Monday, May 20, 2013

Collector Care Interviews: Barry Izsak Organizing Expert, Author & Philanthropist

Collector Care Blogs with Barry Izsak
Hello Collectors! I have  a fascination with the pioneers in the industry, and always love to gain knowledge. So when I attended the NAPO LA Organizing awards last January, a certain guy by the name of Barry Izsak caught my eye.  Winner of the philanthropy award, certified organizer and a man.  Who is this guy? I had to learn more about him. I also kept hearing about this scholarship … and how much he has helped the industry.

I initially connected with Barry via social media and we carried our convo over to email where he signs his name with this very cute “{:->====< “. That I had not seen before,  did this certified male philanthropist mega organizing guru have a sense of humor? I hoped so, as we scheduled a time to chat on the phone.
When I called Barry Izsak I was laughing within minutes. I asked him how his day was, and he told me this fabulous story of one of his elderly clients and the exhausting day he had moving her. He was quite comical in his story, and I felt at ease immediately.
Rachel: Barry please tell me more about your Barry Izsak/Glorya Schklair scholarship, and what inspired you to create it?
Barry: I was inspired because I wanted to give those that might not be able to afford it, the opportunity to attend a conference. For me, it was truly a pivotal moment in my decision to become an organizer. When I went to my first conference in 1996 in Santa Clara, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be an organizer. A friend of mine told me if I really wanted to do this with my career, then I had to check conference out. Back then there were probably 200 people at the conference, and NAPO had a membership of probably 800. I went to conference, and  I was really impressed. I decided to become an organizer and the rest is history! The (NOLA NAPO 2013 Conference) was my 18th conference since 1996. I have not missed one since. Secondly, I had left some money in my will for NAPO.  I thought, why don’t I just give it to them now, why wait until I die?  I figured why not create my legacy when I am alive? Where I can actually see what the money does. I added Glorya Schklair who was a member of the NAPO-LA chapter. I met her at my first conference, and she inspired me because of her passion for NAPO and her vision for industry certification. After she died I thought about how much she had meant to me, and what a great way to memorialize her - so I put her name on it as well.

Rachel: Certified male Organizers there are few and far between, is this correct?
Barry: There are a few – Scott Roewer is one. I don’t know how many guys are certified, but you’re right probably not many.
Rachel: I <3 Scott Roewer!
I feel like being a guy in this industry of predominantly women, is actually an advantage because some people would rather work with a guy. Since there aren’t a lot of guys, they don’t have as many choices.

Rachel: Who is your ideal client?
Barry: A senior couple wanting to move that really realizes life is not about the stuff and just wants us to handle their entire move from start to finish. I have been part of NASMM for over five years now. I like working with seniors because that’s the one segment of the population where they really need you. They just don’t have the physical stamina or the emotional where withal to do it all themselves.
Rachel: Do you have any tips for new Professional Organizers?
Barry: People need to realize early that they need to take care of their bodies. Don’t wait before it’s too late!
Rachel: That's for sure, I like to bring a gardening knee pad or a stool if I know I am going to be on the floor decluttering for a while. Bad backs are no help in this business.
Thanks so much for the great interview Barry!
This is Barry's Cat Diva

More fun facts about Barry!
It turns out that Barry is quite close with Rhonda Elliott a local organizer and good friend of mine. She was his conference buddy at his first conference in 1996!
Barry has a maine coon cat named Diva - this is a picture of her that Barry was kind enough to share. She sure looks like a DIVA! That expression is priceless meeeooow!
Barry works when he is not traveling.
Barry Izsak, Certified Professional Organizer®, and founder of ARRANGING IT ALL™ in Austin, Texas, has been helping corporate and residential clients nationwide get organized since 1996. He is the author of Organize Your Garage in No Time (Que, 2005) and co-author of Exploring Productivity (Dawson, 2006).
Having served two consecutive terms as President of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) from 2003-2007, Barry is recognized as an articulate leader, advocate and spokesperson for the professional organizing industry. He has been quoted in hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles including the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post and the New York Times and has been featured on CNN, HLN, FOX, CNBC, ABC, NBC and CBS.

