When Do You Need a Professional Organizer?

When Do You Need a Professional Organizer?

August 12, 2020 Organizing 2

Sometimes, hiring a Professional Organizer can be especially helpful. What are these times, and how will you find someone you can trust?

A Professional Organizer can be very helpful when:

  • You’ve tried many times to “get organized” on your own. Sometimes, you’ve succeeded. But either you or your housemates have wrought havoc on your system, and you’re ready to learn some new skills that you can use forever.
  • You’ve just had, or are about to have, a life-changing event. A new baby, a promotion, a death in the family, a move, divorce, or marriage, blending two households or families, inheriting furniture and household goods from a parent, serious illness, major home remodeling, going back to school – any of these events can cause an extended period of chaos for even the most organized person.
  • You feel overwhelmed much of the time. Like many of us, you are juggling a busy career, managing a home, kids, pets, spouse, perhaps care of elderly relative, friends, your own health needs, “me time,” volunteer work, and creative time, and you fall into bed every night exhausted, feeling like you’ve spent the day running on a hamster wheel.
  • You are about to sell your home, and want to get it ready to show in the best possible light for the quickest, most advantageous sale.
  • You have a second home, and find it difficult to keep track of what is needed where. Or you sometimes rent out your vacation home, and want to be better organized for “changeover day.”
  • You are caring for a child, young adult, or sibling with disabilities, and his or her needs and schedule seem to dominate the household. You know others must be handling this more successfully, and you’d like to learn how.
  • You want two things at once and can’t figure out how to make your space work. Let’s say you want your living room to be both a cozy family hang-out and a formal showplace to entertain. Or you need your office to be a space where you can spread out papers and supplies, but to meet your boss’ and company standards, it has to look neat and professional at all times.
  • You (or your parents) are about to move into an assisted living community, and need help downsizing and sorting through the accumulated possessions of a lifetime. You (or they) need help: storing furniture or shipping it to relatives, figuring out how to sell or where to donate unneeded items, evaluating family heirlooms, processing paperwork, and so on.

A Professional Organizer also can help you to:

  • Determine your most important goals and objectives, and guide you in setting priorities for the work to be done.
  • Create a clutter-free, workable space and calendar, as well as teach you the skills you need to maintain them.
  • Work within a budget affordable for you, which might include a combination of hands-on help and do-it-yourself work, with additional support via email, texts, phone, Zoom, or Skype.
  • Make decisions about everything you own, and decide what to do with each item you wish to keep, store, or release. What was precious to you at one time may no longer be as important as having more space or making room for new interests.
  • Choose products, supplies, and tools, if needed, that work for your specific needs and fit your budget.
  • Secure additional service help you may need, such as appraisals, junk removal, painter, handyman, housecleaner, or furniture repair person.
  • Negotiate with roommates or family members in a productive, peaceful way.
  • Learn how to use the skills and techniques he/she teaches you so you can continue being organized on your own, after your work together has ended.

Many Professional Organizers are now working only remotely via “Virtual Organizing” – that is, working via phone, Skype, Zoom, email, and/or text. Virtual Organizing may work well for you if:

  • You are self-motivated, and can work well between sessions on your own
  • You just need a “jump-start” to get going
  • You prefer shorter organizing sessions, and/or if
  • You have limited funds for organizing

To find a reputable, experienced Professional Organizer, you can ask for word-of-mouth referrals, or search the website of the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (www.NAPO.net). Interview a few organizers – most offer a no-cost phone consultation – before making a decision. Just as with your doctor or hair stylist, your personalities have to “click,” and you have to feel comfortable. He or she should be a good match for your needs, personal manner, and budget, and should listen carefully to you. All NAPO organizers must agree to abide by a code of ethics, which includes absolute confidentiality, among others. As most NAPO members have one or more specific areas of expertise (home offices, time management, kitchens, paperwork, families with special needs, technology, etc.) we will be happy to refer you to a colleague if we think we are not the best match for you and your unique requirements.

Whether you choose to “go it alone,” find a friend, or use professional help, remember that the first steps you take will be the same. 

As always, I welcome your comments and organizing questions.

Gail R. Shapiro

About the author

Gail R. Shapiro Gail Shapiro is pleased to bring you her experience, education, and energy to help you create harmony, efficiency, and systems that work. Gail first worked as a Professional Organizer in the mid-1980s, after many years in the development field, and before founding a non-profit community women’s center. She brings her clients more than 40 years of teaching and organizing skills garnered from her work as a director of development, project manager, grant proposal writer, executive director, workshop presenter, writer and editor, and strategic planning consultant, as well as a lifelong volunteer and board member at several charitable organizations.

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    chana

    August 12, 2020
    Reply

    I have a question In a magazine an organizer article said get a shredder we have the office the house we do not think we need a shredder what do you think? I read your book about money for donations and know to turn to you you are in the know from Chana Tova Sokol

    • Gail R. Shapiro

      Gail R. Shapiro

      August 13, 2020
      Reply

      Great question, and thank you for your kind words! I think how you dispose of sensitive information depends on your own comfort level. The point of shredding documents such as anything with your bank account info, address, identity, etc. is to make it impossible for someone to steal it. Any way you can destroy the documents - whether by shredding at home, using cross-cut scissors (less effective), burning (where it is safe to do so), or even soaking such docs overnight in soapy water, then squeezing out and throwing in with the garbage, could suffice. However, if you are dealing with client documents (not just your own), I think it is imperative to offer them the highest level of security. You can shred onsite using your own shredder, or take to an office supply store (such as Staples or UPS here in the U.S.). There also are services that will come to your home or office with a mobile shredding truck - helpful if you have a large amount of paper.

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