There are many things living without rent in my mind, but one of the most unhappy thoughts is the inside of my closet. I want to be an organized person – I buy small containers and baskets, and often throw away anything that doesn’t bring me joy. Somehow, I never manage to get my stuff in perfect, Instagram-worthy order. That’s why when I had the opportunity to try out a closet organizer on Yelp, I jumped at the chance.
To put on the record, I have always been a little skeptical about whether it was worth hiring a professional organizer for any part of my house. Yeah, it bothers me that the food in my pantry isn’t lined up and color coded, and my sweaters are in a controlled heap of chaos. But, I thought, if I really wanted my house to be perfectly organized, I could do it myself.
I continued down this path for years, until I recently bought my own organizing products and tried to declutter my closet on my own. Unsurprisingly, it was not a success. Not only did I not understand how to put them in place in my closet, but I also did not know how to store my clothes in the containers in an accessible way, or how to use them to create a real system. I realized there might be something to these professional organizers after all.
Fast forward to my first session with Kim Jones of Lock & Key Home in Louisville, Kentucky and — spoiler alert — my suspicions were confirmed. Read on to learn more about the process of hiring a home organizer from Yelp, my experience organizing my closet for the first time, and why I now think it’s 100% worth leaving. some things to the experts.
Find the organizer
Because this particular organizing service was provided by Yelp, I had no luck finding Lock & Key on the platform. But since this is the most important step in the whole “hiring an organizer” process, I reached out to Yelp to get some insight from the brand on how best to approach a search.
Cost is usually one of (if not the) biggest deciding factor in whether or not to hire someone, which is why Yelp trend expert Tara Lewis recommends using the “Request a Quote” feature on the platform from the start. “Often, figuring out where to start on an organizing project is the hardest part,” she told TZR. “With Request a Quote, you can collect interest and pricing from multiple businesses at once, all within the app.”
To narrow things down further, Lewis also suggests checking out the reviews — an obvious but important step. “You’ll be able to read about other people’s experience with a specific organizer, see if it was positive, and feel confident that you’re working with the right person.” And don’t forget to also check out the photos of each organizer. “It’s hard to imagine what you’re getting into without visuals, so enjoy these photos!” she says. “Yelp users often upload photos of a project’s final results and it’s a great way to see if it’s what you’re looking for.”
Once you’ve found a few companies you’re interested in, set up calls with each to get a feel for their operation, style and availability, Lewis continues. When talking to someone you’re considering for the job, also be transparent about your needs. “One of the most important things to consider is the timeline you have in mind for the project,” Lewis points out. “Whatever end date you have in mind, be upfront with the house organizer to make sure you’re on the same page.”
Prepare for the session
Because there are so many aspects to my closet – I have dresser drawers and other small spaces where I store accessories – I expected preparing for the organizing session to be complicated . It was surprisingly short and simple.
Since Jones lives about an hour away from me, I opted for a virtual consultation to discuss my space and needs. In all, it took about 10 minutes. During the call, Jones asked me a few questions about my wardrobe setup, what I liked, what I didn’t like. Once we were done talking she asked me to text her pictures of everything and the measurements of the space. A few days later, she sent me an email with a selection of organizing products she was planning to use to check that they matched the decorating style of my home. With that, we set a date.
This was all incredibly easy, but it’s important to note that I did my own preparation before our call and the initial organization session. I had cleaned out my closet for months before, so I had nothing to clean once Jones arrived. During our phone call Jones told me this was a big help as it meant no time was also spent getting rid of things – something to consider if you want the process to be a bit faster and smoother.
During the session
Like the preparation, the actual organization session was much easier than expected. Jones and a member of his team showed up at 9am on the agreed date, and I immediately showed them my closet and storage. They asked me a few more questions, such as what I usually wear day-to-day (so they can create “grab and go” items if needed), told me about their process, and put to work.
While they were organizing, we had little interaction; sometimes they would get down and get stuff out of their car, but otherwise they would do their own thing. I was working from home during all of this, and was shocked at their quietness and efficiency – even though I had never done this before, I was sure it would take up more of my time. But honestly, there were times when I forgot they were there.
Around 2:30 p.m. they told me they were done and asked me to check it out. They then walked me through everything they did, made sure I liked it, and gave me a lesson in folding my clothes so I could maintain the system they created. Other than a quick return this weekend to set up a few storage products that didn’t arrive in time, that was it for our session.
It may sound like I’m exaggerating, but I was blown away by the results of Lock & Key’s work. To be fair, my closet and drawers weren’t in a completed state of disarray to begin with (or not all of them, at least), so some of the changes Jones implemented didn’t seem so drastic. But by using them every day, my life is completely changed by the strategy and the effectiveness of the modifications.
Unfortunately, it would probably take days to list everything his team did, but I have a few favorite details from the session. In my closet, Jones separated each garment into specific categories, such as short sleeves, jackets, and dresses. Before, I just had most things by color; now it’s easier to find clothes by season and tint, which makes a much bigger difference than I expected. As for my shoes, it didn’t add a bunch of annoying lockers. Instead, she categorized them on my shelves and put all the smaller shoes in boxes to stack them. My flip flops and other related items went into baskets – a much smarter solution than my previous pile on the floor.
The best part, however, was my drawers. Before, every item I owned was randomly stacked, making it impossible to see anything but the top piece. Jones stopped that by including products like drawer dividers, clear open top bins and grid organizers. And the most radical change? She used the “folder” method to fold everything (and I mean everything) so that I could not only see my clothes, but also not mess things up trying to find an outfit.
On top of all that, the Lock & Key team has everything labeled. My closet has rod dividers noting each category, and my drawers have tape marking the contents of each individual section. It’s a simple addition, of course, but it’s yet another detail that makes my mornings so much easier.
None of the changes made by Jones and his team probably seem very drastic. But anyway, they completely changed the way I dress. I no longer fear opening my drawers, having to rummage through piles of discarded shoes, or trying to find a tank top in a sea of jackets. Every item I own is in a place that perfectly matches the way I live and is arranged to make it easy to find parts just by looking. Really, my only qualm is that folding my clothes takes *slightly* longer (and I haven’t perfected that yet), so I’m dragging my feet putting things away now. But luckily, I am improving every day.
Lock & Key brought expertise that I just don’t have to this project, and did it in a simple, quick and painless way. I’m still shocked at how easy the whole process was from start to finish, and I’m already wondering what I should hire them to organize next.
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