Takeaways From My First Organizing Conference | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Takeaways From My First Organizing Conference

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Takeaways From My First Organizing Conference

Have you ever felt like you met a group of "kindred spirits"?  People who shared your passion for something?  Who thought and felt the same as you?

I felt that way when I went to the Professional Organizers in Canada national conference last month.  Every conversation was with someone who loved organizing as much as I do.  Who understood the freedom of purging, and the exhilaration of seeing an organized closet or garage.

And it was as if every keynote speaker and every workshop leader was speaking directly to me.  The tools and resources they shared are ones I can apply to my organizing business and this blog {think of this post as a preview to some of the topics I'll be blogging about in the new year!}.

I know some of you have been to blogging conferences and know what I'm talking about.  Join me today while I share some of what I experienced and learned {and check out some fun pictures}!

First of all, the speakers were amazing.  Here are a few of the sessions I attended.

  • Using Digital Filing Systems: Organized Paper and Digital Information at Your Fingertips by Bonnie Joy Dewkett and Joshua Zerkel.  I learned a lot of useful tools for reducing paper in the home.  "Going paperless" is nearly impossible since we don't control all the paper that enters our houses, but I'm working towards eliminating the paper I can control and setting up electronic filing systems to manage it all.  Useful info in this session for me personally, as well as for clients and readers who are overwhelmed by paper.  Stay tuned in the new year for tips on reducing paper in your home!

  • Marketing: How to Gently Attract Loads of Customers by Chala Dincoy.  The key message from this session was about finding your "niche" and thriving in it.  Also some tips on how to not market like a greasy used-car salesperson.  And the importance of personal branding.  I still have a lot to learn in this area, but this session confirmed that I love helping people who are overwhelmed to experience the freedom of getting and staying organized.  And purple is part of my brand :)

  • The Time-Revenue Ratio for Your Business - What's Your Success Formula? by Deanne Kelleher.  Time management is a tough one for most people.  And as a professional organizer and as a blogger, a lot of time is spent "behind the scenes" and sometimes that gets unbalanced.  It's hard to juggle all the different hats we wear and ensure we're doing the best we can in each role we take on.  I'm learning to schedule my time better so I can balance family, business, and blog.  I'll be sharing time-management tips in the new year too. 

There was also a panel of experts answering questions and sharing experiences.


Besides all the learning opportunities though, there were also networking activities and events.  One of my favourite events was the Expo.  There were lots of great organizing brands represented!  Here are a few I spent a lot of time with :)



There were lots of giveaways from the vendors.  Sadly I didn't win anything but several of my colleagues did.  I had a great time checking out all the organizing products at the Expo!

Speaking of organizing products, the highlight for most attendees, including me, was the Rubbermaid Hospitality Party!

Rubbermaid set up TONS of their organizing products for everyone to see and then gave away all of them throughout the evening!  There was a draw every few minutes for food storage containers, all access bins, labelers, and storage boxes.  I was having so much fun I forgot to take more pictures, but here are a few.

Love these all access bins!

Party-goers :)

And... a chocolate fountain!!  Rubbermaid knows how to throw a great party :)

On the last day of the conference we all participated in the POC Annual General Meeting.  It was a good opportunity to learn more about this organization, its history, leadership, and the vision for the future.

The conference closed off with an awards dinner.  Here's my table.

Awards were presented to silver and gold leaf recipients as well as outstanding organizers.  It was great to see people who have been dedicated to this profession for the long haul and who give of themselves to help the community. 

And THIS was one of the yummiest desserts ever!

What conference would be complete without a photo booth?

Throughout the conference I accumulated a bunch of free items.  Several pens, note pads, labels and containers.  Plus a bunch of catalogs, flyers, postcards, and coupons.  And of course, a lot of business cards. 

I learned a lot from the sessions that I will apply both to my organizing business and on this blog.  It was a nice mix of organizing content and business material.

But one of the best things about conferences is the opportunity to network and build relationships with other attendees.  I went into this conference having only been a member of POC for a couple months, so while I was happy to meet people from all over the country, I was especially glad to get to know several local organizers. 

I loved this conference.  I came home pumped up every night, babbling to my hubby about everything that happened that day and looking forward to going back again the next day.  By the end of the 3 days, I felt like I'd known many of these people for a long time.  Kindred organizing spirits :)

Here's the whole gang!  I'm in there somewhere at the back :)

Most photos in this post courtesy of Martine Frigon

What conferences have you attended?  Have you ever met a group of people who shared your passions? 

Happy organizing!

I link up at these great parties - Check them out!