28 Jul 2017

DIY vs hiring a Professional Organizer

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Budgets are tight. People have a firm belief in their own abilities. There are books and TV shows on how to do it yourself. If you need to downsize or organize and those are enough to help you succeed then congratulations! But if you’re like most people you’re still reading this because you need some help and some motivation.

This is where a professional organizer comes in. We have a different way of looking at things. We are not emotionally involved, so we’re able to give you perspective. Sometimes, everyone needs a person that has a different way of looking at our “stuff” to help us see what is worth keeping and what is not.

Let’s start with the biggie – the fear of letting people see the way you live. We know that a house out of control doesn’t make you a bad person. You’re not crazy, and you’re not alone. You would be amazed at how many of the people you know live in chaos. As professional organizers, we see all kinds of things, and we don’t pass judgment on you. We know that things can always improve (even in our own houses) and it’s our job to help you make those improvements. Some clients are ready for a wholesale change and want to clear out everything. Others are only ready for baby steps. We’ll help you make the changes you are ready to make. You never have to feel ashamed to share your life and home with us. We will treat you and your home with respect.

A professional will also keep you on track and give you the structure that you need. Some people need a map and can follow the plan on their own. Others need someone to keep them on track and accountable. Some people just need someone there to give them support as they make hard choices. A good organizer will be able to talk to you about what level of service you need, and can provide it. Some of my clients have asked me to be their “drill sergeant” and to push them to make decisions. Often this is because they are moving or downsizing, and they realize that they will have significantly less space in the new location. Others are afraid of confrontation, and some are surprised that I won’t make them simply throw everything away or that I am not judgmental about their situation. I supply the help that my client needs, in a way that works for them. A good organizer will talk to you about what your goals are and what level of support you want and need before starting work.

Sometimes people choose to work with an organizer to develop a plan, and then they continue on by themselves or with the help of family and friends. This can work well if your friends and family can remain impartial. You certainly wouldn’t want to be criticized and judged for your choices and decisions about what to keep, sell, donate, give or throw away. You may not want those nearest to you to know all of your private “stuff.” You may find it is easier to work with someone trustworthy, from outside your normal social circle, especially when you might be dealing with something very private or potentially embarrassing.

Some people think that they don’t need help because their lives are not completely out of control. They just don’t know what to do with these few boxes of things they have inherited, or only have a couple of junk drawers that are out of whack. Professional organizers can help with the small annoyances of life too. I call things like junk drawers “pockets of neatness resistance,” and they can use some help too.

An organizer is like a personal trainer. You will have to do the work, but our job is to teach you how and to supply the expertise you need. We keep you accountable, give you structure, change what you are doing if it isn’t working for you, and supply the support you need to accomplish that goal.

It doesn’t matter if you have a “junk drawer” you can never seem to get straightened out or if your whole house is out of control. An organizer can help you with it. Remember, since you will be sharing a LOT of personal information with this person, it is very important that you feel comfortable with them. It is OK to try out more than one person. Most organizers will charge for an initial consultation, but you should not feel that you have to hire that person to continue with you until the job is done. Some give you a quote or an estimate, and others charge on an hourly basis. Everyone is different, so you need to pick someone who is a good fit for your needs and personality.

Remember, your ultimate success depends on you. You need to find a professional you can work with, put in the time, have an open mind and good attitude, and maintain your progress. We’ll provide the knowledge, support and help you need. If you are prepared to do your part, you will be amazed at the differences you will see.

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About the Author


works mostly behind the scenes at Conquer the Clutter, supporting Maria’s efforts to make the world a neater place to live.

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