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Professional Organizer Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most asked questions about our company and our professional organizing services.

What is a professional organizer?

The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) says "Professional Organizers use tested principles and expertise to enhance the lives of clients. By designing custom organizing systems and teaching organizing skills, they help individuals and businesses take control of their surroundings, their time, their paper piles, their lives!" We can help you purge items, sort them and find permanent homes for them so that you can find your stuff when you need it. We can also work with you to maintain your success after the initial organizing sessions.

What is a certified professional organizer?

A certified professional organizer has taken extra training from organizations such as the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD). This training includes extensive reading, classes and testing to ensure the organizer is knowledgeable in different areas of organizing and the challenges that face disorganized people.

What types of certifications are available for professional organizers?

The Board of Certification for Professional Organizers (BCPO) is the credentialling body for someone who wants to become a Certified Professional Organizer® (CPO). The ICD offers the Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization credential (CPO-CD). While any organizer you hire should ideally be certified by one of the organizations, the two take differing approaches. BCPO focuses on the business and basics of organizing work, while the ICD delves into the needs of people with chronic disorganization including those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), hoarding behaviors, mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, and related disorders. The ICD also offers different levels of certificates and certification. You can learn more about BCPO's certification here and more about the ICD's program here.

Why should I hire a professional organizer?

Disorganization leads to higher stress levels and reduced productivity. Think of all the time you waste looking for your keys, that bill you need to pay, your son’s permission slip and more. In your office, can you find all your files? Organization helps us get stuff done. But it’s a skill that we’re not taught in school. Hiring an organizer can help if you have one big project to tackle, such as your garage or attic, or if life circumstances have caused disorganization throughout your home and your life. For many, especially those with ADD, organizing is a lifelong struggle, and some may find it helpful to schedule a block of time and work with an organizer each week or each month to achieve and maintain order.

What are the benefits of hiring a professional organizer?

A professional organizer will work with you, at your pace, to help find systems and places for your things. An organizer will have new suggestions or solutions for your organizing needs. While your friends and family may want to help, it might be tough for them not to criticize. Organizing professionals are not there to judge. In addition, while you may recognize the need to delete stuff, it can be a difficult and emotional time. A professional organizer will be your coach at this time, pushing you when needed, stepping back when necessary and providing a guiding hand throughout the process.

How long does it take to get organized?

That depends on how much space we’re organizing and how quickly you make decisions. Each organizing session is different and each person is different. Organizing is a process, not an end result.

What process should I follow to hire a professional organizer?

Start by finding an organizer in your area. You can do this on the National Association of Professional Organizers or Institute for Challenging Disorganization website or at FindMyOrganizer.com. Next, narrow down what you want in an organizer. Look for those with the certifications or niche skills to help with your specific needs. Organizers specialize in closets, moving/transitions, the elderly, persons with disabilities and more. Be sure to interview more than one organizer to get a feel for how different people work. You want to choose someone with whom you feel comfortable so that you can accomplish your goal.

What is the process of hiring you?

You can either email us at kathy@mindingyourmatters.com or call us at 919.467.7058. We will ask you some questions about your organizing needs and challenges and then schedule a time to meet. During that first meeting, we will review your space and give you an assessment and an estimate of how long it will take. We will also discuss our fee scale and answer any questions you have. At that point, we can either begin working or schedule our first working session for another day. For additional details, see our Services Choices and Prices page.

What should I expect when hiring a professional organizer?

A professional organizer will not judge your or your disorganization. An organizer will keep your information confidential. You should expect friendly, courteous discussion of your items, questions about your goals and daily habits and suggestions for systems and ways of making organizing easier. You should be prepared to work. Your input and help are very important to the organizing process, and both you and the organizer will sort through your items to get started. Do not expect your professional organizer to clean, unless he or she offers that service in addition to organizing.

What is the difference between a professional organizer and an organizing coach?

Professional organizers use a variety of methods and tools to help people organize their space, time, electronic and paper information. An organizer coach uses coaching techniques to help you move from your identity as it relates to stuff to you identity as an organized person realizing personal and professional goals. An organizer coach is a trained coach who specializes in organizing as opposed to a professional organizer with coaching experience. An organizer coach may incorporate coaching techniques during an on-site organizing session or may work with you over the phone (or via Skype) to help you achieve your organizing goals. For more on our Organizer Coach services, please see our Ordered Minds Coaching website.

Do I need to hire a professional organizer or an organizing coach?

This is a personal question which can only be answered by you. Options should be discussed when you are chatting with your organizing professional.

How can a professional organizer help me with the moving process?

Moving is hard work, and many of us cannot afford to hire the full services of a moving company. If you can't, a professional organizer can help you downsize, categorize and sort items to be packed or left behind. In some cases, organizers can help you label and pack boxes. Not all organizers will do this due to liability issues, so check ahead of time. Even if you can hire professional movers, it's always a good idea to prepare for your move by sorting out what you want to take with you and what stays behind and a professional organizer can help with that process.

We're moving to a smaller house but have too much stuff. Can you help us downsize?

Yes. We'd love to help guide you through the process of sorting and purging.

We're moving in together, can you help us combine our households?

Yes. Two of everything means you will end up with a lot of stuff! We'd love to help you sort through everything and find homes for your things in your new home.

