When should you hire a professional organizer? And when shouldn’t you? Does everyone need to hire a professional organizer to help them get organized? Absolutely not. But can one help? In many cases, yes.
When to consider hiring a professional organizer:
Difficulty making time
One of the biggest advantages to hiring a professional organizer is that you will have someone (who you are paying) to keep you accountable to make decluttering and organizing a priority.
It’s easy to shrug off decluttering and not make it a priority when it is on your own to do list. It is much harder to ignore when you are paying someone to show up and help you with it.
When you put money towards a goal, you tend to value it more. The money you are spending to have someone come alongside you will help you to move forward with the project much more quickly than you would have done on your own.
Motivated but overwhelmed
If you are motivated but overwhelmed, hiring a professional organizer can be very helpful. A professional organizer should act as a coach who is helping you get on track.
He or she should be able to break down the (potentially) overwhelming project into bite-sized pieces. Then they help you stay focused on the task at hand. The job will feel significantly less overwhelming with the appropriate guidance, direction, and assistance.
If you have difficulty making decisions, hiring a professional organizer will make the decluttering process much easier. While you can’t rely on the organizer to make all of your decisions for you, they should be able to ask you good questions to help you figure it out.
They are also able to challenge you when you are keeping things you may not need to. People who have difficulty making decisions will often spin their wheels and exhaust themselves asking the same questions over and over.
Having an outsider’s perspective can be very helpful throughout the process.
When you should not hire a professional organizer:
Self-motivated & focused
People who don’t need trainers at the gym because they will just wake up at 5am and show up on their own may also not need a professional organizer (assuming that same discipline and motivation carries over to maintaining their house as well).
There are those rare people who are able to continually motivate themselves and stay focused without any outside assistance.
Not easily overwhelmed
If you are able to break down big projects into smaller steps and stay on course, you may be fine going it alone in getting your house decluttered then organized.
Decisive & organized
You know what you like and what you don’t. You have a clear sense of what is enough and too much. You are generally organized and don’t have a problem coming up with functional and sustainable storage solutions.
Things to consider when you hire a professional organizer
Referrals can be a great way to find a professional organizer. Schedule an initial consultation or send them an email to see if your visions line up and your personalities mesh well. Ask good questions about their philosophy and approach before starting work or signing a contract.
Things to look out for:
- Claims of having a ‘magic’ storage solution system
- Doing the work without you being part of the process
- Not decluttering before organizing
Magic storage solutions
I am a part of a few professional organizer facebook groups. It is eye-opening to see some of the conversations that happen in these groups. I read a few posts from different organizers talking about not giving all their secrets away to their clients.
From my experience, there should be no secrets or magic system. I am not trying to keep anything from my clients. The organizer’s job is to act more as a coach cheering them on and helping them through the process.
I’d be wary of anyone claiming to sell any secret or magical anything (except beans…those are for sure legit).
I also shy away from anything that sounds like a one size fits all approach. There simply isn’t a way to create a system that will work equally well for everyone as every person and every household is unique.
Doing the work without you
Do not hire someone who will come in and declutter and organize without you being there. I know this can be tempting, especially for people who are busy, and who are overwhelmed by their house. However, this will not help you solve anything long-term and will likely cause a whole new set of challenges.
How could someone else come into your home and know what is necessary and what isn’t? Everyone’s definition of clutter will be different. The professional organizer could be getting rid of items that were meaningful or useful to you and not even know it because their standards will be different than yours.
To keep clutter from continually returning, the client needs to feel the pain of the purchases. Part of the process is facing reality so that you can stop the flow of clutter rather than repeating the cycle.
In the decluttering process, clients see what happens when they purchase too much or hang onto items from their past that no longer serving a purpose. If a magic organizing fairy comes in and removes all of that for you, you’ll be more likely to have the cycle continue.
Recognizing past mistakes helps us to become more conscious consumers who are more thoughtful about what we bring into our home.
Additionally, if a professional organizer has reorganized your belongings without you there, you won’t know where anything is. This could feel disorienting and confusing as the organizer’s way of thinking for what makes sense may not make sense to you.
It is important to have a team approach where you can tell the organizer how you want your space to function and you create a system together that will work for you.
Another point of consideration is whether or not hiring a professional organizer would fit into your budget. The average fee for a professional organizer is between $55 to $100 per hour. If that is not something you can swing, don’t worry. There are other options.
Do you have a friend or family member who would be well-suited to working with you on this? Pick someone who will be a good balance with you.
If you are both easily overwhelmed and indecisive, it is unlikely you will get very far working together. The friend or family member should be someone who can be honest with you in order to get the most out of the experience.
An accountability partner or group is another way to go. If you are competitive, finding a friend or small group of friends who are willing to keep each other accountable and challenge each other in decluttering can be useful. It can make the process more fun.
There are various Facebook groups where people share their challenges and victories. I set up the Simplify & Declutter group for that very purpose.
If you want additional guidance with decluttering I created the Your Home Decluttered products to help. I used my experience working in my own home as well as with clients and students to alleviate the overwhelm and walk you step-by-step through the decluttering process.
Have you hired a professional organizer? Let us know how it went in the comments section.
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It was a very interesting article.
Where I’m at in life right now just the word DE-CLUTTER sounds magical. It’s like I have the right ideas for getting things in order but can’t get it started. Helping a friend move from a rental house was so eye opening. Having a 2 month warning she decided to start the moving process 2 weeks before the final date. What a disorganized, expensive debacle.
I actually did use a professional decluttering place. Overall I was glad to have the help to get stuff out and move a few furniture pieces but I would never do this again. It stressed out my cats too much. There were certain things I tried to say no to but they wouldn’t listen. They had to touch everything even things that didn’t need to be touched and organization is not just dumping things in oversized boxes and labelling them.
(Ex: I had paper packages from Michaels stacked in the office closet where they could be easily seen and used. They took all that paper and dumped them in a box in the closet so now it’s less accessible then it was and now to get to the paper I have to pull the box out which is heavy. Also, the paper had been left in their packaging to keep clean and keep with labels…all the paper that were in opened packages they pulled out so now they are not together and have no labels with it). Basically, what’s happened since I’ve done this is I’m putting a lot of stuff back where it belonged since stuff is so much less organized than it was.
If you want to use a decluttering place, be very sure of it.
My issue is that I’m my family’s curator. I have it’s from my side of the family because I’m basically the only one left. We also have many other important items that we inherited from 6 close family members who have passed away. I’ve already given, sold, repurposed and organized a LOT. But I still have a lot. And we don’t have a basement or attic.