The field of Professional Organizing is one of the fastest growing industries today.
When I started my business, there was little awareness of the organizing industry. Everyone I met asked the same two questions: “What is it you do exactly?” And, after a short intro to my services and the benefits of hiring me, the next question was: “I could sure use you, how much is it?
”Now with the advent of TV shows like Clean Sweep and Mission Organization, everyone is getting to see the benefits of what an organizing consultant can do. Other shows cover staging for house sales or remodeling and the results are amazing. Many people are thinking about getting organized and these shows are an inspiration for those who want to do it themselves. There are good tips and examples of how to get rid of clutter and ideas for decorating and making better use of space. There is one catch though, while it is wonderful that the organizing industry is being showcased, it does set people up for great expectations of what to expect from organizing consultants. What you may have missed, when you ran out for the commercial, was the fact that most organizers don’t come in with an army of decorators to do extreme makeovers of your home or office. If so, it would cost you thousands of dollars over and above the materials to pay for all those experts.
So why would I hire an organizer if I can get tips from these shows and do it myself to save the costs over and above materials?
Well, for one thing, getting organized is about more than just having things clean and tidy. Most of us get on an organizing binge, do the entire house, and then are too tired to keep it up. It doesn’t take long until we are right back where we started - in a big mess. If you had good time management and organizational skills, it is likely you could develop your own systems and routines. You might not need professional services, but can you really solve your problem alone?
Einstein is known as one of the greatest thinkers and he said: “You can't solve a problem using the same thinking that created it.“ Think about that statement, it is the main reason why hiring a Professional Organizer (PO) can be one of the best investments you ever made. Each PO brings to the job, skills and abilities that they use to analyze your needs. The solutions are tailor-made to suit your particular situation. After all, if you had the time and knowledge, you would have done it already and you wouldn’t even be thinking of seeking help.
A PO can assess your situation from a new perspective and will set up workable systems for you. You’ll learn new ways to manage your time and deal with clutter. If you need materials or supplies to solve part of your problem, the PO has access to many resources in the industry. Your PO can refer you to products you may not be aware of, at prices you can afford. An organizer will get you motivated. You’ll notice as you begin to work with your PO that a momentum will begin to build and you’ll feel more enthusiastic about getting and staying organized. One success will move you on to another. Your PO will help you set priorities. With a knowledge of sound organizing principles, your organizer will help you set up systems and routines that will fit your personal style. You’ll learn how to keep things in order and if you need a bit of follow-up, most consultants offer regular follow-up or maintenance services.
So, What Should I Look For When Hiring A Professional Organizer?
Look for an Organizer who is a member of an Industry Association. In the United States that would be the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and in Canada it is the Professional Organizers in Canada Association (POC.) These are national professional associations and members operate their organizing businesses in compliance with a code of ethics.
Each member has invested money to belong, which indicates they are professionals who are serious about their business. They have opportunities to influence the development of the industry and access to the latest in training and education to help them in serving clients. The associations generate a large referral network so, if a particular organizer doesn’t offer the service you need, you are quickly referred to a trusted associate who can help you.
You are inviting someone into your personal or business space, they will have access to some of your most personal information and belongings, you want to know that your organizer is a person of integrity who is honest and trustworthy. Professional Associations provide accountability. Hiring a PO who has invested in a professional membership reduces the possibility of inviting a fly-by-night operator into your home. A reputable organizer will have a business license, perhaps be a member of local service organizations and the Chamber of Commerce. Find out what affiliations your PO has invested in.
Expertise and Experience
There are a wide range of services available, most organizers are able to help organize any home or office; but many do specialize in either residential or corporate settings. Corporate organizers are experts in management principles, office systems and records management. If you live in a large city, you may have a choice of several organizers to choose from. If you live in a rural area, your local PO may offer more versatile services and help with both residential and office organizing. Ask your PO about past experience and for references from reputable people in the community as well as previous clients.
Of course, you need to take price into consideration, but it shouldn’t be the only consideration. Hiring an Organizer is not like hiring a cleaner, you are hiring a professional consultant with skills and abilities that will be brought to bear to help you solve your particular problem. It is an investment in peace of mind and your initial investment in PO services will pay you back over and over.
So what are you waiting for? Peace of mind is priceless. Don’t you deserve it?
Judy is a freelance writer and Professional Organizing Consultant in BC Canada. As executive member on the national board of the Professional Organizers in Canada, Judy serves as Director of Member Benefits. She is also the Membership Coordinator on the executive of the BC Chapter of POC.
Judy offers residential and small business organizing services through her company Organized Forever and teaches online workshops to help people all over the world get organized.