HELP! I can’t do this on my own!

by Amanda LeBlanc

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t get asked from one person or another, “Why can’t I do this myself?”  Of course, I’m talking about organizing and clearing the clutter from your life. I think there is a misunderstanding that organizing is some natural innate ability, especially among women. I know for a fact that this is anything but true. I have told the story many times about how I feel that I should be able to play tennis. I mean there’s a ball, there’s a racquet, and it’s not like the racquet is small. One would assume that as the ball is flying at you that you would easily be able to hit the ball back across the net. But, I will tell you, that after many attempts to play, with many laughs from friends, the tennis pro at the racquet club said, “Have you ever thought about playing another sport?”

So, you see that even some things that appear to be easy just do not come naturally for some people. I would love to get out on the court and play tennis with friends, but it’s just not my thing. That is not where my talents lie. The same can be true for organizing. Just because you are a woman, does not mean you have some natural ability on how to organize or put the right systems in place in your home. Just like if you had a plumbing problem in your home, you would call an expert for advice on how to repair it. Sometimes, you just need the advice of a professional organizer.

As a professional organizer, I just have this gift of going into a home and “seeing the after.” That may seem like such a simple thing, but for so many homeowners they cannot even start the organizing process. Seeing the disaster and chaos within their home paralyzes them. If chaos and disorganization are stealing joy from your life and you have tried and failed many times to get organized, it is okay to be human and ask for help.

And this is why I write this column. Not to tell you to hire a professional organizer, but to give you professional tips and teach you how to hire a professional organizer. Organization, like any design field, is subjective. No two organizers are created equal. So, when you are planning on investing your money on an organizer, you have to do your homework.

A great place to start looking for experts in the field is through the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). Professional organizers who are dedicated to organizing and bettering their client’s lives belong to this national organization, which provides opportunities for collaboration and continuing education. Once you narrow down the search, the next step is to set up a few calls to discuss your needs. This call can tell you a lot about the organizer and if they may be a good fit to work with you. What most people do not think about is that the relationship between a client and a professional organizer is a very intimate one. As an organizer, I am in your underwear drawer, legal files, and everywhere in between. It is important that you have a good rapport with your organizer and that you feel a since of trust with him or her.

During your call, it is important to discuss their experience with projects similar to the one you would like assistance with. You also want to ask them about their organizational process as well as fees.

The final step in deciding whether or not a professional organizer is going to be a good fit to help you tackle your clutter is during the in-home consultation. Know that it is customary for a professional organizer to charge a fee for this service. During your meeting, the professional should be able to provide a portfolio upon your request and give you some practical ideas and solutions to fit your organizing needs.

At then end of the day, you can admit you need help. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses. It is just as important to you get the right help. Professional organizing, done right, will change your life and be an investment well worth every dime.

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