The ability to notice details and the willingness to creatively tweak little things are crucial to achieving the perfect space in a project. Organizing takes skill, patience, strategy, time, and attention to detail. Those are a Professional Organizer’s tools of the trade. However, Organizers are exceptional at developing systems that take organizing to its next level. Systems usually increase clients’ efficiency in utilizing their space.
Consider the kitchen cabinet and notice all details involved in the process resulting in an organized, functional space. However, organizing this cabinet also resulted in two efficient systems.
Systems Take Organizing To The Next Level
The Kitchen Cabinet Situation
this cabinet had lots of cookbooks and recipe binders
it also had a myriad of serving items
books stacked sideways because some did not fit the space
recipe clippings were sticking out of books and binders
nothing was labeled or had hand-written post-it notes
recipes were hard to remember, identify, or use
meals were boring, repetitive, and unhealthy
medicine and supplement bottles occupied the lower shelf of this cabinet
taking meds and supplements was inconsistent because of the sorting and opening of bottles required, and it was hard to remember who took what and when
The kitchen cabinet needed some tweaking to become a functional cabinet with valuable, organized content.
removed all cabinet contents
sorted through contents and removed what was no longer wanted or needed
pills presorted in bags according to dosage/time of intake for each person
pill bags divided into baskets for each household member
system benefit: a streamlined process where everyone knows where, what, when, and how when getting their meds
The development of systems improves efficiency in the use of your space. Therefore, designing systems that increase productivity and make life easier is one of the most valuable benefits you can get from working with a Professional Organizer.
If you want to experience some of “Organizing magic,” let’s talk! We’d love to hear about you and see how we can help.
Here’s my take on the greatest pitfall in home management.
That laundry basket seems to travel around the house and never gets emptied. Do you know that basket? Families don’t have time to finish the laundry. It looks like cleaning up the kitchen is another problem for most people.
Laundry, paper, and kitchen are the nemeses of so many! I repeatedly hear an argument: “there is not enough time to keep the house in order.” The problem here is probably a lack of systems and time management skills.
Have You Ever Had a Managerial Role?
I have identified a common pitfall among household managers — not acting as managers at home. Most people do not apply in their homes the skill set that makes them successful at work. But why not?
If you work outside the house, you have managed to keep your job, staying on top of things. Regardless of the type of work you do, there are out-of-the-ordinary projects and day-to-day ones. And those routine tasks most likely comprise the backbone of your job. Whether you supervise those tasks or execute them, the responsibility is yours. If you stopped ensuring those processes were thoroughly performed, things would go south rapidly.
Why can’t we all plan and execute like true managers at home? One might think it is because home is where we rest and do not want to think of chores and duties.
Here’s the Irony
But the irony here is that the more you feel that way, the more chaotic your home environment will be and the less you can rest and relax.
Looking for the million things you can’t find in the home, buying duplicates, wasting time, effort, and money, forgetting essential family commitments, or not having a dining room table available to gather around.
Each time we neglect our home duties, we add a new layer of chaos to our most intimate environment and the corresponding energetic shift that such chaos brings. Are you sure your home is where you want to rest and forget about the stress of your job?
What Get Scheduled, Gets Done
Running the home like a well-oiled machine requires planning what needs to happen. Remember that what gets scheduled gets done.
You would not leave it to chance or rely on “when you have time” to make client appointments at work or to write that report for the boss, right? So then, why not schedule house chores and involve every household member? This way, everyone contributes to the home and learns to execute all these domestic chores. This knowledge is essential. Your kids don’t want to go to college to realize they don’t even know how to boil an egg.
Then Schedule It!
Much of our household stress would decrease if we transferred some of the management skills we proudly displayed at work to the home and startedplanningand schedulingthe many menial household tasks.
Planning allows us to control when and how these things happen, while scheduling means that those chores will stop interfering with our lives — they will be part of it.
Media, like DVDs, cassettes, videos, CDs, and books, insidiously clutter our homes. These items sneak into our space without us even knowing why. We feel like organizing media today. Want to join us? Keep reading!
These items are often invisible until they overrun our environment or until they gang up with other types of clutter to take us down. Do you know that feeling?
Let’s Do This!
Let’s strike back and end this battle now. Follow these simple steps and suggestions.
