Everything You Wanted to Know About Being a Professional Organizer | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Everything You Wanted to Know About Being a Professional Organizer

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Everything You Wanted to Know About Being a Professional Organizer

Have you ever wondered what a professional organizer is?  Or what a professional organizer does?  Have you ever thought about becoming a professional organizer but weren't sure how?  Have you wondered if a professional organizer can help you deal with the clutter and disorganization in your home?

Then read on, because today's post will answer all those questions!

Many of you who follow my blog are here because you are overwhelmed and you're looking for organizing tips and strategies to help you get organized.  I love that!   But I also know many of you love organizing and follow this and other organizing blogs for ideas and inspiration.  I think you'll both find helpful information in today's post. 

If you follow my blog regularly, you've heard me mention a few times the last couple months that I'm now a Professional Organizer.  I updated my About Me page and added the words "Professional Organizer" to descriptions about me on Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+.

And I created a website for my business and linked the blog to the website so clients and potential clients can get to know me through my organizing posts.

{Yep... still going with a purple theme!}

I also joined Professional Organizers in Canada.

As a member of POC, I've attended several Halton-Peel chapter meetings, and even attended the National Conference a few weeks ago (more on that another time!). 

What a great bunch of people!  I'm one of those heads way in the back :)

But what exactly is a professional organizer?

According to the POC, the official definition is this:

"A professional organizer provides information, products and assistance to help individuals and businesses achieve their specific organizing needs.

But what this translates to in reality is that these organizing professionals guide, encourage and educate you on how to overcome your organizing challenges by offering support, focus and direction. Professional organizers are excellent listeners, non-judgmental and extremely dedicated to their clients. They help you to do more in less time, with more energy. A professional organizer offers both consulting as well as hands-on organizing services, giving you the skills and tools you need to reduce stress and banish that awful feeling of being overwhelmed."

That definition just resonates with me.  It's what I want to do.  Help overwhelmed people get organized!  It's what I've been doing the last year and a half on the blog, but now I get to do it in person as well!

What does a Professional Organizer do?

This varies from organizer to organizer, depending on their niche and their personal style.  For me, I mainly organize homes and home offices.  I help people make decisions about their clutter and organize their spaces in ways that work with their family. 

Here are a few pictures to give you an idea.

I helped a client declutter and organize her kitchen.  This was her pots and pans cupboard before:

And here's what it looked like after:

This client did a fabulous job purging her pots and pans!  As a result, it's much easier to find what she's looking for now. 

Here's another cabinet we decluttered during this session:

This client had a lot of duplicate plasticware in this cabinet as well as clutter on top and beside the cabinet.  She was determined to purge a lot of it but needed some help to decide what to keep and what to donate or toss.  Here's how it looked afterwards.

She did such a great job purging that she was able to fit her breadmaker in the bottom of this cupboard instead of on the floor beside it.  She also has her rolls of foil and plastic wrap in the cupboard now, rather than in a drawer on the far end of the kitchen.  She also got rid of the clutter on top of the cabinet.  And, she has an extra shelf!  We rearranged her counters too so they are more practical for her. 

I love seeing the look of freedom and peace on a client's face when they look at their newly decluttered and organized spaces!  It makes me feel proud to be part of the process.

How do I know if I need a professional organizer?

That's a question only you can answer.  Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you decide:

  • Is it a challenge for you and your family to get ready and out the door in the morning?
  • Do you feel like you're being buried in "too much paper"?
  • Are you having trouble locating information in your office?
  • Does it take you more than 3 rings to find your phone?
  • Are you so deep in "stuff" that you can find any room to store anymore?
  • Do you need help planning your space so that it works more efficiently?
  • Are you simply overwhelmed and don't know where to start?

A professional organizer not only helps you organize your possessions, but they also create easy-to-follow systems to help keep it that way.  They are there to help you through the entire process, or to get down and dirty and do everything themselves.  They are there to sort, clean, file, and declutter to help make your home a less stressful place to live. 

For more on this, check out 31 Days of Organizing Tips:  Day 31 (Getting Help to Organize)

    Have you ever thought of becoming a professional organizer?

