So, what is a professional organizer?
A professional who you hire to help you get organized, of course! But seriously, if there's an area of your life or business where you're feeling overwhelmed and out of control, there's probably a professional organizer who can help you take back the reins.
My speciality is working with women in their homes. I help them declutter their spaces, organize their belongings, and establish systems for maintenance so that upkeep is as effortless and long-lasting as possible.
Will you make me declutter?
Note: My initial answer to this question was so long, I just turned it into a blog post (I have a lot of opinions). Here’s the summary.
Like, will I physically force you to get rid of items you wish to keep? Of course not. You are not hiring me to judge you or your possessions. However! Do I expect that you will, in the interest of creating a more usable, peaceful, and happy home, see the value in decluttering items that do not contribute to those goals? Frankly, yes.
What happens to the decluttered items?
There are 3 main destinations for decluttered items: garbage, recycling, or donations.
You will be responsible for disposing of items deemed garbage. If there are way more items than can fit into your normal garbage disposal system, I can help you arrange for large item pickup if your waste removal service offers that. I can also help you arrange for a dumpster or junk-hauling service. You are responsible for any disposal costs incurred.
Likewise, most recyclable items can be disposed of through your normal waste management system. If that’s not an option for you, we can talk about alternative solutions. There are some items that must be taken to a specialized recycling facility. I will take these items to the appropriate facilities for you. If any of the facilities charge disposal fees, you will be responsible for those fees. Due to privacy and data protection concerns, I will not remove any e-waste that may contain sensitive information. I’ll be happy to provide you with options for doing so yourself.
Finally, I will be happy to deliver a trunk-load of donatable items to the charity of your choosing, and I will return the tax receipt to you upon your request. For any items that are too heavy to move or won’t fit in my car, I will help you arrange a pickup with a charity that offers that service.
But can’t I earn money for my items if I sell or consign them?
Possibly! There are several options for selling your items, especially if they're lightly used or basically new. Your vintage or antique items may be valuable as well. This is not my area of expertise, so I can't advise you on what may or may not be worthwhile to try and sell. If you're motivated to sell your items, go for it. However, be ruthless when asking yourself this question! Will you actually do all the work involved in selling the item, while it continues to take up space in your newly decluttered home? Will the financial gain be worth your time and trouble? Please be mindful when considering this option that you're not just delaying a difficult decision.
How do I know where to start?
This may sound a little woo-woo, but bear with me. Because my approach is comprehensive, I will start by asking you your goals and dreams - not just for your house, but for your life. This process helps you gain clarity around what you want in life, which you will use to make informed, intentional decisions about what items you choose to keep in your house.
This also helps determine your main priorities in regards to which room or area we tackle first (Are mornings stressful because your closet is an overstuffed nightmare? We'll start there. Do you avoid cooking because you can’t find anything in your pantry? We can start there instead. Are you forced to eat meals on the couch because unfinished projects have overtaken the dining room table? Then we'll start there!) After our first session, I will send you a proposed game plan based on your priorities so you can make an informed decision when deciding which package to purchase.
How long will it take?
As long as it takes! Seriously though, there are so many variables such as the size of your home, the amounts and types of items, the speed at which you work and make decisions, etc. that make it very difficult to predict how long a project will take. At the end of our in-home consultation, we will discuss all of your organizing goals and I can help guide you on which package may work best. But, again, just because one room takes only three hours, another room may take 2-3 sessions all on its own! Since every space and every client is different, I can’t guarantee any time estimates.
Will I need to buy new storage systems or containers?
Not necessarily. What you already have in your home may work perfectly fine! There's often no need to purchase highly specified storage containers (unless you just want to). Likewise, matching containers aren't usually a necessity, but if looks are just as important to you as function, then it's more likely that you will want to invest in new containers. There's a wide range of styles and price points available to fit any style and budget. And since we declutter before we organize, you won't have to guess about how many or what types of storage solutions to buy.