Go through your home and gather every book, CD, DVD, video, and cassette (if you have any of the last two?). Do not get distracted by papers, clothes, Knick knacks, or other stuff around. You need to stay hyper-focused if you want to finish this process.
Divide this large media group into five categories: CDs, DVDs, videos, cassettes, books.
3. Cassettes (Tapes)
Let’s deal with those cassettes first, if you have any.
Do you have the equipment to listen to these? And would you listen to them — ever? (Honestly!). What are their contents? Are the contents something you can easily find online (like music)? Or is the material recorded conferences, for example? If so, could you find the same content online? If the contents of the cassettes are something personal you recorded and need to keep, find a service that can transfer that tape contents into digital. A digital format preserves the material and also makes it more accessible. Then you can let go of both the tapes and the tape player. Off with clutter!!!
If you MUST keep one or two tapes in the actual cassette format for utmost sentimental reasons, that item should go in your “warm & fuzzy” box. What is that box? This box is a special box everyone should have in their closet or under the bed, with very few carefully selected items that make you laugh or cry throughout your entire life. Of course, not everything can or should go in this box. You have to be super selective!
Place all cassettes you decide to digitize in a box or bin marked “to digitize.” Then, get your calendar (yes, right now) and schedule a date when you will do any research needed about this service and when you will mail this material to be digitized.
4. VHS anyone?
Everything said in point number 3 applies to any VHS video in your home.
Answer the same questions and take the same actions described for cassettes with your videos.
Photo Home Decor Obsession
5. Books’ turn!
Check all those books collected through the home and see if anything should go away through donation, recycling, or selling. If you have a decent number of books to let go of, see if you can sell them at Half-Priced Books? They also buy movies and music so, keep that in mind.
Take the books you will keep to that home area where other books live. If you do not have a central place for the books in your home, maybe it is time to assign a place?
Don’t limit your ideas for lack of space or bookcases. There is an infinite number of ways to create bright displays for your books. In addition, books can make a design statement! Just check Pinterest, and you will see. Smashing idea; Points for Design!
6. A word about vinyl
Vinyl has come back- no doubt about it. But being a vintage item, vinyl makes a statement on its own. Because we tend to listen to records on special moments and need vintage equipment to play them, these items tend to behave more appropriately. They don’t run away like their CDs and DVDs relatives. There is not much we need to say about vinyl. But if you have some records and their player but have not given these items the standing they crave, you are missing all the fun. Consider a place of honor to display and listen to your Vinyl music. It is unlikely that you have records you no longer want out of their jackets or in random home areas. But if you do, I am simply out of words. Let’s leave it at that.
7. How about DVDs and CDs?
Make a space in the living room or a home office for all the DVDs you keep. First, you will need to pair DVD and CD cases with their discs! For mysterious reasons, half of the cases we find are empty. That probably tells us their corresponding disks might be broken or scratched somewhere or under some gooey, unknown blob. Chances are those disks are no longer suitable to keep, and you can feel okay with trashing them. But when you let them go, make sure you discard their case as well.
Other DVDs and CDs will be in good condition. So, after matching them with their cases, you can decide to keep or donate them.
The DVDs and CDs you keep should probably be all together in a single place in the home. Typically, the optimal location for these is the living room.
When you decide where all your DVDs and CDs will live, take those you found during this exercise to that place in the home. Then see if any of the discs in your collection can go. You could donate or sell them (remember Half Priced Books?).
When you go through all your disks and eliminate what you don’t want or enjoy anymore, you make a more comfortable, appealing space for the DVDs and CDs you keep.
The Most Brilliant Idea Yet
On the other hand, consider that movies and music are easy and inexpensive to download these days. It might cost you more to store these items if you consider the space they occupy in your home and the amount you pay for each square foot of the house. And when was the last time you watched a movie from your DVDs or listened to a CD? (No, honestly!)
Some DVDs and CDs might be homemade, with great sentimental value. You probably will want to keep all that material. However, here is my brilliant idea: Transfer their contents to an external drive dedicated to photos and videos or place the material in your computer and copy it to the cloud, for example. This way, all your memories are safe, shareable with others, more accessible to enjoy, and do not occupy the physical space CDs and DVDs take. Furthermore, you can also let go of CD players and DVD players. How about that? Off with the clutter, again!!!
