Updated on 12/21/15. Originally published on 4/15/13.
We all want peace, harmony and order. We hope to achieve that in our houses, in our offices, and certainly in our hearts and souls. However, living and operating in clutter can turn peace and harmony into chaos. Not only do we then have to work through the clutter that surrounds us, but we may also feel tension and anxiety as a result of an unorganized, disorderly home.
So how do you go about achieving peace, harmony and order in your home and throughout all aspects of your life? Believe it or not, a great way to do this is to work with a professional organizer. This expert will help you determine what peace, harmony and order mean to you, and then you’ll work together to create and enact a plan to make your surroundings feel as peaceful as you imagined.
Professional Organizers Can Help Simplify Your Life
If you’re not sure if a professional organizer is for you, see if any of the following apply to you. You might need a professional organizer when:
- Your paperwork has overflowed onto your office floor.
- A family member passes away and you suddenly have all of his or her belongings in your home.
- Your pantry shelves are falling down and the door no longer shuts.
- You’re moving and you need creative organizational solutions.
- Your home needs an organizational facelift.
- You want to be organized, but it never seems to actually get done.
- You have collections that aren’t being stored or displayed how you want them to be.
Professional organizers offer ideal solutions for people who find that life – or their belongings – make them feel overwhelmed. With a wealth of experience and the ability to look at your belongings with a neutral eye, a professional can easily take your worst mess and get you organized.
What is a Professional Organizer?
A professional organizer is more than someone who has a knack for cleaning. According to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), organizers use their expertise and tested principles to create custom systems for their clients. They teach organizing skills that help clients take back control of their environments, tame their paper piles, and keep their lives running smoothly.
A professional organizer can help with a variety of tasks, including:
- Closet design
- Space planning
- Paperwork management
- Cross-country moves
- Record management
- Goal setting
- Time management
A professional organizer is different from a house cleaner. Someone who cleans your house will come in for a couple of hours, tidy up your things, and then he or she will leave. A professional organizer will come into your home and help create solutions to tackle your immediate organizational concerns. Afterward, he or she will work with you to create long-term strategies so you can achieve success in this area for years to come.
When to Call a Professional
It makes sense to call a professional organizer if you are a chronically disorganized person, but many find that a professional organizer can help in a variety of other circumstances such as:
Life Changing Events
Throughout the course of life, situations change. People move, get married, start families, take care of aging parents and much more. These events bring new responsibilities and “stuff” into your life. Hiring a professional organizer for just a few hours can help you reorganize your life to fit your new circumstances.
Whether you have a new home office or simply need to regain control of your financial records, a professional organizer can help you centralize and cull your paperwork. He or she can also help you set up a system for document retention that will keep your paperwork manageable going forward.
If you are making structural or remodeling changes to your home – adding a room, redesigning the kitchen, changing a child’s room into a hobby room or office (or vice versa) – a professional organizer can help optimize your design. By making suggestions for shelving and storage containers, and by teaching you how to use your existing space, an organizer truly helps you work and live more effectively.
If you work out of your home, it’s important to keep designated spaces for working and living. Unless you have a dedicated office that no one else uses, a professional organizer can help you create a space where you can get your work done without infringing on the busy living spaces in your home.
What to Look For
Once you make the decision to hire a clutter coach, it’s time to find the best one for your needs. By understanding what a professional organizer can do for you and what your specific goals are, you can begin to narrow down the list. You’ll know you have the right professional organizer for you because he or she will check off all of the following qualifications:
- You must be able to trust your organizer. Sometimes there are sensitive documents or life situations that you’ll have to share with your organizer so you can find long-term solutions. The organizer will be making suggestions on how you live your life and what belongings you should keep or consider discarding, so it needs to be someone you have confidence in.
- Many times, the reason you need an organizer is embarrassing or sensitive. Most organizers have seen homes in a wide range of disarray; your situation isn’t unique (even if you feel it might be). Your organizer should be non-judgmental about the circumstances you’re in and be able to make suggestions to you in a way that doesn’t feel threatening or condescending.
- Because your organizer is developing a system that works for you, his or her listening skills must be exceptional. Understanding how you ended up at this point can help the organizer make a plan to fix it. Can the organizer take in the information you provide about your concerns and your lifestyle to create organizational bliss?
- Your organizer should also be able to offer creative solutions specific to your organizational challenges. After all, what will ultimately work best is a creative, customized solution that meets your specific needs.
Where to Find a Professional Organizer
One of the most reputable places to find a qualified professional organizer is the NAPO website. This database contains numerous professional organizers and productivity consultants, and it allows you to search for people located near you. The NAPO website also provides Certified Professional Organizers (CPOs), who are professional organizers that have met certain customer care and qualification standards that helped them earn this certification.
Professional organizers looking for new clients may also place ads in local newspapers, in classified ads or even on sites like Craigslist. Many professional organizers also have their own websites where you can read customer testimonials, learn about fees, and see what services are available.
Another great way to find a professional organizer is to simply ask the people around you. You might be surprised at how many people in your circle of friends have used professional organizers or at least know someone who has used one before. Personal references from people you know can sometimes be the best resources to help you find the right person for the job.
No matter how you find out about a professional organizer, make sure to do your due diligence. Ask for references and make phone calls to previous and current clients. Before you invite someone into your home, take some time to ensure it’s someone you can trust.
What to Expect
If you plan to use a professional organizer, determine your goals ahead of time so you and the organizer have the same expectations throughout the project.
- Be specific about what you want. Do you need help with one problem area, like an overstuffed guest closet, or do you need help cleaning out your entire house?
- Decide on your budget in advance. Professional organizers charge varying amounts depending on the person and the part of the country where you live, but you can expect to pay about $50-$90 per hour. One cluttered room can take one to three days to complete, depending on the amount of work that needs to be done.
- How much control do you want to relinquish? Do you want the organizer to come up with a plan that you will execute on your own, or do you want the organizer to help you sort through the clutter? The more specific you are, the more smoothly your project will run.
Be sure to find a storage unit and work with your organizer when packing and storing your belongings. From a simple, one-room project to a cross-country move, a professional organizer can help make life easier.