If you're budget-conscious, don't fret! We will work within your budget and come up with creative solutions that you can use in the meantime. Having matching containers in beautiful materials definitely contributes to the beauty of a space, but often, they aren’t any more functional than recycled shoe boxes or dollar store bins. As we declutter your space, we will set aside any container that may prove useful to us when we start to assign homes to the items you keep. You can use these as temporary holders until you find the containers that make your heart (and wallet) sing. Or, if they get the job done and aren’t all that visible (think, inside drawers or inside a medicine cabinet), you can just keep using them indefinitely! How’s that for upcycling?
If you’re concerned that you’ll need expensive storage furniture or fancy closet systems to be able to effectively use your space, hold your horses. Remember decluttering? Chances are, after we declutter your belongings, you won’t have nearly as many things to store as you currently do. An inexpensive chest of drawers or metal shoe rack can go a long way to making your closet function effectively until you save up for that dream closet. If we decide that furniture really is the best solution for your particular space, we can likely find an inexpensive option at a thrift store or in online resale groups. Again, function is the goal right now. Once you’ve got that down, then it’s time to focus your energy and money on making it gorgeous!
Where do you buy products? Are those included in your fee?
Anywhere I can find the best product for the client, the space, and the budget! Some of my faves are Target, Ikea, The Container Store, and Home Goods.
You can choose to shop for products yourself (as long as you can get them in time for our next session), or I can do it for you. When you purchase a package of 4 or more sessions, there’s no extra charge for my shopping services. However, since styles and budgets vary so widely, the cost for the items themselves is not included, and you will be invoiced at cost for any items you elect to keep.
We can also arrange to go shopping together! Due to the scheduling requirements, there is an hourly charge for this service. You will pay up front for any items we pick out, and you will be responsible for returning any items we don’t end up using.
Why do you sell packages? Can I just buy single sessions?
First of all, yes you absolutely can buy single sessions. But there are many benefits to selecting a package, including: complimentary shopping time; time spent researching and designing storage systems; action plans and/or homework to complete between sessions; phone, text, or email support in-between sessions; and a flexible rescheduling policy.
I also offer percentage discounts based on how many sessions you purchase up front. As soon as you buy your package, we can schedule all your sessions right then and there, so you're guaranteed a spot on my calendar (and rescheduling is easy and fee-free).
My goal in offering these all-inclusive services is to make this process as easy as possible for you, and eliminate the need for you to spend precious time and energy figuring out logistics.
If you prefer to take it one at a time, you can absolutely purchase single sessions at the full hourly rate. However, this only includes my time spent working in your home. If you need additional services, such as shopping for supplies, phone or text support, detailed action plans, or design services, you will be invoiced at my standard hourly rate.
When and how do I pay?
All payments are collected via card or check at the time the service agreement is signed and your session(s) is booked.
Packages are due in full at the time you select your desired service level and we sign the agreement. You do not have to book all your appointments at once (but it is recommended to book them up front, and then reschedule as needed). You have one year from the date the service agreement is signed to use all of your purchased sessions.
Overall, my house is pretty organized, but I have a few problem areas that I haven’t nailed. Is that something you can help me with?
If your home is generally organized and visible clutter isn’t an issue for you, but you lack systems in important areas, then we can definitely focus on those pain-point areas. Perhaps it’s your pantry, or your laundry room, or the mudroom off the garage - these are all hardworking areas that can be absolutely maddening when they aren't working well. Even if you don’t feel like you have excess belongings, if the belongings you do have aren’t being properly managed (returned to their homes after being used), those objects are technically clutter. We will work on establishing effective organizing solutions and systems that work with you and your family, so that keeping your spaces functional and tidy is as effortless as possible.
If you really only need help with one type of room or project (for instance, your home office, your garage, organizing your photos, etc), let’s chat about your needs. For some projects, you may want to consider hiring an organizer that specializes in that particular area - you’d be surprised how many niches there are among us organizers! If I feel like this is the case after we talk, I’ll be happy to point you in the direction of someone who’s better equipped to serve your unique needs.