• Kim

Exactly What Is a Professional Organizer, Anyway?

Updated: Jun 12

(originally posted 9/25/17) When I decided to start a professional organizing business, I knew that there were not many (or any?) in my area. But in cities only an hour away from where I live, organizers are becoming quite popular. I knew that in this geographical area much of my advertising would need to be informational. In this post, I will attempt to tell you what we odd birds who love to organize things really do. And then we can go over a few answered questions from real people about this service.

Professional Organizers are a growing field of individuals who make money putting people’s things in order for them. Abbreviated P.O., these people may specialize in a particular home area or organize for businesses, coordinate moves, come up with productivity systems, or do home staging for home sellers and realtors. There are several professional organizations that a P.O. can belong to and certifications they can obtain, although these are not necessary to do the job well. There are many niches within the organizing profession. There are people who work only with closets or even clothing. Some specialize in home staging to prepare for selling. Some P.O.s will coordinate moving households. Senior Move Managers work with senior citizens to help them downsize, move and unpack into their new home. There are organizers who work with businesses, and some handle only estate sales. Some organize paper or only photos, and some do event planning. My business will involve general organizing, downsizing and moving, with a strong focus on senior citizens.

In my research to get New Day Organizing Services started I have learned SO much about this field. Here is a little history – I have always loved putting things in order, making lists, thinking up systems and processes. Many years ago, I read an article about someone who was a P.O. and was blown away that a person could actually get paid for this gift that I was born with! Several months ago, I was particularly discouraged with my job and suddenly had a lightning bolt experience that I should just do what I had always wanted to do. Many of my friends and former coworkers echoed my feelings, that I should have done this years ago. Latecomer that I am, I joined a group called Pro Organizer Studio and have taken their Master Class, which was incredibly helpful. I moved quickly through the process and even met with some wonderful people at my local business incubator. They helped me get my ideas on paper, and my mind focused on my target market.

Professional Organizers are service providers to people who need organized. Sounds simple, right? Most people who are disorganized are either naturally that way, or they are in a transition in their life. Some specific things I can help with are:

  • People who need to downsize because they are moving into a smaller space

  • Parents who are overcome with children’s activities with no time left for planning or sorting

  • People who have lost loved ones and are trying to sort through the belongings of the deceased not knowing what on earth to do with it all

  • People who need to put their home on the market but aren’t ready for showings

  • Senior citizens who want to stay in the home they are in but need to manage their environment and belongings in order to be safe (called aging in place)

  • Couples who are combining 2 households and just have too much stuff

  • Children of senior citizens who need to go into nursing care and have a house or apartment to clean out

  • Those who are paying every month to rent a storage unit with no end in sight

  • Anyone who needs less stuff in order to accomplish something

  • People who are want their closet, kitchen, bathroom, clothing assortment, desk, photos, etc., rearranged or sorted or downsized….and the list goes on.

To provide what is needed, I work with various service providers such as:

  • Realtors

  • Estates lawyers

  • Senior living facilities

  • Home builders

  • Custom cabinet makers

  • Hospice

  • Nursing homes

  • Home decorators

  • Closet companies

  • Donation centers, such as Salvation Army and Goodwill

  • Consignment shops

  • Antique dealers

  • House cleaners

  • Handyman services

  • Painters

  • Disposal companies

Here are some of the questions that people have asked me, and here are some answers:

Q: Will I have to get rid of my things?

A: You don’t have to get rid of anything that you don’t want to. I will not force you to do anything. But you will be paying for me to help you make decisions about many items that you have kept for one reason or another. I will always be sensitive to your needs and wishes, and will be able to talk you through many decisions. I will also have some ideas about what to do with your things so you can keep the memories, which is often the reason for holding on to things.

Q: Will you get rid of things without asking me?

A: Absolutely not! First, you will decide just how involved you wish to be in the organizing project. You may want to go through every item to decide. But as you and I become comfortable with each other, I will learn what you want to keep and what you don’t and you will learn to trust me more. There may be some categories you will tell me to always just throw away, such as all expired items, or everything that is damaged, ripped, broken. At the end of each session, I will leave you a pile or box of items that you will need to decide on for sure before they are taken to be donated, sold, or disposed of.

Q: What will happen to the things I decide to get rid of?

A: There are several options for items you decide not to keep. First, we will check to see if any family members would like any of it. This will be entirely up to them and they must not feel guilty if they don’t wish to keep these things. You may want to sell some of the more valuable items, and for these I will help you find an outlet, such as an antique dealer or consignment shop, or someone who could sell it for you on Facebook or eBay. You may want to have a yard sale or an auction. I can help you get these arrangements made. If you don’t want to go to the work of selling, I will help you get it to a donation center an organization that could use the items, such as a crisis center or church.

Q: Will I also get help with staying organized?

A: After we have finished with the sessions you purchased in your package you will have phone or email access to me for 2 weeks regarding any questions or further decisions. You may want to reserve a few of your sessions, or purchase some extra for me to come back on a regular basis to help you learn how best to maintain your organized state. I will also offer you a follow up Do It Yourself plan if you just need some coaching and advice to stay in shape.

Q: What if the rest of my family doesn’t want to be organized?

A: This happens frequently, when other members of the family are not fully sold on the idea of organizing or downsizing. I will be glad to speak to any questions your family may have for me. And if you decide to go ahead with it, many times family members start to change their opinions once they see how much easier things are to find, or how much easier it is to navigate through getting ready in the morning, for example. The change will be evident to all and most likely for the better.

Q: My house is so small, is it even possible to organize it?

A: In a small home, it is even more important to be organized. It can definitely be done. There are many products and containers that will be very helpful for storage in smaller areas. In a smaller home, you may have to downsize quite a bit for efficiency, but I will walk you through that process.

Q: My mother needs help organizing and downsizing. How can I convince her that she needs an organizer?

A: You can start by telling her about what an organizer is and does. Just plant the seed and let her think about it. You may hire me for yourself and she will be able to see what kind of work I do and what a difference it made. You could give her a gift certificate or purchase organizing services for her if finances are an issue. Often senior citizens just need time to think about their current status and have some ideas given them to think about. If safety is an issue and she is averse to moving, I can work with her to help make her current home a safer and easier place for her to live.

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