Deciding whether to hire a professional organizer can be confusing because you may be able to just tackle your house on your own. So why spend the money? However, it will be much faster and easier to maintain with help.
Professional organizers are generally worth the price if you are overwhelmed with your home and don’t know where to begin. They will help you work through the process of deciding what to get rid of and how to organize so that you know exactly where everything is and where it should be put away.
This article will discuss what professional organizers do and don’t do, benefits and drawbacks, questions to ask before hiring a professional organizer, what they cost, and if professional organizers are worth it.
What is a professional organizer?
Professional organizers specialize in helping others declutter and organize their homes.
They work with people to improve their homes by methodically going through items to see what to donate, throw away, or sell, how to organize the items in the home, and arranging the items so they will be more functional and aesthetically appealing.
A professional organizer assesses their potential client’s needs and makes sure that they can meet those needs based on their specialty.
What does a professional organizer do?
A professional organizer will meet with you for an initial consultation where you will discuss what you would like accomplished. They will take lots of notes and pictures (if you are okay with that).
They will walk through the home to assess what needs to be done and then come up with a plan that is tailored to your specific needs and situation.
Often the initial consultation will be free. At this point, they are just wanting to see what you would like help with, what organizing solutions may work, and measuring your space.
Professional organizers help people live more efficiently by removing unnecessary items and creating spaces for all remaining items.
Once the decluttering process is done, they will sort items based on the type and where the items are used. They will be able to see what organizing solutions could work in the home once they determine what type of items you have.
Once hired, often professional organizers will bring different bins and organizing solutions with them to give options since everyone has different organizing styles.
The bins will be included in the price of the project if you choose to keep them. Otherwise, some professional organizers will take a day to go shopping with you to assist you in picking organizing products that would work well in your home.
They will also provide tips on how to store items so that you can keep your home organized and tidy long-term.
What professional organizers don’t do
Professional organizers often do not clean the home, but may at an additional cost. However, their specialty is making the home livable, not necessarily clean.
They are not designers or interior decorators usually, so they likely won’t provide tips on decorating, painting, repairing, staging, etc. For some professional organizers, they may also have expertise in this area, so they would be the exception.
Professional organizers may also have little experience in your specific situation and needs, so it’s important that you invest in professionals who specialize in the services that you need.
While many organizers are also very good at time management, strategies in time management are not usually included in the service they provide.
So they generally won’t help with planning events, creating schedules for your family, or meal planning. If this is something you are interested in, speak with your professional organizer to see if they include that service.
Benefits of hiring a professional organizer
Professional organizers can be very helpful for a number of reasons.
- They bring their own equipment with them including containers, labels, boxes, or bins, and can help find free storage space in your home
- They free up more time for productivity by getting all the distractions out of the way
- They can be hired at an hourly rate, so if money is a concern, you can choose to only have help for a few hours instead of days (or months)
- Save you time in your daily life not having to search for items
- Could help improve mental clarity, increase focus, and reduce stress levels
- Professional organizers pride themselves on teaching new organizational skills so that clients don’t need them again in the future
- The professional organizer may provide support in helping you let go of items that have sentimental value but that you don’t really use or need
- Decluttering is not always a fun, freeing process, but a professional organizer takes a gentle approach to determining what to get rid of and helps to see why life may be better without holding onto so many items
- You can hire a professional organizer for a one-time project, such as helping to unpack after a move and putting things away into the right spaces immediately
Ideally, after the home has been decluttered and organized, you won’t need to hire a professional organizer again. So the initial cost will be for a short time only. The goal of the professional organizer is to teach you what your organizing style is and how you can be successful going forward without any additional help
Drawbacks to hiring a professional organizer
While it is very beneficial to hire a professional organizer, there are reasons why some people may not want to hire one.
- The cost can be a major drawback because it can add up quickly if you have a lot of work to be done
- Not all professional organizers specialize in the type of service you are looking for, so it may be hard to find exactly what you need in your area
- Fear of items getting lost or donated when you may still want them
- Some people aren’t comfortable with other people touching their items and making decisions for them. However, it is important to understand that they are not in your home to just throw everything away. You will be part of the whole decision process on what should stay and what should go.
- It can be hard to find somebody who you feel comfortable with
How long will the professional organizer take in your home?
