Written by Laura Gaskill, Houzz Contributor
Clutter and disarray driving you bonkers? Perhaps it’s finally time to call in some organizing help. Whether you need assistance with a large room or a small closet, or you need an entire household reboot, this guide can get you started.
Project: Organizing your home.
Why: An organized home is a more enjoyable, less stressful one. If you’re downsizing, getting professional help to pare back and order your belongings in your new, smaller space can be a lifesaver. For large, busy households, organizing systems to help life run more smoothly.And if you’ve been living in the same home for many years, it’s natural to need an organizational reboot from time to time. If you’re tired of letting your stuff take over your home (and your life), a professional can help you regain control.
It’s a good project for you if: You haven’t been able to tackle organizing on your own. The example that may first spring to mind is the garage or basement that’s been used as a dumping ground for stuff for decades. While that is certainly a good project to call in the reserves for, far more important than the size of the project is whether you are feeling overwhelmed by it.Working with a pro can help you push through roadblocks (both physical and emotional), let go of clutter and put systems in place that will make it easier to stay organized in the future.
Who to hire: A professional organizer can help you declutter and set up attractive, logical new organizing systems. Some professional organizers offer a wide range of services, while others work in a niche area like clothing closets or filing systems. Ask what kinds of organizing projects they do during your initial contact to see if they are a good fit.A professional organizer can help choose storage containers and systems, but if you want built-in custom storage, you will also want to connect with a closet and home storage designer. Just keep in mind that a closet designer is not there to help set up organizing systems, so get that taken care of first with an organizing pro.
Typical project length: Most one-room projects, like organizing a bedroom closet or sorting old photos, can be completed in a weekend. A stuffed-to-the-gills basement or attic will, of course, take extra time — a week or more for a really troublesome space.Most organizing projects require some work on your part, so be prepared to put in a few hours between visits from the pro to do your “homework” if you want the project to wrap up on time.
Cost: Professional organizers tend to charge by the hour, with average rates ranging from $55 to $100 per hour, depending on location and experience. Some organizers also charge by the project or by the day, which can be more cost effective, depending on your project.
Best time to do this project: Spring is when many of us get the organizing bug, but any time of year works just as well. The only exception is for garages and other unheated outbuildings in cold climates. Wait until the weather warms enough that working outdoors is comfortable.
Keep in mind: Hiring a pro to completely organize a home from top to bottom is quite costly. Consider tapping one to get help with specific projects that are really giving you trouble, and commit to doing some of the work on your own.Having expert input can be a great motivating force, so after the first visit you may find you are able to accomplish more on your own than you initially thought you could. Your organizer can also help you set up a schedule for the year ahead, identifying areas that are likely to pose a special challenge so you can schedule help for the times you will need it most.
First steps: Search Houzz for closet and home storage designers and organizer and check with the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). Or ask friends for recommendations.When you contact each of the organizers on your list, have the details of your project ready to share (a few emailed pictures can be helpful) as well as a list of questions to ask, including about rates and price structure, services provided and the pro’s approach to organizing. Remember, this is someone with whom you will be working quite closely in your home, so beyond credentials, be sure you also click on a personal level.