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About Organizing Your Office, Tech Tools & Life

by Donna D. McMillan Newsletters Media
by Karen L. Simon Newsletters Case Studies

Choosing The Right Professional Organizer

Professional Organizers do much more than just clean up the mess. They are not housekeepers who are organized. Finding one to help you get organized can be a difficult task. Some are consultants, while others are more like personal assistants who can do maintenance organizing by coming back frequently. Some organizers specialize in residences only, others specialize in businesses only, and many offer services in both settings.

Before you hire an organizer, it is important to know some of the differences: 

Consultants make recommendations and teach you techniques to stay organized. They work with you to devise customized systems to keep you on track. An experienced consultant will talk with you and your family or co-workers to formulate a system that follows the way you think. They are specifically trained to work with various personality types, have extensive knowledge about organizing products, and usually have numerous resources for solving problems and issues that can arise.

Residential organizers specialize in home office spaces, kitchens, garages, closets and relocation coordination. They have knowledge about keeping a home organized and the unique issues that involve storage spaces in a home. A good residential organizing consultant will teach you skills to keep your home clear of clutter.

Business organizing consultants help with paper management and filing systems, time management and workflow. They provide an overview of the current situation through a series of interviews with the employees involved. They identify problem areas, recommend products and system modifications, plus offer training sessions. Consultants are accustomed to asking you the right questions in order to set-up a system that will work for you and your staff.

Experience Level Of A Professional Organizer

It is important that you feel comfortable with your organizing consultant. A skillful consultant can help you to become and stay organized while working himself/herself out of a job!  When choosing a consultant, consider the following points.

An accomplished professional organizer will:

  • explain and let you ask questions

  • not talk down to you or over your head, instead is gentle and non-judgmental

  • teach you techniques to stay organized

  • work with you side-by-side, coaching you through your project

  • know about product options

  • always give you choices and/or options

  • give you support with patience, understanding and confidentiality

  • provide periodic maintenance and a check-up when needed

  • be well-connected with others in the field and refer you to other professionals if not specialized in a particular area.

Hiring Your Professional Organizer

When you decide to hire an organizer, here are some items you should expect:

  • Most organizers specialize in specific areas, e.g., homes, corporations, small businesses (in-home or small office), paper management, closets and kitchens, space management, relocations, and more. Ask what is their primary specialty.  Experience, background and training varies. How long they have been in business? Are they a member of an association? This indicates that they have resources for continuing education in their field.

  • Be willing to participate in the process and make decisions.

  • Be open to and willing to consider recommendations.

  • Donít clean up before your appointment. Experienced professional organizers need to see what youíre struggling with.

  • Consultants are customarily paid by the hour. They are paid for time spent meeting with you to discuss your project and providing hands-on organizing services. Some organizers charge a per project fee while others sell blocks of time. Rates range from $50/hour to $150/hour reflecting skills and experience

  • Be sure you know their policies concerning payment of services and cancellations. Expect to make full payment at the time of service, much like any service company. Some companies accept credit cards.

  • Keep in mind that getting organized is a process and not just a one-day project.

Hiring the right professional organizer whose services match your needs can seem stressful, but it doesnít have to be.  As with any service, knowing the right questions to ask and what to look out for can make your experience successful and satisfying.

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