Look around your home. Are you greeted by piles of unsorted papers or homeless items sitting on countertops and tables? Is clutter preventing you from working at your desk? Are boxes or heaps of clothing covering the floor, in need of sorting or purging? Do you panic when expecting guests, hastily shoving the mess into drawers, closets, under beds? Do you need help sorting through a loved one’s possessions? Are you downsizing or in the throes of renovations? Are you paying for off-site storage of things you never use?
Did you just say “yes”? It may be time to hire a professional organizer.
Many of us have, at one time or another, felt overwhelmed and compelled to buy a book about organizing—along with a load of plastic bins. However, we can’t quite get it all sorted out and stored properly, lacking the guidance, expertise and training of a professional organizer. In most cases, we need more than a one-time cleanup.
A professional organizer starts with an in-depth consultation and assessment of what must be done to get your home clutter free. “It’s essential to learn the way the client thinks and how they need their space to function,” says Linda Vanderkolk of ClutterBGone, who creates a customized solution for each client. With a background in social services, Linda has worked with clients with a variety of challenges and needs. To be successful, a new system must make sense to you, within the limits of the resources and space available, so you will continue to use it.
In the de-cluttering stage, clients learn to sort and categorize their items. They learn to consider why they have each item and its true purpose. Broken, unwanted or duplicate items are purged—and sent to garbage, recycling, charity or consignment. This process empties bins and containers that can then be repurposed for future storage. Homework is assigned to do between sessions, keeping clients motivated, focused and energized for the project.
In Canada, many people with a double garage park their most valuable possession exposed on the driveway—in rain, snow or blistering heat. Often the garage contains disorganized junk. A professional organizer will create customized, properly organized storage systems that also accommodate cars.
If you hire a professional to unclog your toilet or fix an electrical problem, why wouldn’t you hire a professional to remove the clutter that’s constantly in your way? And as far as costs go—how much time do you waste searching for things? How many bills have you misplaced then forgotten to pay? (Now you have interest charges.) How many un-cashed cheques and gift cards are waiting for you in a pile somewhere?
Clients seek the help of a professional organizer for many reasons. For example, coping with the first baby (and all that equipment!); downsizing after years of busy family life; dealing with illness or the estate of a loved one; or streamlining the paperwork and processes of a home-based business.
Ann Gideon of Just Get Organized has a talent for sorting physical things and improving processes. She squarely places her focus on simplifying each client’s life. “Often we don’t even realize how much impact the clutter and disorganization in our homes affects our lifestyle, job, relationships, and overall well-being. Clients start out overwhelmed and stressed and not knowing where to start, so de-cluttering is a form of therapy that feels wonderful,” Ann says. “It ends up helping people to improve and better deal with other aspects of their life, because their goals and priorities become clear when the clutter is gone.”
By Zoë Waller