What does a professional organizer do?
When a person is overwhelmed with stuff, paper, data or time issues, a professional organizer can assist in sorting and categorizing as well as supporting decisions about what to keep and what to discard. The remaining items are contained, arranged, prioritized and generally put in order. During the process, the organizer teaches you (and your family, if necessary) the skills to stay organized.
Who are my clients?
My clients are busy people, juggling jobs, kids, older parents, pets, multiple hobbies and information overload. They are often in transition and are undergoing lifestyle priorities.
How does this all work?
First you call or email me to discuss your situation. If I am able to undertake the project, you would then schedule a free initial consultation of up to 60 minutes. I will visit your home or office and you will show me the areas that you would like to work on, telling me about your vision and what your goals are. We will discuss how to best approach the project, keeping your budget and time-line in mind. In general, I try to use containers that you already have—bins with lids, closable plastic bags, glass jars, file folders and boxes. I carry sorting bins or bags, trash bags, and some simple containers with me on a project, but after the first day, we should know if anything else is needed. If other services are needed such as shelf or cabinet installation, I can provide you with a selection of referrals if you don’t already know someone for the job.
Do I have to be present when you work?
It depends. Decluttering projects are the most involved with personal input needed during most of the process. If discarding is part of the plan, you or the person to whom the items belong must be with me to make all the decisions. If you would like to provide elaborate guidance on how you want things organized, you will need to be present as well. If the job involves basic organizing within certain basic guidelines, busy folks will let me know what work needs to be done and let me roll with it with occasional checking in during the work day. Follow-up phone calls are done to tweak the results.
How do you charge?
Generally I work in 3 to 4-hour sessions at an hourly rate charged in 15 minute increments. (I do not show my rates as the internet has a way of posting them for posterity.) The time it takes to complete a project depends on how much stuff needs to be addressed, space concerns and how quickly decisions can be made. In addition, I charge for travel time over 30 minutes. If you wish me to shop for containers, make phone calls for pick-ups of donations, or deliver discarded things to charitable organizations, I would charge for that time as well.
Will I have to throw everything out?
Although the word “purge” is often used in tandem with the word “declutter,” you will not have to throw anything out that you do not want to. You make all the decisions about your things. I assist by asking questions, gently guiding you to determine whether any item continues to serve you or gives you joy. Since I do not like the idea of throwing perfectly usable stuff out, I suggest alternate homes for your things that do not make the cut. In fact, there is a tax benefit to donating your unwanted items to charity.
What do I need to do to prepare for our session?
Not a whole lot. Please do not pull everything out of a space in hopes of getting a head start. In fact, having space to sort and categorize is helpful. I like to assess the situation and break it down into chunks. Sometimes the scene gets worse before it gets better and the less amount of time you have to look at it, the better.
Also, you do not have to buy anything in advance. If you have stored bags, boxes or bins in your house, please note where they are in advance, but leave them there. I will have some bags and bins in my car for the initial sorting. Have a vacuum or dust buster and a few cleaning rags handy in advance of putting things back. No sense putting items back on dusty shelves or into crumby drawers.
Are you insured?
Yes, I am insured.
What about confidentiality?
In all my past and current professions (medicine and massage therapy) confidentiality has been a hallmark. This is also true for professional organizers. We do not give specifics about who we work for or their personal situations or effects. Organizing of paperwork is done by determining the type of document without reading the contents.
Do you have references?
Yes, and I can share them with you when I see you for the free consultation.
Clutter smothers, simplicity breathes.Terri Guillemets, 2005