I live so much in this organizing world now that I sometimes forget that things I see and do every day aren't exactly commonplace for folks who, well, work at normal jobs. I've had a few interesting reminders lately that have gotten me to thinking...there are some things I think are important for anyone considering working either with me or another professional organizer to know:Don't try to hide it.
1. I like seeing the space exactly as it was when you first called me. I'm the one person for whom you should NOT clean/straighten before I come over. I really am not surprised by most things I see. I come in peace. Seeing things as they normally are gives me an opportunity to ask questions about how the spaces became disorganized, which in turn helps me to be more effective in helping you set and achieve your goals.
2. You may have the most wonderful of intentions, but giving a loved one an organizing session for their birthday might not go over so well (unless they specifically asked for it). The organiz-ee definitely needs to be on board with a project. You say, "Surprise! Here's a gift certificate for organizing sessions!" They hear: "Guess what, honey?! I've hired you someone who will come over and finally make you throw away all of those ugly concert t-shirts that take up all the space in the dresser!" If you are dead set on getting someone turned around, let's try having me come over for a consultation with BOTH of you, and we can take it from there.
3. Different organizers do things differently. Some will come in and clear out and configure your spaces for you - then you just come in and enjoy the space. Others prefer to have you personally invested in the process, working side by side and learning the organizing and decision-making concepts. I fall into the latter camp. Whichever way you decide to go is personal preference. Just be sure to ask your potential organizer lots of questions about their working style, so that you're both comfortable with the process.
4. I really don't want you to backslide. Repeat business is great, but I'm into helping you for the long run. If in six months (or three, or two) your spaces are right back where they were before, I want to talk with you about effective ways to change the habits that result in the clutter. You really can change - I've seen it happen.
5. Because I know you're curious, my house, van, yard, garage, kids whatever... are not always neat and orderly. In fact, they are often NOT neat. I confess I don't always manage to clean the straw wrappers, parking receipts and stray Legos out of back seat before you see me at the grocery store. I will, however, have my complete grocery list at hand on Wunderlist (items listed in the order of the sections and aisles of the store), my reusable bags, and egg cartons for recycling drop off. :-)
For further information and resources about professional organizing, and to find a reputable organizer in your area, check out The National Association of Professional Organizers site: http://www.napo.net/our_profession/.
Sara Skillen - Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Organizer Coach®, wife, mom, and serial list-maker. Learning to trust my intuition more every day. Shall we work together?