An organized home and office are key to keeping your peace of mind. Clutter can drain your energy and cause unnecessary anxiety. Of course, staying organized isn’t always easy. If you tend to be disorganized or struggle with time management and productivity, you may want to hire a professional organizer.
According to the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO), professional organizers can help you declutter and develop systems to stay organized. If you are interested in hiring help to get organized, follow these tips to find the right person for the job.
How to hire a professional organizer
- Understand what professional organizers do and don’t do. Most professional organizers offer a wide range of services. Some may focus on tackling specific organization projects, which generally involve helping you sort through your things, store what’s important efficiently, and get rid of or donate what you no longer need or want. Other professionals may focus on getting to the root of your tendency to be disorganized, by helping you work through the psychological part of organization. However, professional organizers are not cleaners. Expect to get organized– but count them out for vacuuming and cleaning your windows.
- Determine if you need a professional organizer. If you suspect that you need to hire a professional or feel your mess has officially gotten out of hand and you can no longer deal with it on your own, it’s probably time to hire someone. Professional organizers are non-judgmental, willing to help, and can offer you the unbiased opinion you can only get from a stranger. Their informed guidance and hands-on help may benefit you for years to come. However, if you tend to be relatively neat to begin with, you might be better off saving some money by spending the time to organize your space on your own.
- Decide on the type of service you need. Because professional organizers offer such a wide array of services, it’s important to know what you need before you start calling around. Think about exactly what you need and know the full scope of your project. Keep in mind that professional organizers can help you to organize and declutter your home or office (as a whole or by sections), organize a move, or downsize to a smaller home. They can also help with chronic disorganization, workflow and technology organization, and organization for seniors that need help with bill paying, insurance forms, and tax documentation. Some professional organizers even specialize in information and data organization, photograph and multi-media organization, or displaying and cataloguing collections. Getting specific on what you need is the best way find an ideal candidate.
- Set your budget. According to NAPO Austin, fees for professional organizers vary based on experience, geographic location, and services offered. Some charge by the hour, while others charge by the project. Others may offer package deals. As with most services the more you need, the more you’ll spend. Setting a budget ahead of time will help you narrow your options and avoid overspending on a whim.
- Find a reputable organizer. Instead of simply going with the cheapest option, look for someone who specializes in the service you need to get the best results. Someone who is certified, has advanced training, years of experience, and comes highly recommended is often worth the extra cost.
- Interview a few candidates. Many professional organizers are willing to give you a free consultation over the phone or by email, but you may have to pay a consultation fee to have them come to your home or office to see the problem for themselves. Whatever route you choose, ask plenty of questions. Here’s a printable list from NAPO. In addition to asking about their background and experience, ask them to describe their process and a typical session. Inquire about their fees – what’s included and what isn’t – as well as unexpected expenses that could arise for any supplies they might need. Find out how they handle confidentiality and cancelations, and if they work alone or with a team. Discuss what will be done with things you don’t need and if there is a charge for disposing of unwanted items. Finally, ask about their schedule and availability and how much time you need to spend with them to get the most out of their service. Always ask for local references if they are available.
- Compare and then hire. Once you’ve interviewed a few candidates and contacted their references, compare the pros and cons of each professional. Take their personality into account too. After all, you’ll be inviting this person into your home and working closely with them so it’s important that you get along well. You’ll likely find one candidate is a better match for you than the others. When you hire someone, be sure to get something in writing that outlines what services you can expect and how much you will be billed.
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