How to Choose a Professional Organizer
Finding the right professional organizer may seem arduous and confusing. Or maybe you have hired one before, didn't have a good experience, and can't understand what all the fuss is about! There are many things to consider when making this choice, and I'm here to guide you through the process. Make it simple if you will. Why? I want you to be able to experience the life changing results a qualified professional organizer can bring to you and your family. Let's begin!
1. Do a simple Google search for "Professional Organizer."
Start getting an idea for the organizers in your area. Many organizers will charge a mileage fee if distance is an issue, so if you can find one that is based nearby, yay! Another great method is to simply ask around. If an organizer is good enough for people to remember and recommend, that is an excellent sign.
2. Start comparing.
The number one thing I would look at would be their Google reviews. Look at the number of reviews and at the quality of them and ask yourself some questions. Are the reviews referencing things that are important to you? Do the reviews seem legitimate? Are they recent? In this industry, most of our work comes from client referrals. If you see an organizer with an abundance of 5 star reviews, it's for a reason! Start with them. This isn't to say that a new organizer just starting out that has no reviews yet won't be a good choice, but this is a great place to begin- especially if experience is important to you.
3. Look at their website using a computer.
A professional organizer should have a professional website that is informative and simple to navigate. I recommend using a computer to get the full experience as sometimes mobile versions aren't as complete. You should be able to immediately get a sense of who they are and what they do. Inviting an organizer into your home is extremely personal, and you will want to find someone you are comfortable with. Due to the nature of this business and typical traits of someone who is looking for an organizer, my main goal is to keep everything on my website simple and straightforward. Uncluttered efficiency at its finest! Right away I want you to see that I am someone who knows my stuff inside and out- from mental, to digital, to physical clutter! If you are confused and overwhelmed (or underwhelmed for that matter!) by their website, that is definitely not good. An organizer's website should be selling their own special brand. Make sure their introduction to you is something you are drawn to.
I think a good website will be comprised of some personal and background information, some great before and after photos, clear and concise policies, and of course, their contact information.
4. Check out their Social Media presence
Most organizers are on Instagram and/or Facebook or some other social media site. These are all great platforms for engaging with potential clients. Take a look at the content they are posting to see if you can get a feel for the type of work they do and what their capabilities are. It seems most organizers have their own little niche or speciality- maybe its working with clients who have ADHD, working with hoarders, providing packing and relocating help, or maybe it's a lean towards interior design. Organizer's abilities are wide and varied and we love being able to help clients in multiple ways! Think about what your specific needs are and see if they are addressed or represented in the organizer's work. Make sure their aesthetic meshes with yours! BUT, a word to the wise...look carefully! Way too often posts are reposts, stock photos, Pinterest pics or simply not a representation of anything remotely close to the life you, the client, is actually living! I think seeing actual photos of an organizer's own work is extremely important and it sends up a huge red flag if you can't find any. The work they post also needs to be recent and not repeated over an over on their page. This will show that they are current, busy, and good at what they do.
And don't just look at all those pretty pictures! Read the advice and tips they are giving and see how they are engaging with followers. You want someone who is personable, helpful, and one who genuinely seems to enjoy organizing,
5. Give them a call! (or email)
I am well aware that reaching out can be the most difficult part of the whole process for some people, so hopefully after speaking with one, you will feel a little more at ease. Talking to an organizer on the phone is an effective way to see if you will work well together. Ask questions about their qualifications and background. Compiling a list of questions ahead of time can be helpful. Here are a few general questions you may want to ask in addition to addressing your own specific needs.
- Do you service my location?
- Will there be a mileage fee?
- What are your rates?
- What is included in that rate?
- Are there any other costs?
- Do you have a minimum hour requirement?
- Do you have packages?
- Who will be coming to my house?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- Do you offer consultations? What is the fee or are they complimentary?
- What hours/days do you work?
- What forms of payment do you take?
- What types of spaces do you organize?
- What do you do with the things I want to get rid of?
- How many hours do you work at a time?
- Do you share my information?
- What do I need to do to prepare for my sessions with you?
- Will you teach me how to maintain the organizational systems put in place?
- What is your basic process when organizing?
- How long have you been in business?
I also always recommend asking for a few references. An experienced organizer will have many clients who would LOVE to talk with you and rave about what a transformative experience it all was!
5. Schedule some consultations.
Many organizers, including myself, offer free in home consultations, and you should definitely take advantage of that. It is a wonderful way for you to see how you connect with the organizer in your home, a chance to listen to their ideas, and also to see if you are simply on the same page. An organizer should not make you feel judged, rushed, or insignificant in the process.
5. Reflect on your gathered information.
Now it's time to choose! If you gathered info on, and spoke with several organizers, it may be beneficial to make a little comparison chart. In the end though, I think it comes down to how the organizer made you feel and if you found them to be trustworthy and competent. You know...someone with that problem solving skill-set. Someone who radiates efficiency and order! Someone who can quickly figure out if you need some loving guidance, a stern word, or a firm hand. Someone who will listen to you but will also know when to take charge!
Then of course there is the glaring fact we can't ignore- the organizer must fit into your budget. This may be a major determining factor, but as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. I may be slightly biased, but I think it is one investment in yourself that you will not regret. Yes, it can be a huge investment, but in the end, it will save you time and money, all while reducing stress. Please see my previous blog post, "The Keeping of Stuff," for some benefits you may not have even thought of!
A good organizer will listen to you, learn about your needs, and have the ability to use what they know to develop maintainable systems that work specifically for YOU.
Ok, one last piece of advice- living an organized life is about keeping it simple! If anything seems overly complicated with an organizer- be it a system or policy or anything else- it more than likely isn't the best choice for you.
I wish you the very best of luck in your search and organizing endeavors!
PS- I am always here to answer questions!