Is clutter piling up around your home? Is it difficult to find important documents or items that you need? If you are struggling to keep things tidy or need to organize many items, a professional organizer can help!
- A professional organizer can help with both large and small projects and often provide the psychological boost needed to help keep clutter from taking over your home.
- Many professional organizers offer tips and tricks to help you stay organized, even after they have finished helping with your original project.
- If your mess is related to having too many items that are out of place, a professional organizer can help declutter areas of your home and specific rooms where junk accumulates, such as the garage, attic, and extra bedrooms or office spaces.
- For general disorder, having another person there to organize paperwork, get rid of excess junk, and formulate a plan can reduce some of the stress associated with a cluttered home.
According to a recent study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Women who described their homes as “cluttered” or who had “unfinished projects” were more fatigued, depressed, and had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than women who felt their homes were “restful” and “restorative”.
Hiring professional help is not always necessary, but many people find it helpful to have stranger’s unbiased opinion, friendly and informed guidance, and another pair of hands. A professional organizer can be especially helpful to seniors looking to downsize, those that are disabled and cannot move around and organize, and individuals who suffer from hoarding disorders that could benefit from expert service and advice. A professional organizer can be especially helpful to those that hold on to sentimental items and feel overwhelmed by the idea of going through them or discarding anything.
If you need someone to help you tackle your organization project, here are some things to know about hiring the right professional organizer, in order to ensure they meet your needs.
Decide To Get Help. Determine whether you need the help of a professional organizer; if you think you may need help, then chances are you probably do. Many people consider themselves organized, but between work, school, hobbies, children, pets, and everything else going on in life, it’s easy to see how a home or specific room can get cluttered or end up in disarray. Professional organizers handle a variety of projects, not just extreme cases that you may see on TV or in movies, and can help you with any project–large or small. There can also be a psychological benefit to hiring someone to help you and may prevent future disorder.
Find A Specialty. Ask what kinds of projects an organizer specializes in–specific rooms of homes such as paperwork or document organization, large hoarding situations, attics with antiques, a library of books, or general messiness? There are some organizers and companies that do it all, and others that have a specific focus that they are an expert in dealing with.
For example, if you are helping a senior clean out their home and decades of accumulated possessions, you may want to hire a professional that is used to dealing with sentimental items, antiques, and handling large amounts of things during clean out and organizing sessions. For hoarding situations or a severely disordered space, it is probably best to ensure an organizer can handle the project and has the resources to make a difference. Some organizers won’t deal with certain projects, or have niche focuses that they excel at completing.
Ask About Experience. What experience do they have? Have they completed similar organization projects? How many years have they been in the business? Ask about their experience and how they got into organizing, including the clients that they typically work with and duration of projects.
Do they have referrals and testimonials that you can read? Ask for the names and contact information of customers who had projects similar to yours or who live near you but be aware that many clients desire confidentiality when it comes to their disordered spaces.
You should also see if the organizer has any before and after photos to share with you–most professionals will be more than happy to provide these items, even if they are just starting out, in order to give you an idea of the kind of work they do and what they can accomplish.
Do Certifications Matter? Are certifications or professional memberships important to you? If so, you should filter professional organizers by any certifications they hold, such as certified professional organizer (CPO) or any memberships they are a part of, such as the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO).
While many organizers are experts in the field of professional ordering, decluttering, and organization, they may not have been through any training courses or joined any associations. Many great organizers don’t bother with certifications or credentials and simply stick to what they do best, which is organizing to help others. This may matter to some people and make no difference to others, so determine if it’s a must-have for your project.
Ask About Their Rate. When meeting with a potential organizer, you should first ask if they offer a free consultation–many do. From there you can determine an overall cost or set rate for your project. Find out in advance if an organizer charges by the project or by the hour and whether they charge for an onsite consultation. The rate that an organizer charges can depend on many different factors, such as the space of the area that needs organizing, how much time and crew members will be needed to complete the project, and the specifics of the space–how disorganized or messy it may be, and how involved they will be with the actual sorting and ordering. Some organizers will even work with you to come up with a rate that you can afford for the services they offer and tailor a solution to your budget.
Determine If You Need A Crew. Many professional organizing services exist to help people declutter and organize their homes and can be a great option for larger projects. On the other hand, working with a single individual can have benefits as well–such as only dealing with one point of contact or organizing style and really getting to know the person you are hiring. For small areas like your closet you may only want to hire one person or a small crew, while in a hoarding situation or large home, you may need to hire a company with a larger crew.
Discover Their Process. Ask about what a project session is like. Is there a set approach such as going room-by-room in a home, or does the organizer prefer to tackle certain areas first? Additionally, determine how the organizer likes to work. While some handle tasks solo, most organizers work alongside you to help determine which items need to go and which can stay along with how to best categorize and organize the items in your disordered space.
Even still, some organizers will provide a list of “homework” tasks for you to work on during a session or things to sort through in-between one session and another and provide intermittent check-ups on your progress. Ask a potential organizer what their typical process is like and ask them which arrangement they think would work best for your space.
How Will Items Be Dealt With? During the organization process, many items that are cluttering up a space are moved to a new location or places aside to be gotten rid of–whether donated or trashed. Some organizers will suggest storage bins or spaces to keep individual items, and others will help you downsize with what you have. Ask if they can remove items and donate them for you. Often the act or taking things out of the home is a huge step in reducing the buildup of clutter and can help you stay organized.
Meet With Them. An initial consultation is a good way to feel out an organizer and determine if they are the right fit for your project. Since You’ll likely be working with this person in your home, so you should be comfortable around them and hire someone you feel that you can trust. That means ensuring that the organizer you hire is qualified and experienced, and that you can work with them and get along. Organizers don’t work with everyone and not everyone is a great match. Most organizers will respect your space and conform organizing practices to make things easier for you–they just need to know what goals you have and how they can best help you achieve those goals. If you have a large arts and crafts room or an over-filled garage that you need organized, an organizer will need to see the space and determine next steps.
Get It In Writing. Make sure that both you and the organizer you plan to hire are clear about exactly what work will be done, the organizer’s process, how much the work will cost (timeline and rate), and be sure get this information in writing, or at least in an email. Take note of any cancellation policy to ensure the timeframe works for both parties. Having a concrete plan in writing ensures that you aren’t surprised by a large bill at the end of your project, and the organizer knows what work they need to do and what goals they should try to accomplish.