Finding the right professional to meet your needs can be a stressful, and lengthy process. Shopping around for quotes, comparing different expertise, and ensuring your personality jive can lead you to great options, or exhaustion.
Not to mention, completing a cursory Google search can bring about a plethora of options, possibly feeding your anxiety about the process, or making you feel overwhelmed before you've even started.
Picking a Professional Organizer is no different than a plumber or landscaper. You want to make sure your needs are being met, the price is reasonable, and you will be satisfied with the result.
To help guide you on your quest to find the perfect Organizer for your needs, I've outlined a few key points, questions, and things to consider, and look out for when researching the Organizers in your area.
Let's get started!
After selecting an Organizer by their name, or location, click on the link to their website and read their content thoroughly, paying special attention to their methodology and biography.
Of course, they must offer a Service you are interested in pursuing, but arguably MORE important is creating a positive rapport with the Organizer.
You will be spending ALOT of 1:1 time together, so always ensure you get a 'warm and fuzzy' feeling by reading about their personality, core values, and/or organizing methodology outlined on their site. If they don't share any of that information, then that is a red flag to move on to another Organizer in our search list.
Sign of a great Professional Organizer is someone who displays key points such as;
Empathetic to your needs
Adaptable to your situation
Personable and easy to talk to
Non-judgemental about your needs or situation and
Compassionate to their Client's individual needs.
They should also have a simple and articulate mission statement that explains their approach to Organizing and what they achieve with their Clients.
Finally, make sure the Organizer you choose is open to tailoring their organizing approach to meet your needs and preferences. Organizing is not a 'one size fits all' journey, and a competent Organizer would embrace this as part of their business model.
Trust your gut instinct! If you get a sense from reading key highlights that they are a good candidate to engage with, go for it!
Unless the Organizer is brand new to the market, reviews from previous clientele should be made accessible for you to read. Platforms like Google Reviews or Yelp can be good resources, as well as word of mouth from friends & family, or even sprinkled throughout their website.
Hearing genuine feedback from others who may have been in a similar situation to you is an added layer of assurance that this Organizer will be able to address (positively or negatively) your individual needs.
Positive customer reviews are fantastic, but don't forget about any negative reviews too! No one is perfect, so if the Organizer you are considering has negative reviews, don't ignore them. They might be able to provide valuable insight into their track record, customer satisfaction, or faults that could be an issue for you moving forward.
There are a variety of Organizing services that a Professional Organizer may specialize in.
The most common is In-Home Organizing, however, some also offer Virtual, Digital, Paper, or Downsizing Organizing Services for the clientele they wish to service in their area.
Depending on your specific needs, ensure the Organizer(s) you research:
Offers the desired Service
Provides a detailed & clear description
Outlines what is included for the Client
Professional Organizers commonly choose to structure their Services either as an hourly service, or a package. There are pros and cons to both approaches, but as a potential Client, the main thing you should be concerned about is whether the Service(s) they offer will meet your needs.
If you are unclear about what the Organizer offers, or feel that their offerings will not suit your purpose, then that's a good sign to move on to the next Organizer in your list.
Establishing effective and consistent communication with your Professional Organizer is vital to the success of your working relationship and the Service(s) carried out.
Most, if not all Professional Organizers offer a complimentary discovery session or phone consultation for new Clients. The typical duration of these sessions is 30 minutes, however some can be longer.
Not only is this a great way for the Organizer to learn more about your needs, it is the perfect opportunity for you as the potential new client to:
Gage the personality of the Organizer
Ask questions to determine their expertise and knowledge
Learn more about their business, methodology, or background.
Setting up a phone consultation with the Organizer should also be simple and clearly outlined on their website. For the part of the Organizer, their response to your initial request should be prompt and professional. Typical response time is within 24 hours (or 1 business day) and likely by email.
If you feel that the Organizer is taking too long to respond to your request, or that their response is not exactly what you are looking for, then they are probably not the right fit for you.
The Organizer should also offer the option of contacting them by phone, in the event email is not your preferred method of communication. If they don't answer the call, leave a detailed message, and an engaged Organizer should make every attempt to respond to your phone call when they are available.
How smooth and simple the process is to initially engage with the Organizer is a clear reflection of how your relationship will likely continue if you decide to work with them.
The decision to 'live organized' is not one to take lightly. You've likely been considering this journey for a while, and understand that both hard work and dedication are required to make a success of your time with your chosen Organizer. In some cases, that could also result in a higher price tag.
It is common for Organizers to not post their rates on their websites. Don't be discouraged by this. Instead, reach out with a description of your situation and ask if they could provide you with an estimate.
Some Organizers are willing to provide you with a price range 'or an hourly rate if asked. Others may request to complete an onsite assessment of the intended space(s) to ensure they provide you with an accurate estimate for both hours and cost.
Regardless of the Organizer's approach, make sure you ask the Organizer in your discovery/phone consultation to explain their pricing structure or approach. If they offer packages, ask them to be clear on what is included in a package. A great Organizer should be able to answer these questions competently and adequately, making you feel comfortable in their process. This alone can make all the difference in deciding to proceed to the next step.
Try to avoid Organizers who are trying to constantly "upsell" you on their Services, or are inconsistent with their pricing/estimates. Don't be afraid to walk away if you feel pressured into a sale, or express a need for more 'time to think about it'. An approachable Organizer should not be threatened by these requests, and understand that this is a big decision for you to proceed to the next step.
Choosing a Professional Organizer to meet your needs should not be taken lightly.
You are deciding to invest time, money, and effort into making real changes to your home and lifestyle.
Use these key elements while looking through the Professional Organizers in your area to ensure you are both happy and comfortable with every step of your Organizing journey.
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About the Author: Brittany Smith lives in Ottawa, Canada with her husband and feline furbaby Zoey. She is a Certified Professional Organizer, Owner, and Founder of Control the Chaos, a Professional Organizing business that provides personalized in-home, paper and digital organizing services aimed at transforming anyone's chaos into calm.