If your new year's resolution is to get your life organized, an unusual Minnesota nonprofit could be of service.

Unbeknown to most messy Minnesotans, there is a National Association of Professional Organizers in our own back yard. In fact, the Minnesota chapter was one of the first in the nation, and is marking its 20th anniversary this year.

What does it say about the state?

"That we need help,'' joked Louise Kurzeka, chapter president.

And that help is often on people's minds in January, she said. Getting organized is usually a top new year's resolution, she said, just behind losing weight and settling finances.

On Saturday, the group is holding a free workshop for people ready to take the leap. It's joining forces with ARC Greater Twin Cities to offer advice for sorting through messes.

It's a win-win situation, said Kurzeka. The public gets free tips from the pros, and ARC gets exposure for its chain of thrift stores that rely on donations. Charity thrift shops, in fact, are some of the chief beneficiaries of the organizing group's work.

But the field of professional organizing has matured far beyond household cleaning, said Kurzeka. It has branched into business work, and launched organizing specialties such as feng shui, ADHD and hoarding.

Kurzeka, the owner of Everything's Together Organizing Services in St. Louis Park, offers these tips for folks ready to clear the decks:

• Don't hold onto things just for sentimental attachment. Take a photo of it. Write memories about it. Or clip a piece of fabric from it. Then toss it.

• Do it now. Take care of things immediately, whether it be mail on the table, groceries in the kitchen or those Christmas presents still under the tree.

• Remember the in-and-out rule. For everything brought into the home or office, get rid of something.

More tips will be offered at the workshop from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday at Arc's Value Village, 10546 France Av. S., Bloomington.

Jean Hopfensperger 612 673 4511