Do you feel like all you do is clean and yet your house is always a mess? Are you faced with a mountain of paperwork (probably in bags) in order to find the one receipt you need? Have you bought items that were on sale to give as future presents but when the time comes to give them away you can’t find them?
If you can associate with even one of the scenarios listed above, you may want to consider hiring a professional organizer. If you think hiring someone to get you and your home organized is an extravagance you cannot afford, think again. People have been known to spend more money by not being organized in the first place.
- How many times have you had to pay to get copies of paperwork that you just can’t get your hands on by the stated deadline? And then there is the extra cost of expediting the paperwork with an overnight delivery service.
- Did you feel like getting a head start on next year’s holiday season by purchasing tons of wrapping paper, gift bags, and tissue paper only to not be able to locate them and have to re-buy them at Christmas?
- Check out your refrigerator and see just how many jars of mustard you have hidden on the shelves. If you have more than one you are probably buying a jar every time you are at the store because you can’t remember or find the full jars you already have (this may or may not be from personal experience).
Okay, so you have looked at the big picture and as they say, the first thing is admitting you need help. How exactly do you go about hiring a professional organizer? You may be lucky enough to have a friend who can refer one to you. But if you are on your own, here are some things I learned from working with an excellent organizer from Washington DC:
- Consider how long have they been in business. The end result is what is important but you should know upfront if this person is just starting out or has been working as a professional for years.
- Do they have before and after examples of their work? A good organizer will be able to show you specifically how their skills were able to make their client’s life much neater and easier. Pictures that show the improvements the organizer made can be impressive and get you excited about how great your place will soon look like.
- Do they have a specific system that they use? Everyone has their own system, but a common one is separating things into piles to keep, give away, donate to charity, and throw out. Once you know how they will be working you can start thinking about what categories some of your things will fall into.
- What is their exact mode of operation? What spaces are covered, how long will the entire experience take, and is there any follow-up? If you are going to have your entire home organized that is the most comprehensive plan. You may want to focus on closets, an eternally unorganized garage, or specifically your kid’s rooms. Make sure to get a timetable so you know how long it will take to complete.
- What makes them an experienced professional in organizing? There is actually a National Association of Productivity and Organizing professionals that would be an impressive bonus if they were a member. Ask what other courses, clubs, or groups they participate in that would add to their success as an organizer.
- What is the price? Are there different packages and prices? This is an important factor and should be spelled out exactly in a contract before hiring the organizer. Know exactly what services you are getting and at what cost.
Remember, this is someone you will be working closely with as you deal with personal and sentimental items. Make sure your personalities work well together.