Hopefully, these steps and ideas help you tackle the media clutter in your home. Probably media is not the most significant factor cluttering your environment, but every little bit counts. So, we need to divide, conquer, and work on every puzzle piece to get our desired results.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help or advice with your home organization.
So you say: “my desk looks great,” but all papers are on the kitchen counter? Aren’t we proud? (LOL)
If this is you, please know you are not alone and that paper clutters homes the most because it is harder to corral, classify, and organize.
Paper is sneaky, and you can’t see the chaos it makes by looking at a page here and a page there. But when it accumulates enough for you to notice, then it is too late.
Whether it is brochures, magazines, newspapers, instruction manuals, receipts, unopened mail, coupons, gift cards, or schoolwork, these things hang around the house and clutter everyone’s lives.
When organizing clients’ homes, they are often surprised by an unpleasant by-product of the process: the unforeseen accumulation of paper and other items that seem not to have a definite place in the home.
We gather all paper, including magazines, brochures, children’s papers, and projects. These should be addressed later by the client. We can’t save our clients from doing this work.
Because looking at the paper collected, it is impossible to know what you need to keep; you’ll have to do the work you have been avoiding in the first place (except that now it is all accumulated and is a lot!)
Since this part of the process is a necessary evil and people fear paper so much, it is not even fair to leave you in the dark to do your homework So, here is a detailed guide to winning the paper clutter battle.
NOTE: Before we start: It is fair to say that you need to establish a cut-off date, after which you go forward with managing your incoming mail and papers using your new system (thus, staying on top of that).
1. Clean up your files
You will need space for the new stuff that requires filing. If you do not have a filing system, this is the time to create one. Your filing system should preferably be in your home office. The following best options would be a rolling cart under a desk by the kitchen or a filing cabinet that complements your décor in the living room.
But every household needs a filing system. Every piece of paper worth keeping should have a permanent home where you will know to look for it.
2. Gather every piece of paper
Gather every piece of paper throughout the house. Include magazines, coupons, receipts, notebooks, journals, books, and gift cards in this group.
This exercise might result in several bins of stuff as you’ve never seen before. It will be okay! We will take one box and one category at a time.
3. Divide and conquer
Start with one box and sort its contents into the categories you find in that bin or container. Then tackle the second bin of mixed contents and repeat the process.
As you move along, take your trash to the trash and clean the bins that you empty.
Pro Tip: Tackle each category separately. Do not start with a group while still working on another.
4. Sort bigger items
Start with the bigger stuff such as books and magazines. Decide what can be donated, sold, trashed, or recycled.
Then see where to allocate what you keep. For example, you might already have a logical space in your home for those items. In that case, merge the items you gathered with corresponding objects in their designated home space.
Note that if you run out of space to place all items together, you can purge items by evaluating the entirety of your collection. If this does not give you the needed area, consider an alternative space for these items. The important thing is to keep the same type of items together.
5. On with the paper!
Set up the following boxes to collect four types of paper:
Shred (only for sensitive information)
File (all documents you decide to keep in paper format)
Digitize (paper to be digitized and let go of print)
Keep paper to digitize in a separate box and set aside as a project for the near future.
Every piece of paper needs a decision, and every piece you keep needs a permanent home in a file.
6. Create These Files
“Important Documents” File
Important and official documents such as birth certificates, social security cards, passports, and the like, need their file, so you will always know where the most important things are.
You will want to make a “Medical” folder for each household member. Here is where you file medical records, EOB’s, insurance, etc. If you have too much paper in this category, you may need to have Medical-Records, Medical-EOB’s, Medical-Insurance, and so on.
Decide what you might need to keep for tax purposes for the current year and place all that material in a file called “Current year taxes.”
When filing past years’ taxes, get rid of anything other than the IRS’s need if they audit you.
Discard any envelopes, especially manila envelopes, and unfold papers to letter size.
If you need to keep papers or receipts together, paperclip or binder clip them on the right side. That way, when they are in their folders, you can easily see what’s what.
Consider digitizing everything. Digitized documents are acceptable to the IRS. But always check with an accounting professional regarding financial/tax decisions.
