I was fortunate to be able to attend this year’s Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD) Conference in Raleigh, NC. The ICD is a non-profit group for professional organizers and related professionals. Its mission is to benefit people affected by chronic disorganization. The ICD explores, develops and communicates information, organizing techniques and solutions to professional organizers, related professionals, and the public.
The conference topic this year was “Acquiring Minds: How we Think, Act and Feel about Possessions.” The speakers were researchers and professionals in the fields of economics, psychology, sociology, and marketing. The speakers’ focus was on internal and external factors that influence consumer behavior.
We all know that the need for an item is not usually the reason we purchase it. We like the aesthetics, the price was right, you really wanted it, a friend told you it looked good on you, and the list goes on. Marketing experts are no dummies; they cater to the impulsive and those looking for a good deal. Our society does a great job at teaching us how to consume- and to do it often.
An interesting presentation was given by artist Corinne May Botz. Botz researches the perception of space and our emotional connections to architecture and objects. In her fascinating presentation, she showed us her work of people with agoraphobia; people who fear large open spaces and often seclude themselves to their home. Botz was able to work with some people in their homes and photograph items that were important to them and made them feel safe. This perspective on emotional attachment to things was remarkable.
We were fortunate at this year’s conference to have a hoarder speak to us. This was remarkable as many hoarders are ashamed of their behavior and the last thing they would want to do would be to stand up in front of a group of Professional Organizers and show photos of his or her home! This first-hand account was remarkable to hear in conjunction with presentations from a marketing expert and a psychologist, among others.
As a Professional Organizer, I found this information-packed conference a great learning tool to help me better understand my clients. The goal of the Professional Organizer is to help the client live comfortably with their things. Learning more about the causes and challenges that face over consumption is valuable for me in the work I do with my clients.
If you are interested in learning more about the ICD visit their website here.
The photo to the right includes me, Hillary Case, and my colleague Susan Stone during an interactive session.
Photo courtesy of Michele Matties.