While the field of professional organizing may not be new, the concept of hiring a professional organizer might be to you. Although gaining in popularity due to recent TV shows, professional organizing is still very much a niche industry. The concept of hiring an organizer to come to your home might seem foreign. I think we get so caught up in our corner of the world that we forget that others don’t know what and how we do our jobs. If you agree and you’re shaking your head then you may wonder what exactly does a professional organizer do? How do they work? What is the process? Each of us organizers maintain our own business model and specialties, so I cannot provide a cookie cutter answer. I can, however, give you a peek inside my world and answer these questions from my perspective.
What is a Professional Organizer?
A professional organizer is an individual that helps others to simplify, streamline, declutter, and create long lasting, maintainable solutions. Professional organizers may organize an individual’s objects, paper, or time/productivity and many subspecialize as well. For example, here at Abrams Home Solutions, my specialties are working with young, busy families as well as seniors who are downsizing. Although it’s not a requirement, many professional organizers, such as myself, are members of NAPO, the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, and receive ongoing education into best practices. When it comes down to it, we are a diverse group of men and women that truly care about helping others reap the benefits of living a more organized life.
What is the First Step?
As mentioned above, I can’t speak for all professional organizers because each will run their business in the manner that works best for them. Here at Abrams Home Solutions, I start with an in-home strategy session. What is discussed at these sessions will vary depending on the requested service, but both begin with a complimentary phone consultation.
After the phone consultation an appointment is set for the on-site strategy session. Clients that request general organizing services (not moving or downsizing) are emailed a document to complete prior to the strategy session. The form is a helpful tool for the client to think about what is/isn’t working in their space, what the client wants to change or incorporate into the space, questions pertaining to why the client has struggled to get or maintain organization, as well as questions regarding budget, timeline, and goals. This form is reviewed during the strategy session.
The Strategy Session
The next step in the process is the on-site strategy session. What is discussed will vary based on requested service, but in general we discuss goals, timeline and budget. For general organizing clients, I take measurements of various spaces as needed. For moving/downsizing clients, we may begin “tagging” furniture/objects and create lists of items to keep/sell/donate. For all clients, I take pictures of spaces/objects. I also discuss next steps and if the client is proceeding with hands on organizing services, I review and sign the client contract with the client. These strategy sessions are generally two hours and I make sure to spend plenty of time answering all of the client’s questions. I also acknowledge that the client may feel vulnerable bringing me into their home and I inform the client that everything discussed is strictly confidential.
The Action Plan
After the strategy session is complete, I put all of my notes, resources, and product recommendations into an Action Plan to email to the client. This plan summarizes our strategy session and outlines the agreed upon goals. Resources may include referrals to other professionals or contact information for donation/recycling. Product recommendations may include shelving, bins, baskets, etc. If the client is proceeding with hands-on organizing services, the Action Plan also outlines the responsibilities of the organizer and the client. For example, if I recommend shelving be installed in a space, the Action Plan shows if I am coordinating a handyman for this task or whether the client will handle prior to the next appointment. If necessary, and after given the go ahead by the client, I will purchase any necessary products/supplies and bring them with me to the appointment.
This is where the magic really happens! During these sessions, I work independently or with the client to sort, purge, declutter, contain, and set up systems to maintain the space. Or, in the case of a moving/downsizing client, sort, purge, declutter, disperse objects from the home, and coordinate/oversee the agreed upon parts of the transition. There are a lot of moving parts to these sessions and sometimes, phone calls and coordination of services in between these sessions. In the end, the established goals are met within the discussed timeline and budget and the client is relieved of stress, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, and a host of other adjectives!
The Wrap Up
After services are completed, I follow up with clients approximately two weeks later. During this 30 minute or less phone call, we review the goals and discuss if the client has any further questions, needs, or concerns about backsliding. If there has been backsliding, we will discuss strategies to implement back into the space. I also take time to make sure that every client is fully satisfied with the service provided and that the client’s expectations have been met.
As you can see, a lot goes into the process of working with a Professional Organizer. I hope that this blog post demystifies the profession and the process for you, especially if you’ve thought of working with a professional organizer in your home. If you have any questions, reach out to me! I’m super friendly and would love to chat…I’m only a phone call away!