Just like finding the ‘right’ doctor isn’t easy, neither is finding the right professional organizer,
so let’s review some key things to consider in making the right selection:
If someone you know well has worked on a project with a professional organizer and found the
experience helpful, then it would be worth talking with that organizer first.
Know why . . .
Why do you think you need and organizer? What specifically do you want help with? That is
your starting place to find a professional organizer. What are you expecting the organizer to
do for you? Do you want to be taught a system for organizing your personal chaos or do you
want pressure exerted on you to buy expensive furniture? 7 Reasons you might need to hire a professional organizer
Ask the organizer . . .
It is important to know how long the organizer has been working in her/his profession and why
that profession was chosen. Hear his/her stories of working with other clients like the most
challenging or funniest situation. Does that professional have a heart for truly helping other?
Share your goal and intention for what you expect to accomplish along with the time frame.
Then ask the organizer if that sounds reasonable and how could she or he help. The organizer
can then let you know what the time frame means in terms of the time commitment for each of
you. That is assuming you will be working on ‘homework’ between visits that will need to be
factored in. Having a clear objective and schedule is most helpful for a successful and timely
You will need to know what part each of you will play in the project, or what each of you will
do. Will you be expected to do some homework between visits? Will you work side-by-side
or will the organizer, having been given direction by you, do her/his magic to bring order to
Do you get a ‘gut’ sense you can trust the organizer to hear your concerns about your
sensitivity toward your items being touched. Get a sense of how carefully your personal items
will handled. Organizers are limited in helping clients when the client is distraught over any
and every item being touched. The fear of dust being agitated in the air when papers are
touched can be so extreme that working in that environment is almost impossible for an
organizer. Some clients have anxiety over an old empty envelope being thrown out and that
leaves the organizer at a loss to be helpful.
An initial trial session may be of help to test that the chemistry is right to accomplish the task.
Be aware of being judged for the state of your home or room being worked in. Talk about how
you are feeling. Does the organizer cause anxiety to surface? That is not uncommon. The
process of organizing can stir up some anxiety. But it will settle down as order takes shapes. If
you feel anxious, tell the organizer and listen to the response you get. Hopefully, the organizer
can slow down or back off working in a specific area that can be tackled later. Make that
suggestion if the organizer does not. Postponing a specific area is perfectly acceptable.
Does the organizer have a sense of humor? Can you both laugh about odd things found in even
odder places or are insensitive comments made? Chunks of dried paint in an old paint can have
been the cause of many mutual chuckles. No one needs to feel blamed for that, but it feels
good to laugh at that oddity. It has only happened a couple times in the last two decades of
Whatever your personal concerns are, honor them, use your voice and see if you and the
organizer are in alignment. Asking for help and finding the right person to help calm your
chaos is the important first step for more peace in your life.
Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson
Professional Organizer | Author Calming Your Chaos | Leader of the Smooth Organizer Community
Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson
Since 2000 Elisa (Lisa) Hawkinson, author of Calming Your Chaos, has been teaching and training businesses and individuals to support anyone who is not naturally organized on a consistent basis to be just that. Her HOW2GetOrganized seminars, workshops, and speaking along with hands-on coaching and coaching by phone has evolved from her natural genetic bent for order. Efficiency, calm, productivity and profitability are increased with the help of HOW2 and Elisa.
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