course focuses on the reasons to have a needs assessment and how to approach the assessment process. Students learn proper assessment preparation based on client requests, specific communication and presentation techniques, and how to conduct a proper needs assessment.

Project Management

A personal organizer needs to be in charge, managing the organizational process from start to finish. In a project management course, students learn how to work with clients to set up an initial project plan. Students also learn specifics on how to work with budget constraints, additional help or contractors, and how to overcome potential road blocks. Specific skills may be developed in using tools for project coordination, project timelines, project completions and assessment.

Residential Organization

This course is specific to the needs of the professional organizer interested in working with clients who need help with their home. Students in this course will not only learn how to develop a residential client work plan, but also how to sell their services to clients. This course covers strategies for organizing homes that include current trends in financial and personal organization, like color-coding a child's notes from school. Topics in client contracts and negotiating may also be covered.

Business Organization

In a business organization course, students may learn the best strategies for working with entire companies, departments or business professionals. Time is spent on developing an organizational plan, setting goals and following up on an assessment. Personal organizers working for business organizations may not only deal with the physical organization of office files and clutter, but also the organization of team members and departments.

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