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How to Work With a Professional Organizer

September 9, 2016

An organizing pro can help you get your house together. Here's how to choose the right one and gain your own clutter-clearing skills. Raise your hand if "Get organized!" topped your New Year's resolutions list (again). Now put it down if you've already fallen off the wagon. Don't feel bad: It happens to most of us. But if clutter is taking over your life and making you crazy, it may be time to hire a professional organizer. Read on to ensure a smooth experience from start to finish.


Finding a Pro

Ready to dive in? Not so fast. You first need to find the organizer who's a good fit for your needs and style. Consider these pointers:

• Be specific about your wish list. Do you simply have one or two problem zones — say, a cluttered home office or overstuffed pantry? Or is your house one big, overwhelming jumble? Do you want the pro simply to come up with a plan of action that you can implement on your own, or will she be doing the heavy lifting? Think through your needs so you can find the right person to tackle them.

• Budget accordingly. Fee structures vary widely, but expect to pay roughly $50 to $90 per hour. The average room can be completed in one to three full days, but variables such as size will dictate the amount of time needed.

• Decide how involved you want to be. Some professional organizers like to operate independently, taking full charge of the process; others prefer more client input along the way. Which style will be most comfortable for you?

• Search reputable sources. If you know someone who's used a local organizer, ask detailed questions about the process, results and follow-up. The National Association of Professional Organizers has an excellent directory, including information about each member's background and specialties. 

Browse the websites of those in your area, if available, and then give the most promising candidates a phone call. You're looking to check off several things: Are your personalities a good match? Will the organizer's style mesh well with yours? Do her policies, professional manner and communication skills inspire confidence or raise red flags? Don't be shy about asking if you can talk to a couple of her previous clients, too.


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