Professional development, Aristotle quote

Aristotle said, “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.”

Wow. So true!

I started my organising career in 2006 because I liked organising stuff. I continue to have a career in the industry because I like working with people. I particularly like working with people who have had lifelong challenges around managing their stuff, their homes, and their lives. It is very satisfying to help people learn new skills and routines and create safe, healthy comfortable homes they can feel good about.

The most important things I’ve learned about being a good Professional Organiser were completely unexpected:

  1. The ability to transfer skills is more important than being super organised.
  2. Not everyone is a logical, linear learner.

I’ve watched a lot of organised people come and go from the organising industry because they didn’t like working with disorganised people. Many reported being frustrated because their clients kept messing up their good work!

I found my people when I found the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD). ICD is founded on the understanding that not everyone’s brain works the same way and, brain-based challenges have a lot to do with a client’s ability to be organised and to maintain basic systems. ICD’s mission is to provide education, research, and strategies to benefit people challenged by chronic disorganisation.

Thirteen years of dedicated study, mentoring and hundreds of clients later, I have achieved ICD Master Trainer status, the highest industry accreditation available. The purpose of the Master Trainer certificate is to develop and acknowledge leadership, publication, training, service, and commitment to the field of study and exploration of chronic disorganisation.

In practical terms, my consistent professional development has enabled me to connect with my clients, understand their unique challenges, help them define their goals, and support them to make meaningful change. It has given me the knowledge to trial new techniques and strategies for working with clients who hoard. And, it has given me the confidence to co-develop and present the Hoarding Home Solutions training programs and the Hoarding and Squalor in Housing Learning Program for the Victorian Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.

Most importantly, ongoing professional development has given me the confidence to set my own course and run my business in line with my values, rather than comparing myself to colleagues, or working towards other people’s definitions of success.

I still like organising stuff. But now I understand that the stuff is only a symptom of what is going on in a person’s life. A dedication to ongoing professional development is the key to honing our skills to effectively address what is beneath the stuff. For me, it has definitely been worth the bother.


Wendy Hanes, CPO, CPO-CD, Master TrainerWritten by Wendy Hanes, CPO, CPO-CD, Master Trainer


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