Frequently Asked Questions
What is a professional organizer?
Very simply, a professional organizer is someone who helps other people become more organized. They can work in both home and business settings and help with a huge variety of projects (for some examples, please click here). They design organized systems and processes for and with their clients. They teach skills so clients can maintain those systems and stay more organized in the future. Working with a professional organizer is a little like working with a personal trainer in a gym. Some clients engage in a short-term project or just need help getting started. Others prefer more ongoing support to help sustain their organized lives. And some just enjoy the coaching they receive from their professional organizer in different areas.
How is Neatnik different from other professional organizers?
Organizers all have different philosophies and methods. Neatnik is committed to individualizing services to meet the needs of each client. Getting organized is about your priorities, your ways of thinking and your needs. I ask questions in order to create systems that work and are sustainable for each individual client, rather than using a “one size fits all” approach.
Are you going to make me get rid of a lot of my stuff?
That is completely up to you. You are always in complete control of what to keep and what to get rid of. My job is to advise and encourage, but only you can decide what stays and goes.
How long does it take?
Sorry…no straight answer on this one. It just depends! We can clean out your pencil drawer in just a few minutes or we can work daily until every scrap of paper in your home has its place! Happily, most projects fall somewhere in between. Organizing can be emotionally and/or physically demanding, but it can also be interesting and energizing! I can organize all day and forget to eat, but most clients can’t, so we gauge each session according to your endurance. Most sessions run 2-4 hours, but many clients can work longer days, as much as 5-7 hours at a time (with breaks to pee and eat :-). Like exercise, you get better and more efficient at it the more you organize! It’s hard to predict how long a particular project will take but I am always happy to discuss timing before we begin and as things progress.
I’m embarrassed about my disorganization. You won’t tell anyone, will you?
I have a strict policy of confidentiality. I never discuss clients by name without their permission. And, anything I see or hear during our time together is kept private. Promise!
How much does it cost?
The first hour is free! After that, you will be billed at a simple hourly rate. Mostly that includes time spent directly working with you in your home or office. If I ever need to spend significant outside time researching or shopping something for your project, you may be charged a little extra for that but I try not to. When I make purchases for clients (usually organizing supplies), the price is not marked up (or down, unfortunately!), so you simply reimburse what I paid. I always try to be efficient with our time so that we are actively organizing together. Whenever possible, I try to help clients accomplish certain tasks “off the clock” so you are not paying me to do tasks you can do yourself.
My housekeeper organizes my house so do I still need a professional organizer?
If you have a housekeeper that is good at organizing, you are very lucky! Most housekeepers are great at cleaning and neatening but they don't always put things where it makes sense. They usually put things in neat piles and clear surfaces into the nearest drawers & cabinets. The more in-depth process of organizing a space involves making sure everything has a place it belongs, those places make sense and you can easily retrieve things. Is your desk piled with papers but you can find everything? That is messy, but organized! Do you shove things away before guests arrive so your home looks beautiful but don’t have any idea where things are? That is neat, but disorganized! Once you get organized, your housekeeper will be able to her job better and you will be her favorite house!
What should I expect at my first session?
The first part of our first session is a complimentary consultation (up to 1 hour). We talk about what you would like to organize. In the case of organizing spaces, you show me the relevant parts of your home or office and I ask a lot of questions. This important first step enables us to learn about your priorities and objectives so that all of our work together can be individualized to your needs. Then, I present you with some thoughts and suggest what I can do to help you get organized. You are always welcome to take or leave any part of my recommendations. By that point, I am usually drooling, eager to dig in and start so we usually do begin organizing right away! In most situations, there is noticeable improvement after just one session. However, if you are at all unsure about anything, you are welcome to do just the consultation first and start actually organizing at the second session.
Do I need to buy any organizing products?
You do not have to (and actually in most cases should not) buy any organizing products ahead of time. Most people already have things that can be reused. I prefer to do the organizing first and then buy exactly the products you need afterward! Most products we will use are basic (boxes and binders and bins…oh my!), but occasionally a particular situation calls for a specialty item. Part of what I do is help you figure out what, if anything, you should buy to help organize you.