Waive the white flag on clutter and get help from a professional organizer
You may have that one friend whose home is a shining example of organization and seems to live clutter-free. You keep meaning to get organized, but like that stack of magazines to sort through, getting started is something you avoid. A professional organizer may be one way to nudge you from planning to doing when it comes to decluttering and clearing out your space. Here’s how to find the right organizational specialist for you.
Ask for References
As with most service professionals, references are the best resource for getting recommendations and information about their work, processes, and reliability.
Get three or more references from past customers before hiring a professional organizer—or anyone else who will come into your home to do a job. Check if the professional organizer you are considering for hire is a member of the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO), which offers extensive training and certifications. A professional organizer doesn’t have to be a member to do a good job, but NAPO holds its members to specific standards.
Be Clear About Your Needs
Professional organizers offer many services. Some specialize in specific areas, such as file organizing or garage decluttering, while others perform various tasks.
Some of the services professional organizers offer include:
Home office systems
Family schedule management
Feng shui consulting
Closet organizing systems
Computer organizing and purging
Get proper assistance by specifying which areas of your home need the most organizational attention. An effective organizer will identify steps to take, supplies to purchase, and other items you may need. Then, when the professional organizer comes to your home, an initial consultation will help to narrow down the scope of the work.
Compare Rates and Additional Fees
Rates for professional organizers vary depending on location and experience. Fees can be either project-based or hourly. Hourly rates for professional organizers range from $55 to $100, while some will charge a flat fee for specific jobs.
Additional costs may include:
Organizational tools such as bins and baskets
Custom closet installation
Despite the upfront costs, you’ll likely save money when you avoid buying storage systems that don’t work in your space. You’ll also save time on shopping when you can see two of your favorite shampoo bottles already in your bathroom cabinet.
Some professional organizers can tell you if your unwanted or unused items are worth trying to sell, which could help turn getting organized into a money-making opportunity. For example, if you have collectibles you want to get rid of, your professional organizer can help you find someone to sell them, either on consignment or through online outlets.
After your conversation and consultation, the professional organizer will submit an estimate of the time and expense involved. It’s always a good idea to get at least two estimates for larger jobs, like a complete kitchen reorganization or a garage purge and organization. Get a written contract outlining the cost, scope, and time needed for your project before you make a payment, and keep a list of what has been done and what needs to be completed.
Make Sure You’re Comfortable With Their Work Style
There are as many styles of professional organizing as there are organizers. Some prefer to work independently, while others like to work side by side with the homeowner.
Many people who need an organizer feel embarrassed by the work required and are afraid of being judged. But don’t let those feelings get in the way of hiring an organizer. Professionals have experience with all levels of clutter, disorganization, and mess and will give you honest feedback about what has to happen to create calm out of chaos in your life and home.
Set a Firm Timeline
Getting organized can get a little complicated, both practically and emotionally. For example, for closet organization, clothes need to be sorted into keep, discard, and donate piles. While this sounds straightforward, parting with clothing—no matter how outdated or unwearable—can prove overwhelming for some people.
Paper organization can also feel like a time-consuming and tedious process since you’ll need to discuss each item that needs to be filed, scanned to a computer, or thrown away. A reliable professional organizer will keep you on task and adhere to a strict schedule so you don’t have to spend extra money for more of their time.
Set Yourself Up for Continued Success
Getting organized doesn’t have to be a painful process, but it does need to be a continuous one. Effective professional organizers will not only get your house decluttered and put your drawers, closets, kitchen pantry, or workspace in order, but they will also teach you the steps to take to keep them that way.