Is your closet so stuffed that you’re secretly hanging new purchases in the back of your kids’ closets? Have you purchased a new stapler in frustration after searching for hours for one of the two you already own? Do you trip over piles of books in the hallway because you’ve run out of room on your bookshelves? Have you tried before to purge and organize your belongings but gave up in frustration?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions — especially the latter, it’s probably time to call in the pros. And yes, there are certified professionals who can expertly help you organize your home, your office, your life, and your calendar.
When to call a professional organizer
Professional organizers aren’t just for hoarders. They work with down-sizing seniors, students, people with disabilities, folks who are putting their homes up for sale, busy professionals whose offices need extra attention, overwhelmed parents, and the list goes on. In today’s busy, consumer-oriented society, it’s not uncommon to need a helping hand in the organizational department.
Decide on the services you need, and then contact a few to find someone who has experience in those areas.
The pros are especially needed when your own efforts have not brought the results you wish. A professional will keep you on track, be objective about hard-to-let-go items like sentimental keepsakes, and help you remove things from your home. Some professionals will assist with garage or estate sales, arrange for donation pickups or hire someone to haul trash to the dump.
The National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) is a certifying organization that lists its professionals on its website. It also lists helpful questions to use as a starting point when interviewing organizers. It’s important to consider your budget and their personality before hiring someone to help you sift through all your worldly goods. Since the process will likely be emotional at times, make sure you’ll be comfortable with the person you choose.
Education and training
A NAPO-certified professional organizer is accredited after completing a combination of on-the-job experience, continuing education units, and a high school or college degree. In addition, applicants must agree to adhere to a code of ethics and pass a board-administered exam. Recertification requires continuing education.
What to expect
A professional organizer should clearly communicate a strategy and plan of action. He or she should aid inefficient decision making and help discern how to get you the results you want. Certified organizers will also help you deal with emotional attachments you may have to your stuff.
Cost to hire a professional organizer
Fees vary by region and level of experience. Inquire about hourly rates or any packaged services offered at a discount. While hourly rates may seem high, remember that you’re likely to complete the job more quickly with professional assistance. Another money-saving approach is to hire an organizer for an initial consult that includes specific “homework” assignments for you to complete on your own. Then make periodic follow-up appointments to check your progress and maintain your enthusiasm.
Related – Hiring the Pros to Organize Your Garage