Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash
It’s GO Month (Get Organized) according to the National Association of Professional Organizers, so it’s a great time to answer the question: why would anyone hire an organizer? Well, I have been doing this for over 23 years now and the answers are pretty much the same; they fit into three categories.
- “I am so overwhelmed by all of the stuff that I have that I am actually losing things, like the bills and invitations, and clothing. Each time I try to get a handle on all the paper and my clothing, more paper and more clothing seem to come in.”
- “I just don’t have the time and/or the patience to deal with all my stuff. And frankly, I hate organizing it. Why not hire a professional who can take that burden off my shoulders?”
- ‘I really like being organized but I have no clue where to begin.”
Other reasons come into play as well, but these three are what I hear most of the time. People often call me because a loved one needs downsizing, or is a hoarder living in a dangerous situation. Yes, I specialize in helping hoarders. Clients with hoarding issues can be tough, but helping them is so fulfilling during and at the end of a project. Hoarders need tremendous compassion, patience and tough love. A tricky combination.
I also love when a client calls and asks me to create systems for him/her. Whether it be paper filing, computer filing or home items, i.e., kitchens, closets, bathrooms, storage. I am a believer that you must break down the clutter before you can set up the systems and I am one of those organizers who tells clients DO NOT BUY ANYTHING at the Container Store or Target or anywhere else until we see what kind of space we have to play with. Don’t get me wrong. The Container Store and upscale organizing products are my crack! I love boxes, and shelving, and hangers, and matching bathroom and desk accessories and oh my God! I adore linens! But I have seen too many new clients who have gone out and spent a great deal of money on items they will never use and then it’s a question of whether they get it together to take these things back to the store and get their money back. Nine times out of 10 it becomes more clutter.
Paper clients have discovered that I am able to not only sort out what is a necessary keep, but what items may actually allow them to reclaim money. We go through all paper and throw out those items that are not needed for finances, taxes, calendar events, and important memorabilia. To be able to get taxes in on time, use coupons successfully, and carry out appointments because they are actually found on the calendar, makes life so much easier to navigate. The discovery of new found money or an old stock certificate that is now worth something is such a wonderful and welcome surprise.
I have many years of experience in assessing quickly and efficiently what a client needs by way of organization. I’ve seen everything. Systems for paper, memorabilia, art, closets, clothing, books, hobbies, tools, kitchens, garages and attics – I’ve done them all. There is an extraordinary sense of relief and lightness that my clients feel after their overwhelming clutter is addressed. For many, their houses are now open and clear and organized, and they can invite friends over for the first time in many years. Such a gift!
Organizers come in all shapes and sizes. There are those of us who are just starting out, having been stay-at-home parents. There are those of us who come to organizing from different professions but have a knack, an ability to see clear uncluttered space. There are those of us who absolutely can’t stand dealing with paper, and those who love just organizing pantries and closets. Hoarding is tough for all organizers, but with some seasoning an organizer can find incredible satisfaction with those clients. But one of the things I think a really good organizer must have is a willingness to get down and dirty. Telling a client what to do, homework as it were, doesn’t always work. Clients need you to do the work with them, and they appreciate it. And I personally believe you have to connect with your clients, have an emotional understanding of them and their needs and issues. I want my clients to know who I am, so that they feel we are on fair and equal footing. I am not superior, but I am there with the skill set to tackle something that they have difficulty doing, and to always tackle it with a smile and flexibility.