How to Never Lose Your Keys Again

I should clean up my garage
I should tidy up my room
How many things do I have?
I don’t know where to start
How many clothes!
I cannot find those important papers
Where’s my passport?

It’s such a mess!

Do these thoughts sound in any way familiar?

Well, during one of my Blablacar rides, I discovered that such thing as a dedicated professional exists that is specialised in doing exactly this.

Alessandro is a Professional Organiser. He tells me about the passion that became his job. And about the inspiring road that took him there: he first studied Cultural and Art management and Interior Design, then worked as events organiser and eventually became a Professional Organizer.

I had never heard about anything similar. Surprised as I was, I couldn’t resist and asked him some questions to satisfy my curiosity. Moreover, once I had conquered his trust, I was also able to get some useful tips myself.

Alessandro, you are a “Professional organiser.” What does it mean exactly?

I help people to improve their quality of life, suggesting and teaching them organisational systems and methods that are applied to life-style and space organisation, both at home and at work. In other words: I make their life easier and less stressed!

—Now you probably understand why Alesandro’s story caught my interest so strongly.

How does it work?

When someone is interested in my services, we meet and he/she will tell me about their problems. These can be very different, such as: anxiety caused by objects occupying a large part of the house (or even occupying the whole house); bad time management at home or at work; the need to know how to get organised when moving to another house, archive or warehouse; or how to optimise spaces. In a nutshell: all those organisational situations that may cause stress.

Firstly, I do an inspection of the space, define an operative strategy and, together with the client, set out a path to make it reality. To me, the path is the core of the work to be done. I’m not a moving company, nor do I empty basements. Instead, I work together with the client to solve a problem and help him/her adopt a mental attitude that will allow him/her to be autonomous from an organisation point of view. So, you could even say I work against my own interests!

What is the weirdest situation you had to manage so far?

As a Professional Organizer, and being affiliated to the APOI (Italian Association ofProfessional Organisers) I undersigned a strict ethical code that forbids me to tell about any of my cases. My clients open up their house to me: confidentiality is mandatory! This is also what I like so much about my job: every person has a different and particular relationship to the objects he/she possesses. This relationship needs to be respected. Reading about a client’s situation in an interview would not be professional.

Nonetheless, I can tell you some interesting statistical data, that I am sure will surprise you. For example:

  • Every year, each of us spends approximately 30 hours looking for their keys.
  • Only 5% of the population is naturally organised.
  • We are wearing just 20% of all the clothes we have in our closet!

Now it’s time to get to some practical tips. Do you have any suggestions on how to organise our office’s desks efficiently?

Absolutely. First of all, follow the ‘distance rule’. This means that the space directly in front of you should be used to put the fundamental things you need to work (computer, phone, calendar or planner). Then, at close distance (for example, in the closest drawer) frequently used stationary items. At arm’s length you put objects that you use often. These may vary for each project. And so on.

As for open dossiers: a functional desk is one in which work flows and does not pile up! So, keep two little boxes on your desk: use one to collect work that is “waiting-to-be-process,” the other for “work in progress.” All the remaining dossiers: in the archive or in the garbage!

Do you have any suggestions for organising digital archives as well?

Always, always, back up all of your data! It may sound obvious, but eventually, the question is not “if” a computer gets damaged, but “when”! 

An organised person prevents and protect her/himself by taking the needed precautions. You can backup your computer once a week: it takes just a few minutes, but avoids huge disasters.

How did you come up with such an original job?

Actually, it was a coincidence. It was in a period of my life when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do “when I grow up.” One day, I saw an American TV show about a Professional Organizer.

I was immediately fascinated. That was the perfect job for me. That was exactly what I liked to do. I instantly started to do some online research, trying to learn as much as possible. Most of the material I found on the subject came from the US, where this field is considerably more common and analysed, compared to us.

Quickly, I found out about other pioneering Italian professional organisers. APOI was born and nowadays there is an increasing attention, both from media and from the people that feel the need for our support.