What Is a Professional Organizer? Here’s What Happens When You Hire a Professional Home Organizer
A professional organizer can help set home organization goals and guide clients through the process for homeowners interested in decluttering and organizing their homes.
Q: We just put an addition on our home, which I’m hoping will help with the clutter that’s built up over the years. A friend suggested getting a professional organizer to work on organizing the new space. What does this individual do, and how do I find a professional organizer near me?
A: Professional organizers are good problem-solvers, and they specifically help people resolve issues—large or small—regarding their home organization. They work with their clients to identify the best uses for home spaces and the steps needed to get there. The ultimate goal of a professional organizer is to make their clients’ lives better by helping them make the most of their space, and home organization helps them achieve this.
By hiring a professional organizer, a homeowner will receive guidance on home organization, encouraging them to think about how to use their home in new ways. They’ll also gain handy and sustainable practices to keep organized after professional organization services end. In other words, these professionals don’t just show up and organize a home; they teach their ways through hands-on approaches so their clients can continue the work going forward.
Here’s what homeowners should know about the process of hiring and working with a professional organizer, as well as how to go about finding one in their local area.
A professional organizer is someone who organizes other people’s lives and belongings for a living.
A professional organizer is an expert in optimizing space and functionality in a home. Professional organizers can work with a variety of clients or specialize in certain populations (like children), situations (like hoarding), or materials (like paperwork). No matter who their clients are, a professional organizer serves as a coach and guide in a homeowner’s process of decluttering and organizing belongings.
Homeowners who are hesitant about the cost of hiring someone to help with clutter might be surprised to learn that professional organizers can be pretty affordable. For less than $500 on average, a homeowner can hire someone to spend a day coming up with and executing an organizational strategy. Many professionals charge by the hour ($55 to $100 per hour), with completed jobs typically ranging from 2 to 10 hours.
Because all homeowners have unique needs, goals, and preferences, a professional organizer’s actual work will vary by client. In general, professional organizers help their clients figure out their home organization goals and develop plans and recommendations to reach them.
The most important thing to note about professional organizers is that they don’t work alone. Anyone seeking out their services is an active part of the organization process. This ensures that what’s gained from professional organization becomes part of everyday life.
A professional organizer will help you get rid of items that you don’t need and put systems in place to keep you organized.
Once home organization goals are set, a professional organizer will facilitate a client’s decisions about using spaces. To reshape areas for better function and efficiency, it’s often necessary to get rid of some things—which isn’t always easy.
Professional organizers tackle the challenge of decluttering by asking non-judgmental questions and providing honest feedback. They know how to get to the root of why some possessions remain untouched and can help a person decide how different types of belongings relate to home organization goals. For unwanted belongings, professional organizers can assist in planning the disposal, recycling, donation, or sale.
After decluttering, professional organizers sort and make the best use of spaces. To keep things maintained, they’ll also discuss and educate clients on a system to interact with things and add or replace materials as needed.
A professional organizer can also help you manage your time better.
A more organized home is a more efficient home, and when rooms and spaces function the way they’re expected to, it actually saves time. This is helpful for overall time management.
For example, a poorly organized kitchen causes homeowners to waste time. Even if a homeowner knows where things are kept in “organized chaos,” haphazard movement through a kitchen adds extra time and effort to tasks that can be easier—and quicker. For any task, having tools that are easy to find and access makes the process smoother.
Professional organizers seek out opportunities to smooth processes in their clients’ daily lives. By having expectations and systems in place for everyday responsibilities, people can accomplish more and free up time to explore interests and personal wellness.
Other tasks a professional organizer can help with include organizing bills, creating shopping lists, and scheduling appointments for family members and others in a household. Keeping “administrative” tasks streamlined and organized can ultimately help homeowners manage their time better and keep their overall lives functioning more seamlessly.
There’s a certifying body for professional organizers: NAPO, or the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals.
NAPO is a national association with over 3,500 members worldwide. It is dedicated to providing education and professional development for organization and productivity professionals. Professional organizers who join NAPO have access to courses, community, and a national conference, where they update their industry knowledge.
NAPO professional organizers are committed to helping people bring order to their lives, and they pledge to a Code of Ethics that maintains professional integrity and client confidentiality. By hiring a NAPO member, a person can expect a professional who meets industry standards and provides a fair, equitable home organization experience.
People interested in finding a NAPO professional organizer can search for members using the association’s online directory. Professionals can be searched for by region or specialty.
A professional organizer isn’t a house cleaner or an interior designer, and they won’t force their services on you.
Any professional organizer will be quick to clarify that they are not a cleaning or decorating service. Home organization is a process with many decisions, and for outcomes to last, lifestyle adjustments may be part of the process. The systems created in a home organization plan with a professional organizer require conscious effort, ongoing interest, and motivation.
Because professional organization requires a lot of focus and dedication, it’s not something anyone will ever be forced into. Ideas and plans are co-created with the mutual input of the professional organizer and the client, so they should always be within a client’s comfort level. If they’re not, they won’t be executed.
A good professional organizer will focus on the areas in which a client wants help. They are working to support the client’s interests—not their own.
Professional organizers can be especially helpful when moving, relocating, or downsizing.
Changing homes is overwhelming, and for some people, assistance from a professional organizer can bring focus and clarity to the many parts of the process. Some professional organizers actually specialize in this, and they can help with everything from packing, working with movers, and unpacking and organizing in the next home.
A professional organizer during any kind of moving process can be a great resource because they can help a person figure out which possessions need to be moved to the new location. The professional organizer can also review available spaces and help form organization plans that can help the client evaluate which items actually need to be packed. Hiring someone to help with organization before a move can ensure homeowners have a plan in place ready to go on moving day, so they’re not spending valuable time figuring out where things go once they’re unloaded from the moving truck or vehicle.
Once everything is moved to the new location, professional organizers can assist with getting boxes packed and unpacked in a logical, useful way that minimizes damage and inconvenience for daily activities.
People who are indecisive or have difficulty making time may benefit from a professional organizer.
Investing in a professional organizer may be a way to commit for anyone who spends a lot of time thinking about getting things done without actually doing them. The amount of time a client works with a professional organizer varies from hours to weeks, but the value of the investment is worth what’s put into it.
Professional organizers don’t do things for their clients, but their work leads to results because decisions are made. A professional organizer can’t make decisions for others. Still, they use their objective perspective to guide people through the thought exercises and tools needed to develop solutions—for the short and long term.