Have you ever considered hiring a professional organizer to help you get a space organized or possibly even declutter and organize your entire home?
Maybe you are dreading the next time you move and the unpacking process that takes many people several months to actually get to the last box.
Whatever the case, a professional organizer can help you take control of the contents and create the life you are envisioning.
This post is intended to give you insight into the process of working with an organizer and help determine how much your project might cost. There is a list of questions to ask so that you can choose the right services for your goals, budget and timeline. It is important to remember that the services offered by different providers vary in detail and scope so finding the best fit for you and your project is key to your overall satisfaction when the project is complete.
As with any project or endeavor, it is always important to start with “why” and know that before facing the decisions that follow. Your “WHY” will provide clarity in choosing who to work with and what level of service is right for you.
Organizing services vary in scope from one home to another but the common thread is that professional organizing services are intended to support decision-making and action in your physical space.
Typical services include decluttering, downsizing, packing, unpacking, organizing, tidying, and staging. Maybe you have watched The Home Edit on Netflix and want a makeover style of organizing…. Or Marie Kondo’s show resonated with you. While one isn’t “better” than the other, there are pieces of each that we have combined to create a hybrid that clients love.
While there are slight variations in the processes for each of these services, they all come together in th thread of decision making and that is the most important part of organizing anything.
Often people associate organizing services with hoarders and the physical labor of removing items from the space. While organizing spaces does include a lot of physical labor, the real work is in the decision making. And decision making can cause fatigue quickly.
Most home organizing projects include a process to sort and categorize items, make decisions regarding those items and then create storage solutions and organizational systems to optimize and maintain the space. That is what a good professional organizer or organizing team will do.
In a nutshell, home organization services are intended to create order and improve function within your home while reducing the decision fatigue associated with the process.
There are several specialties within the professional organizing business. While some home organization projects focus on a master closet or kitchen organization, others can help with whole house organization. Some professional home organizers specialize in digital organization, filing systems, and even tiny home organization services.
If you are looking for help with time management, scheduling and prioritizing a productivity consultant may be more help than a professional organizer. They are trained in helping clients create order and function related to time, goals and priorities whereas most professional organizers are focused more on systems and function related to tangible items.
While the completion of a home organization project is beneficial to the improvement of efficiency in time management and overall efficiency at home, keep in mind that organizing services are more focused on the physical space.
If you are looking for cleaning services most organizing professionals will wipe a shelf before replacing items but they are not a professional cleaning service.
The supplies and processes needed are very different. Some cleaning companies offer organizing services, however, the training, skills and process to clean a home is very different than the process to declutter and complete the organization project.
A professional organizing business will have processes in place to optimize the space, as well as knowledge of tools, resources and products.
If you are looking for someone to run errands, tackle random items on the to do list or other special services, concierge services may be the best route.
While professional organizers, productivity consultants, concierge services and cleaning services are all beneficial and create a sense of peace at home, it is important to select the appropriate service for your current needs.
So if you have "things" that need a home inside your home or things that need to leave your home, it could be time to hire a professional organizer.
Making the decision to have an organizer come into your home is an investment in your home and lifestyle. A beautiful and functional home that you are proud of is a form of self-care.
You may be wondering how much professional organizers charge for their services. The easy answer is that it varies. The greatest factor in the price is actually YOU and your timeline, availability, goals and expectations.
The average range will be between $50-$120 per hour. There is quite a range in there so how can you determine the actual budget for your project?
New organizers will charge less than an experienced professional. Certified professional organizers typically charge more, sometimes up to $175 per hour. As with any other service, if you decide to compare prices be sure to compare not only the hourly rate but the final cost in terms of time, energy and money required from you. And the expected outcome.
Services a major city will generally cost more per hour than those in rural areas. And if there is travel required outside of the service area, there will likely be a travel fee and possible lodging required as well.
Training can be completed with NAPO, ASPO or even Marie Kondo certification programs as well as a few others offered. A good professional organizer will have some training and experience under their belt which will impact the overall outcome of the project.
Reputation is key. Check for google reviews or other reviews posted online. If none are available, ask for references from previous clients that you might visit with for understanding how the organizer works.
Most organizers offer a free consultation.
A good organizer will be able to give an estimate based on experience but can never know exactly how many hours a project will take due to the many variables associated with home projects such as decision-making time, how many small items will be discovered and the level of detail required to meet the vision and goals of the client. So get an estimate of minimum and possibly the maximum amount of time required to organize that garage before tackling the project!
