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How to Hire A Professional Organizer And What To Expect From Them

How to Hire A Professional Organizer And What To Expect From Them

How To Hire A Professional Organizer

You have decided to make it happen after many years of unrealized New Year’s resolutions and failed attempts to get organized. You have chosen to hire a Professional Organizer! Well, you will be amazed at how working with an Organizer can transform your home, time, and perspective in life.

What Kind Of Organizing Services Do You Need?

Some Organizers offer a wide range of services, while others work in a specialized niche. For example, some Organizers work with corporations rather than residential clients. Others specialize in specific areas such as home offices or closets. Finally, some Organizers specialize in working with clients with brain-based conditions, including the chronically disorganized and individuals with ADD.

Where Should You Begin Your Search?

  • Use NAPO’s Professional Organizer Directory to search for a professional organizer by type of service, distance from your location, or both. 
  • You can google Professional Organizers in ______ (your area).
  • Use resources such as FindMyOrganizer.com, for example.

How Do You Decide Who Is Right For You?

It would help to speak to several Organizers before choosing the one for you. If you prefer to meet in person before deciding, note that some Organizers offer free consultations. In contrast, others charge for the talk and credit that fee toward services if hired. Yet others charge separately for assessments and services.

What Fees Should You Expect To Pay?

As with most professions, fees vary widely based on experience, geographic location, and competition. For example, many Organizers charge by the hour, while others charge by the project. Therefore, establishing a budget and deciding what feels most comfortable would be the first thing to do.

Avoid choosing an Organizer strictly by price. Instead, focus on value by finding a professional with a personality you click with and whose skill set matches your needs. That person will probably deliver the results you expect in the shortest time.

What Questions Should You Ask When Hiring A Professional Organizer?

One of the first questions is whether the Organizer is a National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) member. Membership in NAPO demonstrates that the Organizer is committed to continuing education and an industry code of ethics.

Other professional associations directly related to the organizing industry include Professional Organizers in Canada (POC), the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD), and the Australasian Association of Professional Organizers (AAPO).

An experienced Organizer will ask many questions about you, your work style, what you are looking for, and the issues you believe have thwarted your best attempts to get organized in the past. In addition, they want to get to know you, understand your objectives, and determine whether they will be a good fit for you. 

Therefore, it is in your best interest to be as candid and straightforward as possible about what you want to achieve.

So here are some suggestions of questions to ask a potential Organizer:

  • What kinds of organizing projects do you do?
  • Who is your typical/usual client?
  • What services do you offer?
  • Do you have any training or certifications in organizing or related areas?
  • Can you describe your organizing process or describe a typical working session?
  • How long have you been in the organizing business?
  • What is your fee structure?
  • Do you work with a written contract?
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • I have tried to get organized before. How will this be different?

What To Expect From An Organizer

Professional organizers should be nonjudgmental, encouraging, and supportive. They should be good listeners and recommend various suggestions, alternatives, and solutions to create the system that will work best for you.

If you start working with a Professional Organizer and, along the way, decide that you are not comfortable with their style, you are rarely under obligation to continue the relationship. Be sure to let the Organizer know how you feel. More than likely, they will be happy to recommend a colleague.

A Professional Organizer strives to increase the organization of your space and its functionality so you can do more with your time and live a happier, better life. This person is skilled at creating systems that work for you. But for this to happen, the Organizer needs to learn about your preferences, habits, and style.

The Deep Dive

The Organizer will invite you to have a deeper conversation about why you want this project done. Why is this space the way it is today? What circumstances brought the area(s) to its current state? Are those circumstances still present, or will they return? What are you doing to ensure those situations or circumstances won’t return?

You might need to address these aspects to ensure the organized areas don’t return to their previous state sooner than you imagine. Ideally, during the process, the root causes of the problems in the space are analyzed and corrected during the organizing process.

What if you aren’t ready to talk about the real cause of your disorganization? This can be hard to face. The long-term results of your project will be different than you hoped for, and expectations should be adjusted. 

There’s Always An Option

Organizing takes strategy, planning, thought, skills, and time. An experienced and accomplished Professional Organizer will seek a lasting transformation of the space and the client’s life. And there are many scenarios in which an organizing professional can help you. To name just a few:

  • Maintaining the space once it’s done (recurrent service)
  • Bringing order to the home when your attention and time need to be elsewhere due to circumstances out of the ordinary
  • Moving out of your home and setting up a new one
  • Organizing the home before or after a renovation project
  • A Professional Organizer provides a specialized service to improve your home’s order, functionality, and style.

If you’d like to experience working with a Professional Organizer, let’s chat and see if that’s something you can benefit from.

How He Finally Found Flow at Home

How He Finally Found Flow at Home

Years Went By

During a recent trip to Puerto Rico (I’m from PR, if you didn’t know), I listened to a good friend talk about his place- a condo with a killer view and more than reasonable space for a bachelor. This friend also has excellent taste, so his place looks nicely put together.

