National Association of Professional Organizers: Memphis Chapter

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a professional organizer do?

A professional organizer provides services, information, assistance and resources to individuals who wish to take control of their time, their surroundings and their life. They guide clients through the de-cluttering process and help them create order. The basic principles of organization are applied to each individual's circumstances and needs.

Why should I hire a professional organizer?

A professional organizer will teach you the skills needed to solve what may have been a lifetime of disorganization. Using established organizing principles, a professional organizer will help you design systems and procedures that will work for you. The organizing solutions are tailored to meet your unique organizing needs. People hire personal trainers, life coaches, and image consultants to help them achieve their goals, so is there something wrong with you if you need professional help to get organized? Absolutely not.

You will benefit greatly from getting the help you need, yet the process of finding the "right one" might seem confusing and overwhelming. Relax. Finding a professional organizer is no different than hiring any other service professional. You need to know what services you are looking for and hire the person with whom you feel most comfortable working with. You need to ask the right questions to make sure that there is a good fit. The "right choice" for you will be a professional organizer who has the expertise, skill set, and personality that best suits you to help you achieve your goals.

What kind of professional organizing services are you looking for?

Some professional organizers offer a wide range of services, while others limit their practices to a specialized niche. Some organizers prefer to work with corporate rather than residential clients; some specialize in creating custom filing or closet systems; others may specialize in preparing for moves or organizing collections and memorabilia. There are even professional organizers who specialize in working with clients who are chronically disorganized or have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD). Once you determine the type of organizing services you are looking for, you are ready to begin your search.

How do you interview professional organizers and decide who is right?

One of the first questions you should ask is whether the organizer is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). Of course, NAPO membership does not guarantee the quality of the professional organizer's work, but it does demonstrate a commitment to continuing education and an industry code of ethics. Other professional associations directly related to the organizing industry include the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD).

Other questions to ask are as follows:

  • What services do you provide?
  • What are your areas of specialization?
  • How long have you been a professional organizer?
  • What can I expect from you?
  • How long is a typical work session?
  • Who will I be working with?
  • How do you charge for your services?
  • Do you have a contract?
  • Do you have references?

You relationship with a professional organizer will be a very personal one. An experienced professional organizer will ask a lot of questions about you, your work style, what you are looking for, and the issues and road blocks that have kept you from getting and staying organized in the past. They are not being nosy. They want to get to know you, understand your objectives, and determine whether there is a good fit between your personalities and philosophies. Don't be shy. It is in your best interest to be as open as you can and clear about the results you want to achieve.

What are the fees that you should expect to pay?

As with most professions, fees vary widely based on experience, geographic location, and competition. Most professional organizers charge by the hour. The most important thing to note is to avoid choosing a professional organizer strictly by price. Finding an organizer with a skill set that matches your needs and a personality you "click" with is what will provide you the best value and deliver the results you expect in the shortest amount of time.

Professional organizers should be nonjudgmental, encouraging, and supportive. They should be good listeners and recommend a variety of suggestions, alternatives, and solutions to create the system that will work best for you. If you begin working with a professional organizer and decide that you are not comfortable with his or her particular method or style, you are not under obligation to continue the relationship after the initial visit. Be sure to let the organizer know how you feel, and more than likely, he or she will be happy to recommend a colleague who is better suited to work with you.

If you have been imagining a clutter-free home or office and a desk that you can actually see and use, don't put it off any longer! By following these simple steps, you can competently and confidently hire a professional organizer and get the help you need. You will be amazed how quickly your dreams of living and working in a functional and clutter-free environment will become your new reality.

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