Megan Spears is not a naturally organized person.
“I sense that people think it’s easy for me (to be organized) or that I don’t struggle or that my house must be completely organized,” she said.
But what she does have is a knack for organization, setting up systems and completing projects. It’s what led her to start her Hood River-based professional organization business, Disorder 2 Order, in 2004.
“I see the rewards. I see the benefits of setting up the right systems to process things. It makes such a huge difference,” said Spears, a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO). “You can draw disorganization to the actual point when it started, some life changing event,” she added, be it a move, a marriage or divorce, the birth of a child, a change in careers or a death.
There is no typical day in her field because there are no typical clients — everyone has different challenges, which requires different approaches.
New year, new series
With Megan Spears we begin “Saturday Spotlight,” our new weekly feature, succeeding Slice of Life. “Spotlight” will focus on how local people spend their days. Do you have a person in mind for Spotlight? Send ideas to Trisha Walker at twalker@hoodriver....
But what usually happens is this: A client will call her with a particular challenge, and the two will talk it over until a solution is found. Spears’ role is to “identify what needs to be done, create an action plan — a process of sorts, usually depending on the type of client — business client or residential client, they require different things.”
Then, she brings “everything with me to a work session, so clients don’t have to worry about having anything that they have to bring other than themselves to the session,” such as file folders or storage boxes, which she prepares before the appointment. Once onsite, she “assesses the situation. A lot of times, I don’t see a space beforehand — all the information I gather is based on the phone call. I’ve been doing this for ten years, so I have a pretty good feel for what I’m getting myself into before getting onsite,” she said.
And then it’s time to jump in. In addition to bringing supplies and expertise, she serves as a “support system and cheerleader to get the project completed,” Spears said. “That’s where a lot of people get stuck. They feel like they can tackle (a project) today, then get overwhelmed by too many decisions and stop. I come in, and, based on the assessment, we set goals, we get that done.”
And “99.9 percent” of the time, she and her clients are successful in completing the job, however long it might take.
“It’s a fabulous feeling for clients because they got something done that seemed daunting or overwhelming to completion,” Spears said.
Paper seems to be the biggest challenge people face, whether it’s in a business or home setting. And no matter what project she’s working on, “there’s always a point of paper that comes into play,” she said. But it’s not just paper clutter she deals with. “Every now and again I get to work on a pantry — that’s really fun — or somebody’s closet. Or spare bedrooms are a common one, too.” She’s even helped organize photographs on computers.
Organization is important because the more efficiently a space is organized, the easier time management becomes.
“People are being asked to do so much more with so much less. You have to be efficient and productive, and being organized is a big piece of that,” she said.
Her journey to professional organizing came gradually. Before the birth of her children, she worked in administrative management “which really was a great foundation as an organizer,” she said. Then, as a stay at home mom with two young children (now ages 10 and 12), she started “helping a lot of people” with their clutter.
“In the transition as a stay at home mom, I found myself being asked to help out friends (with organizational projects), which really was the catalyst to starting my business.
“…It was one of those things,” she said. “It’s not easy for me — it’s just as hard for me as anyone else — it’s just that I recognize the benefits a little more clearly.”
The switch from helping friends to founding Disorder 2 Order came after someone “introduced me to the industry,” she said. She joined the Oregon CPO chapter, located in Portland (NAPO-Oregon), and then the national association (NAPO). To receive certification, she had to meet a specific level of hours working with clients — 1,500 within three years — and then had to sit for an exam.
Becoming a professional CPO was an “amazing feeling. This is something I can do really well, and I want to share that with my clients,” Spears said.
Another benefit? “The thing I like best about it is that it’s a career that I can fit into my family,” she said. “I don’t have to report to anyone. I decide when I work, what my hours need to be. I can fit that around my family.”
To contact Spears at Disorder 2 Order, call 503-318-2912 or email email@example.com.