    • Do you love organizing?
    • Are you the "go-to person" in your family or circle of friends when they need an event organized?
    • Do you regularly tweak your own organizational systems to make them work better for your current situation?
    • Do you sometimes find yourself helping your friends or family find or organize things when you visit their homes?
    • Do you get excited when you walk down the bins, baskets, or totes aisles in the stores?
    • Do you want to make money helping other people get organized?

    If you answered "Yes!" to any or all of these questions, you could be a professional organizer!

    How do I become a professional organizer?

    Depending where you live, there are different rules to set up your own business.  But once you've done that you can set up a website, social media sites, and start advertising your business.  Then start helping clients get organized!

    Here are a few resources I found invaluable to setting up my business.

    1.  Check out the professional organizers association in your area.  They have resources to help you start and run your organizing business too.  In the U.S. you can check out NAPO.  In Australia look up AAPO.  And I've already mentioned POC in Canada.  Most associations have courses you can take as well. 

    2.  Read books on becoming a professional organizer.  Here are a couple that I've found helpful.

    How to Start a Home-Based Professional Organizing Business by Dawn Noble

    Born to Organize: Everything you need to know about a career as a Professional Organizer by Sara Pedersen

    3.  Network with other Professional Organizers.  You'd think that you'd be competing with other organizers in your area, but there are so many specialties and styles, and people needing help, that organizers are generally supportive of each other, rather than competitive.  Many large projects require extra help and professional organizers will call on other local organizers to help them complete a job.  Local chapters for your professional association also give you the opportunity to find out about resources that you can use in your business.  I've found many organizers to be very helpful to me as a newcomer to the industry. 

    If you're worried about competition, you can always network online with organizers from outside the area you want to serve.  Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, and Google+ Communities are great for this.  Ask questions, share your expertise and experiences, and encourage each other. 

    4.  Read and watch everything you can about organizing!  This will help you stay on top of current trends and new products.  It will also give you ideas and inspiration to use when you're working with clients.  Read organizing blogs (like this one!), follow organizing blogs on social media (especially visual sites like Pinterest and Instagram).  And read books about organizing.  You all know I love Peter Walsh.  His books are full of decluttering and organizing ideas and strategies, and they are presented in no-nonsense, easy-to-understand terms.  You can see a few of his books and other great organizing books on my Organizing Resources page. 

    Don't forget about DVD's, TV shows, and YouTube videos!  You can learn a lot from seeing other professional organizers in action.  Personally I love Consumed, Extreme Clutter, and Hoarders.  Even if you don't plan to deal with hoarding clients (there is special training involved to do that), you can learn methods of helping any client make decisions about their possessions. 

    5.  Join Profitable Organizer.  I heard about Profitable Organizer through ads on other organizing blogs and signed up earlier this year.  Profitable Organizer has video lessons to teach you how to set up your business, set up and customize your website, market your business, and run your business.  They also host your website and give you access to 52 newsletter scripts you can customize.  Plus you're part of an online community of other professional organizers.  They have excellent customer service and were a huge help in setting up my website just how I wanted it.

    The thing I liked most about Profitable Organizer was they had already figured out what worked and were sharing the best options with their members.  They've done all the hard stuff so I didn't need to spend time and money trying out lots of different things.  Which is a good thing when you want to start earning an income from a new business! 

    If you're interested in finding out more about Profitable Organizer, click below to request more information!

    Or, if you'd like to see a video describing more about how you can make money as a professional organizer, click the image below.

    Earn Big From Organizing - Free Video

    {Full disclosure: some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means if you purchase after clicking them, I'll receive a commission (at no extra cost to you).  I love each of these resources though and I'd recommend them even if I didn't get paid!}

    So, have you caught the professional organizing bug yet?  I have, and I look forward to helping lots of clients go from overwhelmed to organized!

    If you've been thinking about becoming a professional organizer, choose one or more of the above options and get started! 

    If you have any questions about being a professional organizer or setting up your organizing business, please ask them in the comments or email me (organizerhilda {at} gmail {dot} com).

    Have you ever hired a professional organizer?  If you're a professional organizer, what do you love most about it?  What advice do you have for new organizers?  If you're thinking about becoming a professional organizer, what are your reasons for considering it?  Let's all share with each other!

    Happy organizing!

    I link up at these great parties - Check them out!