March 17, 2021

The story of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) starts small. 

In 1983, a group of five women who were professional organizers started to informally meet in Los Angeles and gave the meetings a name: the Association of Professional Organizers (APO). Two years later, in 1985, the association changed its name to NAPO and formalized by electing officers who were later named the association’s founding members: Beverly Clower, Stephanie Culp, Ann Gambrell, Maxine Ordesky, and Jeanie Shorr. 

As NAPO’s growth accelerated, the association brought its community of professional organizers together at its first annual conference in 1986.

“NAPO continued to grow and grow until they started having an annual conference and all the other elements that are the hallmarks of a professional organization today,” said Jennifer Pastore Monroy, CAE, NAPO executive director. “They pulled it off all together on their own.” 

NAPO Offerings for Members and Clients

Over the years, NAPO has created a tight-knit community that supports members through a suite of resources that they can access to improve their skills, find a local chapter, and more. NAPO currently has over 30 professional chapters that help members connect with other professionals through NAPO’s online community for advice, resources, and industry insights.

Many NAPO chapters and members host events throughout the country to educate the public at large on different ways to be more organized and productive. Each January, NAPO sponsors its Get Organized & Be Productive (GO) Month. GO Months celebrates NAPO members and their tireless work to improve the lives of their clients.

Improving Client’s Spaces and General Wellbeing

For many clients, NAPO members are there at critical life junctures in a variety of ways. “Many times, they'll be working with people when they're going through a major life transition,” Monroy said. “Or sometimes they'll work with somebody when they're in their home and then they realize they need those services in their business.”

When a NAPO member enters a client’s space, they can tell that the client is overloaded with not only stuff, but with other situations in their life.

“A lot of times we start our initial consultation and our clients are telling us about their struggles and what they're overwhelmed by and it could be in their home or in their office, whatever it is,” said Amy Tokos, NAPO president.

One client was so overwhelmed with all of the areas of responsibility he had with his job that he called in Tokos to help bring order to the chaos. Tokos worked with him on his calendar, time management, focus management, time blocking, and improving communication with his team. Doing this allowed his team to know what he was doing at a specific time and when he was focusing and working on certain tasks. “It's just been a game changer for him,” Tokos said. “And he's had great success because we implemented those effective strategies.”

Another client asked Tokos to help organize her home and closest. The client felt paralyzed because her closets and the rest of her home were full. Tokos laid out a plan and maintained the processes to empower the client. They worked hard for about six months, after which point Tokos started working with the client less frequently. Three years later, the two meet to have lunch just to catch up. “We had transferred the skills, so she understood what she was doing,” Tokos said. “She also felt empowered to say no to things, to say yes to things, and align her time with her priorities.”

Tokos says what really makes NAPO special is that the professional organizers and productivity consultants have a special skill where they're able to connect with people, but also empower them to make changes in their lives.

“Many times, there's tears, there's frustration, sometimes there's even relationship issues,” Tokos said. “By the time we're done, we’re at least moving them forward. We're not going to solve all their life problems, but we can help them with some things that can make life a little bit easier.”