December 1, 2022

How to Hire and Organize for Your Home – Forbes Advisor

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Stacks of papers. Overloaded drawers. The messiest garage in the neighborhood. True pandemonium. If that describes the space you’re living in right now (and you’re not happy with it), maybe it’s time to step in on the clutter.

Clutter is often overwhelming, so before you embark on this potentially difficult feat, enlist the help of a professional organizer who knows a thing or two about what it takes to put clutter in its place.

What is a Professional Organizer?

Yes, there are such people – many, in fact. The National Association of Productivity and Organizational Professionals (NAPO), for example, has more than 3,500 members across the United States.

Although specialties may vary from person to person, in general, a professional organizer is someone who shows clients how to implement a systematic approach to managing clutter, says Ben Soreff, who runs House to Home Organizing in Connecticut with its two business partners.

“Our goal is [to help you] put things where they belong, not just where they fit,” says Soreff. “It will not only [allow you to] find what you’re looking for, but also to be more productive.

Professional organizers can work in almost any area of ​​your home, from closets and home offices to garages, attics and game rooms.

Find the right professional organizer

With thousands of choices, how do you find the one that’s right for you?

Check the references of a professional organizer

First, you’ll want to search through those with the correct credentials. Most trained and experienced professional organizers are members of professional organizations, such as NAPO or the American Society of Professional Organizers, and have certifications indicating that they know the ins and outs of the field.

The websites of these organizations typically allow you to search for members by geography, zip code, and specialty, making it easy to find a list of candidates in your area who are qualified in the type of organization you need.

Consider your goals, budget and timeline

However, do not pick up the phone and start dialing the number right away. NAPO recommends in its hiring guide (for people looking for professional organizers) that you stop and think about your goals, budget and timeline before you start contacting potential candidates – in order to know if they can work with you, they want you to know a little about these three things beforehand. Thinking about this ahead of time will prepare you for the initial conversation.

Arrange a consultation

Once you’ve narrowed it down to your favorites, your best bet is to schedule a consultation, says Jeffrey Phillip, a professional organizer and interior designer in New York City. Some offer free consultations; others charge consultation fees.

Either way, this is a step not to be missed, as it gives you the opportunity to check out their personality, style, and work ethic. By the end of the consultation, you should have a good idea of ​​whether you will feel comfortable having this person go behind the scenes in your personal space.

Be aware of what professional organizers charge

You’ll also hopefully know how much money you’ll need to invest in the process (since they’ll see your disorganized space firsthand). What is typical? Essentially, nothing, Phillip said.

“Depending on where you are in the country, it [can be] very different,” he says, explaining that some professional organizers charge by the hour while others charge by the project. In addition, some work alone while others work in pairs or even teams. This will impact the price.

In any case, don’t expect it to be cheap – the hourly rates of genuine professional organizers are unlikely to fall below $50.

How to Choose a Professional Organizer You Trust

However, don’t make a decision based on budget alone. On the surface, business organization is about your possessions, but it’s actually about much more than that. Like how you interact with these assets, what they mean to you, and how you want to exist in your space. For this reason, trust is paramount.

“[The client] need to believe that [the organizer] won’t throw anything away without permission,” says Soreff. “They also need to be comfortable with [the organizer] going through their business, some of which can be very personal.

Checking references is one way to identify if someone is trustworthy, but you should also follow your instincts. If someone gives you an unpleasant feeling, move on (there are plenty of other organizers there).

Set reasonable expectations for your project

Once you’ve found the right person, is it okay to just relax while they spend the next two or so hours transforming your space into something that looks like it belonged in an episode of The Home Edit?

Not even remotely, Phillip said.

For one, your personal organizer of choice can book weeks (or even months). It may take some patience to even register on their schedule, he says. In addition, the work itself takes time. Part of it is because of the logistics (making a plan, developing a new system, learning said system), but it also has a lot to do with the emotional connection you have to your stuff and the fact that the organizer accompanies you throughout the process. to potentially part with it.

That’s all to say, don’t set your expectations based on what you see on Netflix. Even if you watch a “reality” organization show, in reality, it’s anything but, says Phillip.

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