This process can take a few hours or several months depending on how much you have and what is needed for each area of the house.
The professional organizer will also go through all of the items in your home, sorting out what should stay and what needs to get donated or thrown away. This can include more detailed areas such as paperwork, which will often take more time to sort through.
In many cases, the professional organizer will only need to come to your home 4-5 times to get through everything. This does not include the initial consultation.
If you are currently living in a home where hoarding of items is taking place, this will take a lot more time because of the emotional attachment to items and the number of items to get through.
Ask the professional organizer how long they think it will take once they have reviewed your home and then you can decide how long you would like them to be there.
Some people will be okay with an organizer coming twice and getting as much done as they can and then the homeowner will take over from there.
Other people may find it’s worth the time and price to hire a professional organizer for as long as it takes to get their home completely in order.
How much does a professional organizer cost?
Depending on the professional organizer’s experience level, it can cost between $35-$125 per hour for their services.
Sometimes if they are just starting out, they will complete a project for free or for a very low price just to get some experience.
The cost also varies depending on where you live, what services you need, and what kind of professional organizer you hire.
If you live in the United States, you can use the calculator on the Home Advisor website to get an estimate of what a professional organizer could cost in your area.
If you live outside of the U.S., you can do a search for “how much do professional organizers cost in…” and then put in your location.
These are just guidelines. Don’t undervalue a professional organizer based on these tools.
Come up with a budget that you are comfortable with and if the person that you are interviewing doesn’t fit into that budget, then interview somebody else.
Tips for finding the right personal organizer for you
Finding the best personal organizer for you will depend on what you need help with and your budget.
Bring several organizers into your home on different days to interview them. You will want to make sure they specialize in what you are hoping to accomplish and that you like them and their personality.
Take the time to walk them through your home so that they can get a good idea of what they are dealing with.
Sometimes professional organizers have to turn down projects because it doesn’t fit what they can do. So it is a two-way relationship/interview process.
Some professional organizers can also provide consultations online. So if you are somebody who just wants advice, you may benefit from finding an organizer who can walk you through what to do while they are on a video call with you.
Asking the right questions upfront will help you select the person who is best for you. The questions below are a great start.
Questions you should ask when interviewing potential organizers
- What will you do when in my home?
- Do you need me to be home throughout the process?
- What hours do you work?
- Will you clean my home?
- How long will the project take?
- What is the cost and how do you accept payment?
- Do you provide bins, containers, labels, and other organizing tools?
- What are your credentials?
- How long have you been a professional organizer?
- Do you work alone or are you part of a team who will come to my home?
- Can you provide references?
- Will you provide tips on how to keep my home organized?
- Do you donate or throw away items for me?
Professional organizers’ qualifications and credentials
Professional organizing is a profession that has been around for years but is gaining momentum as more people recognize the benefits professional organizers can offer.
Depending on where the professional organizer lives, there are different credentials required to be able to enter people’s homes and provide organizing advice.
Some well-known organizing associations are:
National Association of Productivity & Organizing (NAPO) in the United States
Professional Organizers in Canada (POC) in Canada.
Institute of Professional Organisers (IOPO) in Australia.
Association of Professional Declutterers and Organisers (APDO) in the United Kingdom.
Associazione Professional Organizers Italia (APOI) in Italy.
Japan Association of Life Organizers (JALO) in Japan.
Korea Association of Professional Organizers (KAPO) in the Republic of Korea.
There are online courses such as the Organizing Expert Course by Clutterbug which once completed will provide the title of a Certified Organizational Specialist™. Another online option is the Professional Organizing UCPO™ Certification through the Ultimate Academy. There are many other online courses as well.
Other professional organizers may be naturally gifted in decluttering and organizing and through helping family members and friends could receive great references allowing them to create their own organizing business.
Other helpful tips on organizing and decluttering the home:
The right organizational expert can help you reclaim your time and create a more productive, enjoyable lifestyle. Whether the problem is too many clothes in your closet or papers on your desk, hiring an organizer will be worth it if they’re able to provide these benefits for you.
Think about what kind of professional organizer would be best for you and your family and then take a chance. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. If you’re not happy with the service, you can just end that contract and complete the work yourself. Every little bit of help in getting a home in order is a step in the right direction.