“Owner’s Manuals & Warranties” File
It does not matter what these are; it needs a file to keep a user’s manual. Create a “Household Manuals” folder and place them all together. You can be more specific and divide the category (like tools, appliances, miscellaneous, etc.).
“Hold & Throw” File (or tray)
The Hold & Throw is a parking spot for things you may want shortly, but that will be irrelevant in a few months.
This space could be a tray or a file within your system. Some examples in this category are receipts for clothes, neighborhood trash schedules, and paid bills. These items are not worth filing long-term, and you can safely throw them away every couple of months. This practice negates piles of advertisements, receipts, brochures, and things people put on their refrigerators. If the paper will be irrelevant in a few months, it goes in the “Hold & Throw” folder.
“To Do” File (or tray)
Among the papers you find, decide what is “to do.” Place that in your “to do” tray/file. Once done, let go of these papers. You might want to make a note on your schedule to ensure you tackle those “to-do” timely and consistently.
7. Sort other categories of paper
Get a coupon wallet to keep in your kitchen drawer. All store coupons and gift cards can live there until needed. They will be accessible whenever you go shopping. Review this wallet monthly to let go of expired offers and coupons.
Set pictures apart and place them with other images you might have. Photos deserve their category, and the procedures to handle picture organization are here.
Transfer business cards (including those refrigerator magnets with business information) to your computer or mobile phone with card scanning apps or software available for this purpose.
Discard receipts you can find online by accessing your bank account or your transaction history with the vendor.
If you need receipts to return or exchange something, those receipts should probably go into your “To Do” file or your “Hold & Throw” file.
Going Forward with Mail
Mail comes into the home daily for most people. Without a system to handle mail effectively, we would be back in square one very soon.
Handling mail daily does not mean handling every piece of mail completely. Instead, it means opening each mail piece and directing it to where the action will occur. This should take one or two minutes of your day when you come home.
To this end, you should have your recycle bin and your “To Do” and “To File” files or trays in your mail processing area. Have a recycling bin next to the mail processing area so that all junk mail goes immediately to recycling. Then, sort the rest according to the action needed on each piece (near future action or file).
Recycle — Place all junk mail in your recycle bin immediately
To-Do — Things that will require some action (like paying a bill or RSVPing to an activity)
To File — Papers or documents that you’ll want to keep for reference and that belong to any of the file categories in your filing system
OHIO Rule (Only Handle It Once)
If you’d like to be one step ahead, apply the “OHIO Rule.” It means that you immediately deal with any paper coming into your home instead of setting it down, unopened, to deal with later.
In this case, you commit to processing each mail piece completely when you first handle it. Handling your mail this way reduces paper clutter and eliminates the need to deal with paper later.
Remember that if you follow the steps to handle mail every so often, you need to schedule in your calendar as a weekly or biweekly activity — time to finish processing the mail you pre-classified. The “one-touch rule” eliminates this second part of the process.
Tackling your paper might seem daunting. Nobody said you must finish organizing all your accumulated paper in a day. Paper is the thing that takes the longest to manage! Take your time and work on a category at a time. The space and relief you will feel afterward are worth every moment you invest in the project.
You can tame the paper monster. But, as with everything in life, keeping it under control requires commitment and effort.
If you have difficulty organizing and deciding about your paper (no, there’s nothing wrong with you!), contact us! We will be thrilled to nosedive into your paper mess. Truly!
How Much Does It Cost to Work with A Professional Organizer & Why was copied with the permission of Samantha Pregenzer, author of the blog and owner of Simply Organized.
Well, this may rock a few boats but that’s not the intention behind this one. It’s not directed to my professional organizer community. Its sole purpose is to reach people who need help decluttering or getting organized and have been hesitant to hire (or even contact) an organizer because the main obstacle though is money.
Here’s the disclaimer…so we can get this out of the way. ha! For years in this business, I’ve heard it’s a no-no to talk about pricing. Every professional meeting I attend includes a reminder about it – at the top of the meeting agenda, it’s mentioned as “housekeeping” or “rules”. I’m not sharing pricing details to rock our industry’s boat…because I absolutely respect what everyone in my field does….and really, each of our charges VERY differently based on the type of organizing we do. So as a simple disclaimer, what I am sharing is being explained to help those who may be interested in hiring an organizer and wondered how much it costs, how the process works, and explain ALL the things we do from the point you complete that contact form to the end result of a beautifully organized space….in essence, how we justify that invoice at the end of the project.
