Updated: Oct 14, 2020
Hiring a professional organizer sounds like a fantastic idea— hiring someone to come in to wave a magic wand and finally get all the clutter under control while you do something else? Yes, please! Once you really start to think about it, though, the idea of welcoming a stranger into your home to go through all your belongings may sound more overwhelming than alluring.
In reality, working with a professional organizer is more of a collaborative process than, say, hiring a house cleaner is. A good professional organizer will work with you to learn your routines, lifestyle, desires and more in order to help develop a system that works (now and in the long run) for you and your family. In many cases, you will be working along side your pro to achieve the outcome desired. Because you’ll be building a relationship with this person, you want to look for a professional you can communicate with really easily and who understand your needs— compatibility does matter here.
Start With A Discovery Call
I personally recommend starting with a quick complimentary phone call before scheduling an in-home consultation. This benefits both parties when it comes to safety, compatibility and in the sake of not wasting each other's time.
You'll want to talk with someone before inviting them into your home (especially if your family is going to be around) to make sure it's a safe situation to walk in to. There are many frauds out there who call themselves professional organizers, many with little to no experience or training. Grab a couple references from recent projects, check out their website, social media and even look for complaints against them on the Better Business Bureau's website.
It is also important to get a good feel for the professional organizers personality and make sure they're capable of building rapport with their clients. In most cases, you will spend hours working with them one-on-one. For that reason, you'll want to make sure you like the person! I wouldn't want to spend my precious time with someone I can't connect with on a personal level.
Since time is of the essence these days, you'll want to protect yourself from wasting your time with someone that just doesn't fit the bill. You also don't want to waste the pro's time if you don't plan to move forward with them on this journey. If it's not a good match, you'll know that it's not worth taking the process along any further. No harm, no foul. Not every pro is a perfect fit for you, find the one that makes you comfortable with moving along to the in-home consult.
The In-Home Consult
After the initial discovery call, your pro will want to assess the space in person. Professional organizers use the in-home consultation to learn more about you, your space and your goals. It gives us an opportunity to see first hand what is really working and what isn't. It also gives us a chance to interview you as our potential client and in-turn you get to interview us. You get to learn more about our process and who we are on a more personal level.
The wheels start spinning and we start to form a plan to address the area(s) of concern. Then, we will start to create a tailored plan for services, including package pricing, product recommendations and sometimes redesigning the functionality of a space with the help of a permanent organizational systems (like changing the storage structures of a closet, laundry room or garage).
You may also receive a contract, confidentiality agreement, sign a photo release and receive any other important information needed to move forward with the project. At The Nitpicky Home, we personally send all of this information after we've had a chance to form a full project proposal which includes an estimate, product/system recommendations, our contract and more.
How The Organizing Process Works
The extent of the project 100% depends on the clients needs and budget for the project. Some people want a full organizing service, from editing their belongings to installing new organizing systems and establishing new routines; others just want a few suggestions and help getting rid of a couple extra boxes. Some projects could be finished in a day, while others could take weeks or even months. It all depends on how much work is needed, the level of involvement the homeowner can commit to, both party's availability and the pace the client can work at.
I follow a simple 3 step process, Clarify, Align and Design. The Clarify Phase is basically an extension of the consultation, we will discuss the vision for the space, steps we need to take to get there, take inspiration and address any concerns you have off the bat. During the Align Phase we edit your possessions to streamline what you keep, to align it with your vision for the space. We relocate, donate or discard anything that doesn't elevate the space to where you want it to be. This is the step where all of the hard decisions are made. Next, comes the fun part... the Design Phase. I take over at this point and put all your most loved and needed items back in place and give everything a proper home. To wrap up the Design Phase, I will educate you on the systems put In place and recommend routines to keep things organized in the long run.
We offer a subscription service for our past organizing clients to help them maintain their new space, hold accountability and offer guidance where new systems and routines are being established. These services can be bi-weekly, monthly or seasonally, depending on the client's needs and budget. I always recommend following up with our subscription service for the first few months, at minimum. It truly helps to keep you on course so things don't end up looking the same as before your services started. New habits take time to learn and our subscription service provides extended support while you're working on forming those new practices.
Embrace The "Ripple Effect"
Often clients will tackle one organizing project and end being so thrilled with the results that they want to start on another space right away. I like to call this the "Ripple Effect". Knocking out clutter, one space at a time. Once you see how orderly your life can be in one space you'll want to hire help for the rest of your home!
We often find ourselves returning to the homes of our past clients, not only to work on new spaces but also to rework the organized spaces as the family grows through different stages of life. What was once an organized at home office may be turning into a beautifully designed nursery. Whatever the reason is to come back, we're always happy to return!
Ready to hire a pro?
The Nitpicky Home services all of southeastern Wisconsin and beyond for Organizing and Design Services! We also offer guided DIY services, virtual sessions and virtual design services for clients all over the US. We are partnered with The Container Store, Chicago Closets and Shelf Genie to bring optimal solutions of every budget to our clients, thanks to our good friends over at Pieces into Place.
Call, text or email to get started on your next project!
I'm Angie Vine, CEO and owner of The Nitpicky Home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I am a busy solopreneur, mom of 2 littles - Huxley who's 5 and Cora who's 3 and I am married to my high school crush, Chris (aka "Mr. Chris"). This isn't my first career but it is the first time I found my true passion and my calling. I absolutely LOVE making other people's lives easier and less stressful. After my dad's tragic suicide in 2018, I vowed to use my gift to help ease everyday burdens in my clients lives by offering sustainable organizing solutions.
Want to learn more?
See my bio and read our story here.