We all have it: the dreaded pile. Though there are differing variations of the pile – i.e. a junk drawer, a chair filled with clothes, a stack of papers, etc. – a universal experience comes from disdainfully looking at the pile clogging your living space that you are unmotivated to organize.
That’s where professional organizers come in.
When there are unending piles, a lack of space or a big move on the horizon, the NW Ohio Professional Organizers make it their job to show up and get things sorted.
Becoming an organizer
For organizers like Kate Regan of Precisely Put and Carrie Young of Space Organizing Solutions, this job came out of necessity due to a change in career.
Regan, who had worked for the same company for 30 years, was squeezed out of her job during a company merger. Young, who was laid off during the recession, started organizing for friends and family until she garnered enough experience to take on the job professionally.
“I wanted to do something completely different,” Regan said. “Did some soul searching and I wanted to do something where I was helping people, making a difference. I wanted to do something that I enjoyed doing and something that I was good at, so then I formed my business in 2017.”
Professional organizers like Regan and Young quickly found that more organizers like them were looking for a community to share experiences, tips and camaraderie. The group has more than 10 members now, and seemingly continues to grow with each meeting.
Some of these organizers operate part time, while others have made it their entire career. Each organizer has their own business, charging an average of $50 to $100 an hour for their services. They also have a collective Facebook page where they can talk to each other, share their individual websites and more. However, when it comes down to it, the organizers formed the group because they all share the same reasons for entering the career: to ease other people’s burden.
“We all want to help people,” Regan said, “It can be overwhelming, and people don’t know where to start. We want to help them get through that.”
How can they help?
The organizers play four key roles. First is consultants, where they determine the needs of a client, diagnose concerns and problem areas, formulate a plan, work with the client to implement the plan and provide the client with tools and resources for that plan. Next is counselor, where they show compassion and concern, are active listeners, respectful and offer empathy and encouragement.
The third is the teacher, where they break down tasks into a series of parts, starting small, and develop systems that work for each individual client. Finally, the home economist, where they ensure the client can turn their home into a well-ordered and efficient space.
Most importantly, though, the organizers try to gain the client’s trust, as allowing a stranger into these vulnerable parts of your life can be nerve-racking.
The organizers provide services like packing, unpacking, decluttering and, most often, helping adult children with their parents when downsizing or moving to a retirement community. Arguably the main reason the organizers take on these jobs is to help those who physically cannot handle the task.
Though some people are equipped to take on organizing and moving themselves, there are many instances where adult children are not in the same state as their parents and can’t take off work long enough for the entire moving and organizing process. In these cases, professional organizers can dedicate the time that family members might not be able to.
Another huge factor comes from sentimentality. Professional organizers are detached from the meaning of their clients’ items, in a way that family members and the clients themselves might not be. It can be tough to get rid of belongings you have had for years, so professional organizers help you remain objective and impartial when cleaning out your living space.
Conversely, the organization is not limited to your living space. Many professional organizers help with decluttering digital workspaces and records that you might find daunting to tackle yourself.
One tactic with organization comes from examining the four Ts: trash, treasures, toys and tools. Through this, people can categorize easier and then dispose of unnecessary items/declutter in a more efficient way.
Regan, Young and the other organizers find that asking the simple question, “Does that bring you joy?” can also tremendously help the process.
“A lot of people feel guilty to let things go,” Regan said. “Maybe it was a gift from somebody, so they’re hanging on to it because they’re afraid the person that gave it to them would be upset about it. I talk about that a lot with my clients. ‘It brought you joy when they gave it to you and it brought them joy to give it to you. You could take a picture of it and save that memory, but you don’t have to have the physical item anymore.’”
Importance and involvement
Anyone who is looking to make organizing a profession can connect with the NW Ohio Professional Organizers group via Facebook, and see if you can be a part of it. The group typically meets once a month.
More than anything, the organizers want clients and potential clients to understand that these organizers are here to serve them and help them – no matter how daunting the task.
“A lot of people freeze or feel like they’re stuck, or they are physically unable to do the work to get their space organized or move,” Young said. “A lot of people don’t even know where to begin and what resources they need. So reaching out to an organizer or a group of organizers team, it is worth the investment and worth getting help.”
For more information or to find an organizer for your living space, reach out to NW Ohio Professional Organizers via Facebook, look up “Find My Organizer” in Google or search the National Association of Productivity and Organization.