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Have you been binge watching episodes of Tidying Up and Hoarders? Are you thinking about hiring a professional organizer to help you declutter or organize your home? If so, keep reading because I created a list of questions to ask when interviewing organizers.

Here’s how this checklist helps

  1. You are a new professional organizer and want to prepare yourself with answers to a prospective client’s frequently asked questions.
  2. You want to hire a professional organizer for decluttering and creating systems for your papers, photos, clothing or other items in your home.

Find an expert

In addition to finding a pro organizer who is diplomatic, empathetic, willing to listen, non-judgmental, creative, patient and trustworthy I suggest hiring an expert who is involved in some well-known, established organization like:

  • NAPO, the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals in the USA (www.napo.net)
  • POC, the Professional Organizers in Canada (www.organizersincanada.com)
  • Institute of Professional Organisers (http://www.iopo.au/) including Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong. Please note that “down under” the word, “Organise” is spelled with an “S” and not a “Z.” So, if looking for a professional organiser, your search should be spelled with an ‘s’
  • In addition, many states have their own NAPO chapter(s). For example, in my home state of North Carolina, the local chapter’s website for NAPO-NC is www.naponc.org.

Ask questions

If interviewing a Professional Organizer, I recommend getting answers to the following questions:

  1. What are your areas of expertise?  Answers may include: clients with ADHD, time management, wardrobes and closets, financial matters, computer-related challenges, speaking, coaching, writing, estates, seniors, home staging, relocation, etc.
  2. Are you insured?
  3. Do you attend conferences or teleclasses and stay abreast of current trends and techniques?
  4. Do you have local references? (You will want to know if your organizer has “repeat clients” who hire her over and over again.
  5. Do you belong to any professional organizations? (I advise hiring a professional organizer who is involved in at least one type of professional group or well-established organization as it demonstrates not only a commitment to the field but it’s another way to verify she’s “the real deal.”)
  6. How long have you been in business?
  7. Which days and times of the week are you available? (Make sure that this person’s availability is a good match for your availability.)
  8. Do you bring the necessary supplies or do you provide a shopping list of what I’ll need?
  9. If you purchase supplies or materials at a discount, do you “up charge” or add an hourly shopping fee?
  10. Do you make arrangements to take away donations, consignments, and trash? If so, do you charge an additional fee for this service?
  11. Do you have six clients that you’ve worked within the past 12 months that I may contact?
  12. Do you work alone or do you have a team of employees or independent contractors?
  13. Is there advertising on your car? (Ask this if you want discretion; some prefer that co-workers or neighbors not know they are working with a professional organizer.)
  14. Do you take photographs of my property? (Again, if privacy is a concern, a professional organizer who takes photos may not be the one for you or you may create rules around this practice.)
  15. What is your fee & how do you charge? (Of course, I don’t need to tell you to inquire about prices. Many options may be available, including hourly, by-the-project, or bulk rates. Ask about termination and cancellation fees; whether a minimum number of hours is required per booking; consultation fees, etc.)

Remember that most professional organizers are not housekeepers, therapists, decorators or nurses. Professional organizers help you take control of your surrounding, time, paper and systems.

NAPO defines Professional Organizer and Productivity Consultant as follows:

Professional Organizer: supports evaluation, decision-making, and action around objects, space, and data; helping clients achieve desired outcomes regarding function, order, and clarity.

Productivity Consultant: supports evaluation, decision-making, and action around time, energy, and resources; helping clients achieve desired outcomes regarding goals, effectiveness, and priorities.

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