During a recent trip to Puerto Rico (I’m from PR, if you didn’t know), I listened to a good friend talk about his place- a condo with a killer view and more than reasonable space for a bachelor. This friend also has excellent taste, so his place looks nicely put together.

But for the last decade, he had tried to sell his condo.

During that time, the property had been on and off the market. And although my friend had done everything within his power and seemed to do it all right, the sale never went through for various reasons.

All the while, he had felt emotionally detached from his own home, as he said.

Deciding To Flow

At some point during those years, his life significantly changed – It sped up exponentially. Consequently, he was spending much less time at home. The timing was ideal because now, he did not need to spend so much time in a place he did not love.

However, he thought maybe his path was not to sell his apartment after all and that he probably needed “to flow” with his home instead.

And by “flowing,” he meant he had decided to align his actions and feelings with the energy of his dwelling so it could be the source of joy he wished for – a home that would delight and support him. (I swear I had nothing to do with his decision or process – this was all him).

As he started to plan some upgrades on his apartment, it was clear he could only begin those after emptying several areas that have been storing a lot of stuff through the years. He had not seen, touched, or needed that for long.

As you can imagine, this was not a project he looked forward to doing.

The Unexpected Happened

But then something unexpected happened- as soon as all that stuff started coming out of the many “hiding” areas, he felt a rush of energy compelling him to declutter and reorganize everything in his home. He could not explain it, but that feeling was enough. He took action.

Unbeknownst to him, this was a first-hand experience of clutter causing stagnant energy and the contrasting feeling of unleashing the positive energy that comes with decluttering.

He witnessed how this fresh, vibrant energy carried him forward, infusing his environment with the attitudes and feelings he longed to experience in his place.

Comfort Coffee at home

Becoming Mindful

It might be easy to ignore the draining effects of stagnant energy, settling for the status quo. However, becoming mindful gets us in touch with ourselves, our feelings, their why, and how. Then, it’s easier to discern what should be done and the path forward.

So yes, my dear friend has a beautiful, well-appointed condo that he loves and is no longer trying to sell. He made peace with his home, which is now a place that supports his hectic life and gives him joy.

His Story Is My Wish For You

Listening to his story made me realize his journey perfectly embodied everything I wish everyone to experience.

  • Becoming mindful
  • Making the right decisions
  • Taking action
  • Eliminating clutter and chaos from their lives
  • Shifting their energy
  • Loving where they live

(My friend should become My Space Reclaimed poster child, right?)

It’s simple- once you decide to love your place and act mindfully, your house becomes that HOME that supports your life and speaks of rest, comfort, and joy.

When that happens, life becomes easier, bigger, and better. That’s when you experience the flow.

The Greatest Pitfall in Home Management

The Greatest Pitfall in Home Management

No Time for Housekeeping

Here’s my take on the most significant 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. Cleaning up the kitchen is a 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 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. Those routine tasks comprise the backbone of your job. Whether you supervise those tasks or execute them, the responsibility is yours. If you stopped ensuring those processes are thoroughly performed, things would go south rapidly.

Why can’t we all plan and execute like actual managers at home? One might think it is because home is where we rest and want to think of things other than 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.

You are 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, 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 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 started planning and scheduling the 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.

Suggested Reading:

 

When Emotions Get in The Way of a Clutter-Free Life

When Emotions Get in The Way of a Clutter-Free Life

Some emotions might get in the way and keep you from living a clutter-free life.

There is usually an emotion associated with people’s resistance to part with stuff that no longer has a specific role in their lives. Let’s look at some of these emotions.

Excessive Sentimentalism

Some items do have sentimental value. When you can keep them in a particular place of honor, that is not a problem. But having too many sentimental things, or that everything is so unique, the truth is that nothing is. Special items get lost in the crowd, and instead of evoking sentimental value, those items become annoyances.

Unwanted Gifts

Have you been a hostage of unwanted gifts? You might feel guilty about getting rid of something you received as a gift. What if you don’t like or need that item? What if you lack the proper space to home that thing? None of that matters – you feel guilty just thinking of letting that item go. 

This guilt probably arises because you don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings. However, if you follow the same pattern in many instances, you end up in a home where you feel unhappy, given the clutter of many things you’d rather not have around.

Your home should be your sanctuary, not a storage place for unwanted stuff. Learning to separate a gift from the feelings you associate with the giver is essential. You can acknowledge the gift as an expression of their love for you, but that does not mean the item must remain a subconscious contention between you two. It is also beneficial to look at the matter from the perspective of the gift giver. For that, read our blog: What Do You Give When You Give A Gift?

Unfulfilled Dreams

Some people don’t want to get rid of things that might symbolize the life or experiences they wished they had but never did. It is common to hold on to things representing what we wish we had done. Karen Kingston calls this “aspirational clutter.”

A clear example of aspirational clutter is crafting. The amount of new crafts supplies and unfinished projects we find in homes is enormous. 

But people can’t let any of those crafts supplies go because, in doing so, they would accept that they don’t have time, desire, or the talent to do those crafts. 