How much does a professional organizer cost?

Rates vary among geographic locations and firms. At Minding Your Matters®, our fees vary among our organizers, based on their levels of training and experience.

Why should I choose Minding Your Matters®?

MYM has the most highly accredited staff of any organizing firm in the state of North Carolina. Our staff are members of both the National Association of Professional Organizers and the Institute for Challenging Disorganization. We are constantly adding to our "organizing toolbox". To find out about our latest credentials, visit the About Our Organizing Team webpage.

What can I do to prepare for your visit?

Many people are embarrassed about their clutter or perceived disorganization. Don’t worry! We’ve seen it all. There is no need to pre-organize before our visit and we bring all necessary tools with us. Eat a good meal that day and be sure to dress comfortably. If we are organizing your garage or attic, you might want to wear clothes than can get dirty or dusty. Be ready to sort and make decisions.

Do you offer guidance on do-it-yourself organizing?

We offer a Guiding You to Mind Your Matters option. For details, see our Services Choices page.

Do you offer organizing workshops?

Minding Your Matters® consultants will speak for businesses, other professional groups, schools, residential gatherings, churches, and more. Pricing for these seminars/workshops depends on various factors including the location, the number of expected attendees and the length of time. The basic content for each seminar is listed on Bring Order To, our speaking website. Beyond the basic content, each seminar is tailored to the needs of the group and can be scheduled for one to eight hours. Please contact Janice at Janice<at>BringOrderTo<dot>com if you have additional questions about our organizing and productivity seminars. Additionally, some of our seminar content is accessible via downloadable audios. Visit the Minding Your Matters® organizing products page for more details.

I have a family member that is a hoarder. How do I approach them about getting help from a professional organizer?

The most crucial factors are to show concern but be supportive and non-judgmental. For more specific tips, we suggest the book Digging Out: Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding & Compulsive Acquiring by Michael A. Tompkins, Ph.D. and Tamara L. Hartl, Ph.D. For additional ideas, you can download our free Helping Someone With Hoarding Behaviors resource sheet.

I'm a hoarder, can you help?

We are trained to work with those with hoarding tendencies. That being said, we have found that an important element in working with someone with hoarding behaviors is having a mental health specialist as a member of the support team. Additional information for people with hoarding tendencies can be found on our free downloadable resource sheet: Organizing For Those With Hoarding Behaviors.

Can you help organize my home office?

Yes. Minding Your Matters® offers both home and office services. Because the home office is often a unique blend of work and personal lives, it should be accorded great importance. We can help you create a focused work space with order to handle your work and the duties of running a business.

Can you help me with my holiday organizing needs?

Yes. From cards, to wrapping presents to planning meals -- there's a lot to do! And there's about to be more stuff coming into your home. Minding Your Matters® can help you survive the madness.

Can you help my student organize their college dorm room?

Yes.There are many systems and tools to set up your student for success in school -- and getting along with his or her new roommate.

Do you help organize apartments?

Yes. We help people organize any size home or office.

How can you help me increase my work productivity?

Our organizing and productivity professionals can meet with you to discuss your commitments, your to-do lists, calendars, priorities, and all other matters related to organizing your time. They will help you implement techniques to gain productivity.

Do you offer productivity coaching?

Yes. With the number of tasks people have their list, we offer clients methods to increase productivity in business and residential settings.

Do you provide online organizing services?

We take advantage of technology as it makes sense within the context of an organizing challenge. This includes but isn't limited to using pictures or video to help understand a situation, utilizing phone or Skype between on-site or in lieu of on-site sessions and using the internet for email or cloud technology solutions.

Can you help me organize my computer?

Yes. We can help with organizing files and systems for PC-type computers. Electronic organization is a growing challenge for many, as we move our lives from papers to electronic documents. Knowing where to find your work in your computer is just as important as knowing where to find your stuff.

Can you help me establish a process for managing my emails?

Yes. Just like regular mail, email just keeps on coming! Creating a system for handling each item is a very important part of preventing overwhelm from too much stuff!

Do you provide garage organizing services?

Yes. Minding Your Matters® will help you organize your house, garage, attic, office, car, and more.

Do you have recommendations for books, videos, audio files or organizing products?

We have an entire resource section on our website divided into catagories. However, we caution people about purchasing without having a plan:-)

How do I become a certified professional organizer?

Join the Institute for Challenging Disorganization and/or the National Association of Professional Organizers. The groups each require an annual membership fee, and you can begin taking their online teleclasses and/or webinars. Each group holds an annual conference at which you can take tests to achieve certification.

How can I get started with a career in professional organizing?

Start by taking classes with ICD and NAPO to learn more about organizing and find out if it's right for you. NAPO offers a beginner class that provides a wonderful overview of our daily activities. Next, begin practicing with willing friends and family members. Search NAPO's professional organizer directory for an organizer near you. Ask her if you can meet to discuss organizing and how to get started. Most organizers operate independently, but some hire employees and subcontractors. See if you can get work as a subcontractor to get started.

How do I start a professional organizer business?

Like any business, you need to check with your local government about a business license and speak to an accountant/bookkeeper. Choose a name very carefully. Conduct online research to make sure another organizer is not using that name before you register it. Then, start marketing! You might try volunteering at a few places to help spread the word and obtain some practice.