In 2007, Barry was one of the first professional organizers in the world to become a Certified Professional Organizer® (CPO®) and in 2008, he earned the Certified Relocation and Transition Specialist (CRTS) credential. 

Barry is a member of NAPO’s Golden Circle and has received three of the association’s highest honors: President’s Award (2010) and (2002), Service to NAPO Award (2008), as well as the NAPO Founders’ Award (2005). A member of the National Association of Senior Move Managers (NASMM) since 2008, he was inducted into the Circle of Service in 2013.

He has also been recognized several times at the NAPO-Los Angeles Organizing Awards: The Philanthropy Award (2013), Most Innovative Organizer (2007) and his book, Organize Your Garage in No Time, as Best Organizing Book (2007).

Friday, May 17, 2013

Buster The Organizing Woofie On Pet Care - Shed Happens!

Hello world! It's me Buster and once again I have hijacked my Mommy's social media accounts today.
Personally, I find her blogs quite boring. She is always interviewing humans about human stuff. YAWN.
Let's face it, people love animals. Let's talk pets.

It's coming on Summer, and I personally have been shedding this fine Winter coat throughout the house for months. Sometimes, I even lick it all up and cough it up into a little pile (awesome!).

As a pampered older chap, what I love best is to be brushed. Brush me softly, brush me thoroughly, and brush me outside. I bet your pets loved to be brushed as well! If they don't like brushes, run your hands through the fur and try and help them shed.

After brushing your pets, a warm bubble bath (my mommy uses the cheap brand of baby shampoo from the dollar store), a towel dry and a good brush once their fur is dry. This keeps us from getting fur all over your clothing and home. We also smell and look good! We love you and we didn't mean for you to go into work with that clump of hair on the back of your skirt ...

Humans, SHED HAPPENS! It's up to you to make sure we are well taken care of.
Until next time,

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Collector Care Collaborates With Extreme Cleaner Tony Leonardini

Welcome Tony!

Tony Leonardini has recently joined Collector Care. He is our General Manager and Estimator for our Northern California branch and definitely deserves a spot on our blog.

He is my right hand man when it comes to anything having to do with Collector Care. 

He builds custom garage and closet solutions for our clients. He  is a skilled plumber and handyman, and has brought sinks and toilets to use after many years. His dedication to our company is apparent and I could not think of anyone else that I would rather work with on a daily basis. 

Besides his charm and good looks - Tony has a heart of gold and it shows. He honestly wants to help.
Without further ado, I bring to you - Tony Leonardini! 

Rachel: Tony you have quite the extensive background in this field, what made you decide to expand into organizing?
Tony: I decided to enter this field to share my former experiences with peers and clients. I want to teach what I have learned as well as learn what others may be able to teach me.
Rachel: Why did you decide to collaborate with Collector Care?
Tony: I really like the Holistic approach that Collector Care and its employees take with their clients. I knew that I would be a perfect fit for the company.

Rachel: Who do you favor in this field? Why?
Tony: Honestly I favor all the Organizers and extreme cleaners in the field that genuinely like helping people in need. However, to answer your question directly, Cory Chalmers is high on the list, as is Dr. Michael Tompkins.

Rachel: Who is your ideal client?
Tony: My ideal clients are people who are overwhelmed in life either by physical or emotional clutter.
Rachel: When you aren't clearing large estates or cleaning up squalor, what do you do for fun? (Those two are pretty hard to top on the fun factor)
Tony: I enjoy spending my free time with my daughter. I love camping, fishing, and just about anything outdoors. I also like to watch movies and go for motorcycle rides.
Rachel: Thank you for letting me put you on the spot Tony! I am glad you stopped by our Collector Care blog and I hope you become a regular on here. 

To learn more about Tony Leonardini and Collector care please visit our website or call 925-596-8894 and reach Tony directly!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Collector Care Interviews Linda Samuels - Organizer, Author and New President of the Institute for Challenging Disorganization

Hello Collectors! I am very excited to bring you this interview. In some of my other blog posts I have mentioned the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD)  and what a wonderful resource it is for those with clutter and for professionals like myself. If you have not subscribed to ICD yet - I suggest you do! In addition to her work with the ICD, she is a hands on organizer, amazing blogger and author!