My job is interesting in that people sometimes think I’m a cleaning lady or an interior designer. I’m sure others in my field can relate to that. An organizer is something totally different – we deal with your stuff, not your floors, toilets, sinks, counters, etc. BUT some of us do in the process of working with you end up doing design work OR cleaning. Personally, in my business, I do both services. We clean the space we are organizing and the spaces directly surrounding us as well. I am sharing this because often times I’ve heard people try to compare our pricing to that of a housecleaner. It’s a very different job.
I’m able to discuss this topic in detail and with confidence because I’ve been an organizer for 10+ years. I have decluttered and organized hundreds of homes. All sorts of residential spaces. For all sorts of people and situations. I’ve been a member of NAPO for 6 years and have positive, collaborative relationships with countless organizing colleagues. I’ve been “in the trenches” for a long time doing the hard hard work and have seen the industry change in this amount of time…especially over social media. I’ve been asked to speak to my organizing community multiple times – honored, humbled, grateful for each invitation. What I am sharing comes from MY experience as a seasoned organizer so you can bet it’s going to be real.
You can also bet I’m not perfect with everything and even running my own business is tough. I’m a much better organizer than a business owner. I’ve had to learn pricing models and tested out all sorts of pricing methods all by my lonesome. Why? Because no one in my industry will talk numbers, remember? lol! Anyway, I’m simply sharing from my personal business experience and pretty sure it’s on point after all this time!
And after you’re done reading, I hope you DO reach out for help! It will be well worth your investment!
With all that said, let’s get into it!…
A professional organizer’s pricing first and foremost is going to depend on a few factors:
HOW LARGE THEIR COMPANY IS
THE SCOPE OF YOUR PROJECT
WHERE YOU LIVE
HOW THEY STRUCTURE THEIR BUSINESS / CONTRACTS
Experience is the top reason pricing can be low or high. Lesser experienced organizer rates range anywhere from $50 – $100 per hour. Seasoned, well-experienced organizers can range from $125 – $500 per hour. That rate comes from experience and skill. Think of this as similar to a great interior designer or contractor. Someone who is efficient and highly skilled/connected will charge a bit more but will be worth every penny. While you may think opting for someone lesser-priced will be sufficient, I’ve seen many cases in which a client ended up paying more, in the end, to have someone else come in to repair gaps or issues.
One little side story – I am always a cheerleader of new organizers. But one time I had the terrible experience of having to tell a client the shelving they paid $xxxx for wasn’t going to work with their end goal. We had to start from scratch. The shelving was limiting, not adjustable, and free-standing. It stood only 6′ tall in a garage that was about 15′ tall. Total waste of space and they had 4 children with a TON of garage contents to organize. They ended up investing 2 fold what they would have had they hired someone more experienced from the get-go. Again, not to shoot down that organizer by any means, but it certainly cost this family a lot more money than planned. Sometimes paying for experience is well worth it!
When I was starting out, I charged $50 per hour. After about a year and 50 or so projects under my belt, I raised that to $75 per hour. Since then my hourly rate has increased. (Won’t share my exact rate but it’s over $100 per hour) The last time I raised my rates, which was about a year ago, I felt I was at the top of my industry niche in terms of pricing. Pretty sure I am still there. It’s rare someone questions the hourly rate I quote because I can back up that fee with experience. One look at my portfolio or just a few minutes into a consult, a potential client knows I am experienced, can deliver an end result they will love / it’s sustainable, and they want to hire me and my team.
Specialties can also affect pricing. For example, my dear friend and colleague, Kacy Paide of The Inspired Office, only organizes office spaces. It’s a specialty and she should charge a special rate based on that. There are organizers who only organize photos or papers or home computers / digital devices or even estate sales.
Depending on an organizer’s experience and specialties, you can see how hourly rates will differ. It’s also going to depend on the factors outlined below too…for example, where you live; big city, more rural small town. But this gives you an explanation right out of the gate that pricing can vary and in general is due to experience.