Many organizers have a three hour minimum. Three hour sessions are preferable when working on-on-one with clients and downsizing memorabilia or learning new habits and skills. Other professional organizers work in teams and can complete multiple rooms in a single day with 6-8 hours or more on site. For a rough idea, here are some key spaces that clients request organizing services for and the average amount of time they take:
Kitchen organization: Pantry 6-12+ hours, Cabinets 12-18+ hours
Playroom: Lots of big toys 4-12+ hours, lots of tiny toys 6-18+
Closets: Primary Closet 6-12+, Guest Closet 3-8+, Utility Closet 1.5-4+ and Linen Closet 1.5-3+
Garage: 1 car 6-12+, 2 car 10-24+ and no car (just full of stuff) 18-48+
Professional organizer pricing packages may include (or not include) services such as space planning, shopping/returns, travel, label making, donation management and more.
When comparing rates it is important to factor in the little add-ons that may eventually add up. A professional organizer that charges lower rates will probably have to charge for these details within the project. Other organizers offer packages that may include these but at a higher hourly rate.
Even more importantly, these packages can save time and energy for the client and that is the idea behind getting organized in the first place.
While organizers charge different hourly rates, the other variable to consider is the level of detail required to meet client expectations on the project.
Too little detail and a client may feel like the job was rushed and doesn't meet expectations. Too much detail and a client may feel that they were taken advantage of. This is a key component to consider when looking for a home organizer.
So when considering the overall cost to hire a professional organizer, here are some key questions ask:
While many people are born with a knack for organizing, it is much like reading. Just because you can read doesn't mean that you can teach someone else how to read. And just because someone can organize their personal space doesn't mean they have the knowledge and skills to do that for someone else.
The less expensive options are typically not insured and bonded. This is especially important for any service performed within the home. Be sure to check.
Is the professional organizer a member of National Association of Productivity and Organizing with current knowledge of best practices and trends in the industry?
NAPO is the industry standard and has a code of ethics that all home organizers within the association must practice. They also offer continuing education and training on best practices that is crucial to effective and efficient project completion.
Organizing a home office and filing cabinets requires a different skill set than organizing digital files. While some home organizers may be equipped to do both it is always a good idea to be clear about what you need help with in the office and determine that the organizer is aligned to your needs.
Free estimates are often available especially by Zoom. For an in home consult some professional organizers charge $50-$200 depending on what is included. Check to see if the fee is applied to packages purchased.
The cheapest organizing services may not be the best services for your needs. Look for an organizer that meets your criteria from this list and determine if their services fit your budget. You may want to opt for one space at a time with an experienced organizer so that you achieve the function, flow and aesthetic you are looking for. Does the professional organizer have pictures available of previous projects that meet your vision of detail? And do they post before pictures?
Again, level of detail is key here. Are there pictures available either online or by another means that showcase the result of the organizational services offered? Are you ok with before pictures of your space on the internet? Are you ok with after pictures? What is the policy?
A full-service package will typically include many of these additional services required to effectively complete the project.
Some organizers may gather items for donation and then charge time for drop off or leave it for the home owner to complete. If you are hiring a service to save time, be sure they will manage donations for you. Larger collections of donations may need a hauling service or a scheduled pick up date. Does the organizer manage these logistics for you?
Planning is key as well. Does the organizer come take measurements before the project to plan the spaces and purchase product? Or do they make decisions based on what remains in the space at the time it is needed? And will they be able to source it without interrupting the flow of your project?
Again, knowing your priorities will impact the “right” answer for your perfect fit. The Container Store is a one stop shop for 90% of the organizing supplies needed for most projects. Some organizers will shop multiple stores to source at a lower cost. Do they charge for the sourcing or is it included? And will they charge you retail? Offer a trade discount or possibly mark up the materials. Just know what works for you before jumping in.
If the organizer is just getting started they may not have many reviews but could have pictures or references available. Even an experienced organizer may not have a surplus of reviews as clients are busy and that is why they hire services in the first place... so taking time to write a review may not be practical at this time.
Does the organizer work in 3 hour sessions with a single organizer or 6-8 hours with a team? Are they available on the dates you need and can they complete your project on your timeline? You may prefer a quick makeover style with a whole home reset or just the pantry. Remember that the details are what take the most time so if you want a pantry like the one you are eyeing on Pinterest, be sure your organizer has the eye and ability to create that look on your timeline.
A team approach can deliver the fastest results while some clients prefer a slower approach. Just determine whats best for you and be sure the service you choose can deliver it. A whole home organizing project can probably be completed in a week or less with a team or over several months with an individual. Know your timeline and your “why” to determine best fit.
Is the organizer or professional organizer team vaccinated?
If vaccinations are a concern be sure to ask if the organizer or the team is vaccinated (and boosted). Any good service provider will tell you that your level of comfort and safety is the priority. Will they be ok with masks while working? What about breaks and lunch?
Hopefully you find this article helpful when considering home organizing services and determining the questions to ask and cost to hire organizational services. If you need any assistance in finding your organizer in Denver, CO and surrounding areas, don’t hesitate to reach out to the team at Organized by Keli & Co. They can connect you with a match in the area from their team or another provider. There are more frequently asked questions answered on the website as well.
Originally posted JANUARY 21, 2022