Linda Samuels Website
I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Linda Samuels, new ICD prez elect a couple of weeks ago at a convention. She is an absolute ray of sunshine inside and out. Dressed in vibrant ICD colors and a sparkling personality, I was immediately drawn to her. As a fairly new organizer I am always humbled to meet our veterans - and was even more humbled when Linda asked me to join her in an ICD commercial/interview! The ICD is a true collaborative of professionals, that all support each other and Linda Samuels is proof that even the most experienced and savvy organizers are kind and helpful to us "newbies".

So now on to the interview! I hope you enjoy!

Rachel: I love that you still work hands on with clients. What is your favorite thing about working hands on with someone who is chronically disorganized?
Linda:Whether my clients are chronically disorganized or not, what I enjoy most are the wonderful relationships that develop. Particularly with my CD clients, these relationships are long lasting. I feel very lucky to be invited into my clients’ lives and be partners with them as they navigate change and witness the “ah-has.” Since I tend to work with my clients for an extended period, I experience many life transitions with them. I love the variety, the challenges, the connection, and the creative aspect of my work.
Rachel: What was one of your biggest mistakes as a new organizer?
Linda: Perhaps the biggest mistake I made as a new organizer was that I didn’t have clear enough boundaries. I found myself in uncomfortable situations too many times. It took me a while to establish guidelines so that there would be no unwelcome surprises for my clients or myself. I used the difficult situations as learning experiences, but it would have been better if I had anticipated at least some of these issues ahead of time. One of the most valuable classes I took to help me think about these issues was “Boundaries and Ethics”, which was co-created by my colleagues Sheila Delson and Terry Prince for the Institute of Challenging Disorganization (ICD).
Rachel:  The ICD has the most fabulous classes.  Thank you so much for this information! Setting boundaries has been one of my biggest challenges. It's nice to know that there are resources for new organizers that address this, and that even the best have gone through this challenge.

Rachel: What advice do you have for new organizers wanting to work with the chronically disorganized?
Linda: The best advice I can share for any organizers, new or veteran that wants to work with CD clients is to seek out education. Without knowledge and training, organizers run the risk of doing more harm than good. The best source for information, education, and strategies for those that work with the CD population is ICD. This association attracts experts that share their resources, strategies and research about chronic disorganization. The ICD website has info including free fact sheets, teleclasses, publications, and conferences.

Rachel: When you aren't organizing, writing books, speaking or blogging, what do you do for fun?
Linda: I love to have fun! This includes taking Comedy Improv classes, dancing in our living room or at Zydeco gigs, taking walks by the two rivers and in the woods, laughing with my husband and daughters, baking, getting together with family and friends, going on road trips, watching movies, and having adventures with my wonderful husband of almost 30 years.

Rachel: I love your website, and of course read your bio. I wanted to ask you - why a purple front door? What does this mean to you?
Linda: From early on, I always loved the color purple. I enjoy other colors too, but have a special “thing” for purple, which has only intensified as I’ve grown. Embracing all that we’re passionate about whether that’s color, people, or work, is essential to living joyfully. Let the things you love surround you. Let the work you love be part of your days. Let those you love know it. Embrace your passions.
Rachel: My favorite color is purple as well,  it started when I realized that the amythest was my birthstone. I love your doorway idea, what a beautiful way to celeberate this marvelous color. Thank you so much for this interview.

About Linda:

Linda Samuels, CPO-CD® is a compassionate, enthusiastic professional organizer and coach, founder of Oh, So Organized! (1993), author of The Other Side of Organized and blogger on organizing and life balance. She has been featured in The New York Times, Woman’s Day, Bottom Line Personal, Westchester Magazine, Everyday with Rachael Ray, and Connect with Linda on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, blog, or website. Sign up for a free monthly e-newsletter with bonus tips at

Linda’s Contact info:
Phone: 914-271-5673
Twitter:  @LindaSamuels