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Should You Hire a Professional Organizer?

Updated on January 8, 2020
Susan Caplan McCarthy profile image

Susan is a decluttering coach and a member of NAPO, the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals.

What Is a Professional Organizer?

A professional organizer is someone who can help you clear clutter, chose the best organizing supplies, and create systems for keeping things in order.

An organizer may have some training through a professional association or they may be a naturally organized person who has taught themselves how to help people in a variety of situations.

Some organizers might work alone or work one-on-one with you while others may bring in a team of people to organize multiple areas for you.

An organizer may specialize in working with downsizing seniors, closet organizing for businesswomen, or with families who have young kids. Being clear about what you want help with means you’ll have a better chance at working with the right person.

A professional organizer is non-judgemental, they know it can be difficult for someone to invite a stranger into their home and ask for help.


Get Help in Reaching Your Goals for Your Home

A good organizer isn't just staging your home for an "after" photo, they'll make your home more livable.
A good organizer isn't just staging your home for an "after" photo, they'll make your home more livable. | Source

"Clutter Is Delayed Decisions"

According to Professional Organizer Barbara Hemphill

Change a Pattern of Disorganization

Were you a disorganized kid who became a disorganized adult? Maybe your parents weren’t very organized and so you didn’t see good examples of decluttering and organizing while growing up.

Or, maybe one or both of your parents were so organized that they found it easier to tidy things on their own. Everything at home was organized, but you have no idea how it got that way.

If you've never been organized, you may want to work with someone who specializes in chronic disorganization. These individuals have special training through the Institute for Challenging Disorganization and can teach you how to declutter and organize as well as help you bring order to your home.

Create Systems to Stay Organized

An organizer can help show you how to stay organized. You need to be willing to maintain the order you create together.
An organizer can help show you how to stay organized. You need to be willing to maintain the order you create together. | Source

Get Reorganized After a Life Transition

Maybe you’ve been organized in the past but a move to a new home, a new job, an addition to your family, the loss of a loved one, or an illness (yours or a family member’s), has left you feeling as if everything has gotten away from you and you can’t catch up.

You are situationally disorganized. You know how to organized but other priorities distracted you from your home. Working with a professional organizer could make the process of tidying your home faster and more effective.

Schedule Time to Get the Work Done

If you've struggled to declutter on your own in the past, you probably didn't schedule time to work on specific projects. Setting an appointment with someone keeps you focused on the work.

Identify Your Goals for Yourself and Your Home

An organizer should ask you want you want from your home as opposed to telling you how things should look. They are your partner in creating order.
An organizer should ask you want you want from your home as opposed to telling you how things should look. They are your partner in creating order. | Source

Talk with an Organizer

When you call a professional organizer, they’ll start with a phone conversation to find out what you want organized. They’ll also explain how they work and if they don't, ask!

If you want to work with the organizer so to learn from them, you don't want them arriving at your home and telling you that their team will do the work.

After the initial phone conversation, they’ll probably visit your home for an assessment and give you a rough plan of tasks that need doing and any products they think would help you, all based on the comments you make during their visit.

They may start work that day or schedule a future appointment if you agree to the time and cost that they are suggesting.

Some Organizers Charge You to Do an Assessment

Others work the cost into the job. Some get paid by the hour while others charge for a package that includes the tasks associated with a project. Fees can depend on where you live and how experienced the person is.

Receive Privacy and Respect

Organizers who are members of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO), adhere to a set of ethical guidelines.

For example, they won't talk about the condition of your home with others and if they see you in public they won't go up and talk to you, which could let others know you're working with a professional organizer.

If they show before-and-after photos of your space on social media or their website, they'll ask your permission and avoid disclosing your identity.

Focus on the Desired Results

Know the results you want whether you'll work on your own or get help.
Know the results you want whether you'll work on your own or get help. | Source

Hire the Right Person to Help You

Before you call an organizing professional, know what type of help you're looking for. Do you want help decluttering a garage, your pantry, your home office, or your entire house?

Do you want to learn how to keep your house in order or would you rather the professional do what they think is best?

Are you willing to buy shelves or bins if the organizers suggests them? What is your budget? (And, yes, you can have a range in mind before you talk to them.) Also, do you have a deadline?

If an organizer says they aren't a match for your job, that just means that they may have a specialty or are unavailable during the hours you are seeking help.

And, remember, you are seeking information during your initial phone call. You don't have to hire the first person you speak with. Keep your goals in mind - you live in your home, not the organizer.

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