HOW LARGE THEIR COMPANY IS
I worked alone for many years and was happy to do so. There are still projects today I choose to work on alone. I enjoy the solitude and get hyper-focused….barely talking while I work. But if I’m ever going to realize bigger dreams and goals for this business and scale it, I have to hire people. Rates will go up when more team members are on the project. So if you are quoted for a team of 3 organizers, the price could be $250 per hour or more. Again, this all depends on the experience of those team members as well. Seasoned crew members can make up to $100 per hour…sometimes more. Or they can make as little as $35 per hour if in training.
THE SCOPE OF YOUR PROJECT
The scope of your organizing project is a factor. If we are doing a whole house declutter, the invoice may be high due to the number of hours and team members. If you are designing a custom closet, organizers generally charge a consulting fee to work with you and interface with the closet company to help you design the most efficient space…and then you may hire them to help organize it once installed. This is a HUGE range in pricing because of the scope of work in a pantry vs the scope in a custom walk-in master closet or decluttering a large 3-car garage – it’s a vast difference in space, how many team members, and honestly….how quick you are to make decisions when it comes to decluttering items.
An organizer’s niche also matters in pricing. If you’re organizing papers in an office or photos on your computer or you’re unpacking a 1 bedroom or 10 bedroom home…organizers specialize in many different categories. Personally, I am a residential organizer for families and I am heavy into stuff. Lots of stuff. It’s a physical job that moves quickly. I don’t spend hours upon hours sorting through papers. Or photos. Maybe one day when my body can’t do this anymore…but point is, an organizer’s niche could be a factor in pricing as well.
WHERE YOU LIVE
Rates for organizers in metropolitan areas are higher than in small towns. That’s not to say there aren’t small towns that compete with the big cities. I used to live in Little Rock and it’s a VERY sophisticated city. It’s small but there are high-end designers I came to know while living there. They are charging what a lot of designers in my current SF area charge. But I have seen a big difference in pricing for organizers based in NYC vs in SF. Just something to keep in mind when you are hiring an organizer.
HOW THEY STRUCTURE THEIR BUSINESS / CONTRACTS
Like any small business, owners choose to run their business how they see best. For a long time, I tried flat-rate pricing. I felt like it took the guessing out of how many hours I would be there – clients occasionally gave off a vibe of worry that I may be there for hours upon hours. So if I felt confident I could complete the project in 6 hours, for example, I quoted them my hourly rate x 6. It worked pretty well for a while, but once I hired team members, hourly was easier.
Organizers also sometimes operate their business as if they are interior designers. I mean, really – everyone should have a client contract. I do and it took me a while to get on board. For a long time my thought was “I’m just an organizer – what I do is so black and white. I’m not an interior designer with big custom furniture purchases, freight charges, etc”. Anyway, sometimes organizers ask for a retainer if they are working on a large project that could go on for a while. Especially if it’s a design project for a custom closet…if they are doing any work from home they may discount their hourly rate, but this could drive up costs.
Some organizers charge a consultation fee…some don’t.
Some organizers charge a travel fee…some don’t.
Again, depends on how they run their business, and hopefully, the organizer you connect with is clear and upfront with any pricing so there aren’t surprises at the end. Nothing worse than a surprise on your invoice you weren’t expecting.
HOW THE PROCESS WORKS
The reason I want to share a quick view of how the process works is because you’ll then understand our pricing even better. There is MUCH more involved than simply showing up to help you declutter. A good organizer will also teach you how to maintain the space, how to declutter another similar space on your own so they don’t have to come back and how to work through emotions when letting go of items. There’s work that happens before we arrive AND after we leave. It’s definitely a relationship and it gets intimate. That’s one of my favorite parts of this job!
A good organizer also spends time reading books, attending conferences and seminars, maybe working with a business coach, and definitely investing in more education. And staying on top of current trends in the industry.
In my business, I can share how the process works (which will soon be in video format – yay!) but it begins when you complete the contact form. The first steps are always the same:
Contact form is completed
I email you to set up a phone consult
We have a 20-minute phone consult (complimentary)
If after the call we feel it’s a match, we schedule an in-person 45-minute consult (fee included). During the consult we narrow down your hot zone and where I’d begin working with you.
I come home to pull together a quote
Once the quote is approved, we schedule a day/time to be there
From there the process can go in a few different directions. If it’s a simple declutter of an office, I schedule myself to be there. But if there is design or material involved, I have more work to do from home prior to our appointment. And I may also need to come back for a deeper dive into your volume of stuff, to take measurements and photos, etc.