But your home should reflect who you are now, support your goals, and be the launching pad to your future. When you hold on to past dreams, you have little room for the future. Let go and rest assured- if you are meant to live those other dreams sometime in the future, it will happen. In the meantime, live and be in the present.

Money Paid

You spend money when you buy something, not when you get rid of it. Keeping something because it costs a lot will not bring back the money spent. When it is time to let that thing go, think about the value it brought to you, recognize it accomplished its mission, and let it be free to enhance the lives of others.

Keeping objects that clutter our lives compounds the problem. These items take an emotional toll on you, rob you of time, and cost money. Such things require that you spend time caring for them and money paying for the space they take up in your home or even a storage unit. 

Understanding and addressing the source of discomfort in parting with things you no longer need can also remove a layer of guilt and emotional baggage you may not have even realized you were carrying.

If you can identify your source of discomfort with decluttering, you can make significant breakthroughs. You can deal with your emotions, move on, and eliminate the stuff cluttering your life. 

It all boils down to forgiving yourself for past money mistakes or accepting that not everything continues to have a high value over the years. Understanding this will allow you to get past the emotions and part with the object without guilt.

Future Needs

The fear of needing something in the future and not having it comes from the primal fear of not having enough. It comes from not trusting yourself or others to provide for you in the future. If you can replace the item for less than $30, let’s say, or a couple of hours of work, let it go.

There’s a point and time when you must take a leap of faith and trust in yourself and your loved ones to help you with things instead of thinking you’re alone with no resources or skills.

Perfection Paralysis

When a task is too daunting, it is hard to start and much more challenging to see the end. This disturbing feeling is a familiar one when it comes to decluttering. It also encompasses the phenomenon of “perfection paralysis.” Some people will only start a project if they are confident the result will be perfect. Unfortunately, that is hardly ever the case; thus, they never start the project.

When a task seems impossibly hard or the desired result unachievable, it is helpful to divide the project into smaller parts and conquer it in chunks. If this still proves too hard to handle, you should engage a Professional Organizer to guide you through the process. Having guidance in the form of a project manager, coach, or even body double can help you see a more straightforward path to completing your project.

To further explore the topic of clutter and emotions, read:

Intentional Storage – Knowing Your Why

Intentional Storage – Knowing Your Why

Intentional storage means considering what we keep to determine how to keep it. However, in talking about storage, we must discuss the difference between putting things down and putting things away.

Putting Things Away

A simple life with fewer things means that we can adequately contain the contents of the house and develop sound systems around the use and care of those possessions.

A home that operates in this way is a home that facilitates putting things away instead of just putting something down.

Putting things down is the beginning of the end if you’d like a tidy home. 

Putting things away after using them every single time is fundamental to having a home that breathes peace and order.

And it’s much easier to learn to put things away consistently when everything has a logical, designated place in the home and everything fits its designated storage space.

Containers Keep Us Accountable

I heard Joanna from The Home Edit say something that stuck with me because it is so accurate, and I never thought of putting it into words as she did. She said: “Containers keep us accountable.”

I can see now why their organizing method always includes all that micro-organization and over-division of stuff. The more (appropriate) containerization, the easier it is to determine when our stuff is becoming too much – they’ll start spilling over.

When things start spilling over, we must decide (if we don’t want clutter to take over) what we should let go of or if that group of items has grown for a legitimate change that might require a permanent change in space planning. And this is what being intentional with the storage means.

The Why Dictates The How

Suppose you love crafting, embroidery in particular. And you have a section in your home office with all those supplies needed for your hobby. At some point, your hobby turned into a business possibility. So, you decide to pursue embroidery as an income-generating activity. Now, you’ll need much more material and supplies and probably more significant, better equipment to handle production.

In this case, it makes sense to “set shop” on a different part of the house dedicated to these activities, transform your home office into the facility you need, or even rent some industrial space. Either of these alternatives calls for a total change in how you gather, store, and use your embroidery supplies, materials, and tools.

Having a ton of new material available because your mother-in-law gave you a bunch of stuff over the holidays is not a reason to overflow or change the storage system that has worked for you so far. If you received embroidery material that you were not expecting or needing, you should decide:

  • whether to keep the new stuff and get rid of the previous material
  • sell or donate the new stuff
  • keep parts of each collection and give away the rest

The two instances are different but require an intentional decision and an action.

All that additional material will hang around the carefully appointed system and previously set containers without an intentional decision. As a result, it won’t look as contained anymore nor be as functional as it was.

When Storage Space Is Minimal

And one more thing! If the home of your dreams has minimal storage space, some “stored” items might not be concealed (as in open storage). So, when stuff needs to be in view like that, the trick is to blend that with the design and make it “disappear” from sight.

You’ll need some out-of-the-box thinking to achieve this. Finding the right storage solution means transforming potential eyesores into space enhancers, conversation pieces, and even eye candy. How about that? Are you up to the challenge?