Could look like this:
I get to work on a game plan – my game plan is key to the timeliness of our projects. Everything is scheduled and structured before we arrive. If team members need to join me, I schedule them accordingly. If my haul team needs to be on stand-by, I make them aware of the day, possible time, location, and even the size of the truck needed for haul away.
If a product needs to be sourced, I spend time in the office pulling options I then share with my client for approval.
When approved, we place orders and pick up materials.
If we are designing an Elfa space, I schedule myself time to go to TCS to design, and then there is a phase of going back and forth with the client for edits before purchasing.
Once these are purchased, we need to have material delivered and maybe our painter is scheduled beforehand (demo and touch-ups)…
Then we need to schedule the installer. I do some installs myself, but recently hired our own great installer who works a bit quicker so I can work behind him getting the space organized.
As you can see, it’s not as simple as decluttering and organizing. There’s a lot more. Don’t forget my time in the office at the end of a project reconciling product receipts, invoicing, following up with the client, paying team members, etc. It’s a big job and each and every client needs the best service so I take great care in delivering a full-service experience.
I spend a lot of time planning organizing projects from right here…not necessarily in a client’s home…
And like any business, there’s a cost of doing business. Some of that affects pricing too.
PERKS OF WORKING WITH A PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZER
Had to share some of the fun perks of working with a professional organizer! From special discounts to the intimate, fun relationship you will build – I promise you won’t regret having hired one.
SPECIAL TRADE DISCOUNTS
Most experienced and seasoned organizers will have connections to special discounts. Personally, I am a trade member with The Container Store – this gives us special discounts all year long, which I always pass down to our clients. I never up-charge (some organizers do!). Since design and making spaces beautiful is also at play in SO | Home, I became a trade member of all the Pottery Barn brands, including West Elm and Williams Sonoma. I’m a trade member with Wayfair. And a trade member with Restoration Hardware. And a trade member with Studio McGee.
I stay on top of sale trends. The Container Store, for example, pretty much runs the same sales cycle each calendar year. I plan for these in advance (even their friends and family event…I have employee friends who hook us up each fall) which gives me a chance to follow up with Sally about that pantry she wanted to organize last fall, but nothing pantry related was on sale at that time.
One of my goals is always to save a family money. Families grow and change and it’s inevitable that a system I set up in 2017 may not be working the same in 2020. It’s normal but I plan for it in advance and follow up with them. I’d like that done for me too if I was working with a designer-type.
EXPERTISE & SAVING MONEY
When you hire an organizer, they will know exactly which product works in your space… depending on your habits. This means you won’t be buying containment over and over because it is failing you. Expertise in this area matters.
LEARNING NEW TECHNIQUES AND HABITS
You’re going to learn how to declutter and organize in a way that works for you. New systems, new habits…organizing is a great skill to have. I also work with clients on time management and goal setting as well. They go hand in hand with organizing.
HOW YOU’RE GOING TO FEEL!
You are going to feel incredible when the process is behind you! All of those items that were previously taking up space or inducing bad memories/reminders…with them behind you and a fresh new space you’re going to feel inspired and lighter. Happy and content. Motivated. You will love opening that garage to see the entire floor and pull your car in. You will feel excited to open that cabinet or closet door or drawer. You will know exactly where to find the scissors or that photo or that shirt you wanted to wear last summer but forgot about.
A little of what the Internet says…
Just for the heck of it, I did a quick google search to find out what the going rate is. It was all over the map. Anywhere from $30 per hour to $375 for a 3-hour session.
According to Angie’s List, members reported paying as much as $1,500 to $5,000 for major home organization projects, such as unpacking and organizing an entire home after a move, or tackling multiple rooms including the living room, bedrooms, dining room, kitchen, basement, and spare room.
My sweet friend and colleague, Geralin Thomas, wrote this great article in 2018 breaking down costs based on where you live in the US. She polled many many organizers around the country who were pretty open with their rates – nice to see!
I’d love to hear any questions you have and am more than happy to answer it here – so leave them in the comments or send me an email if it’s something more personal. Hope this answered some of your questions or is encouraging you to take the leap and contact an organizer to finally help you with a space or two.