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qualities to look for in a good professional organizer

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6 Things to Look For (And 5 Things to Avoid) When Hiring a Professional Organizer

September 4, 2022

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Hello, I'm Jen
As a Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization® (CPO-CD®), I am uniquely qualified with the knowledge and experience to help you with ADHD issues, hoarding, chronic disorganization, and aging. 

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Finding the perfect professional organizer is a lot of pressure.

Like looking for the perfect house, you want to take your time making the right choice because you’re making an investment.

There are so many things to consider when choosing a professional organizer. You want to work with someone you trust and connect with because organizing is personal.

So, how do you know if the professional organizer you see online is actually a good fit for you or not?  

In today’s blog, I’m sharing the green and red flags you should look out for so you can confidently find the professional organizer you love and need. 

green flags for professional organizers and what to look for in a good professional organizer

6 Green Flags to Look For in a Professional Organizer 

So, what are green flags? Green flags are positive attributes to look out for. With more of these green flags ticked off, the more reassured you can be working with the organizer. 

These green flags were carefully chosen and numbered in the order of your journey to finding one. When you’re looking for an organizer online, you might first notice reviews, then you’ll move on to their website, and so on. 

Let’s dive in. 

  1. Your Professional Organizer Has Great Reviews 

What other people say matters, especially in the service industry. When someone else speaks up about an organizer, you get an insider’s view about the quality of their work.

Great reviews can vary, but the best reviews describe their transformation before and after they’ve worked with the organizer. Happy clients took the time to write a glowing review to share their experience and how their organizer changed their life, and that organizer can help you do the same. 

  1. Your Professional Organizer Has Certifications and Credentials 

Some people are naturally organized and some aren’t. If you know how to organize your space, it doesn’t mean you know how to help others. 

Professional organizers study, train, and organize for various people before getting their professional organizing certifications. Certifications can come from different organizations, but the two most recognized ones are from National Association of Productivity and Organizing (NAPO) and Institute for Challenging Disorganization ® (ICD®)

If an organizer has either or both certifications, you know they’re the real deal. It takes months of intense studying and applying learning material to help clients navigate and organize their clutter. 

The main difference between the two is that NAPO certification focuses on general organization, while an ICD® certification focuses on clients with chronic disorganization. 

Organizers can specialize in specific conditions. For example, you can specialize in ADHD, chronic disorganization, aging, and/or hoarding. While others can focus on specific materials like paper, financial, or photo organization. 

Certifications are a sign the professional organizer is well trained and capable of helping your specific situation. 

Where to find your professional organizer’s certifications: When browsing an organizer’s website, most certifications can be found on the about page, home page, and/or footer. (Example of certifications below) 

Professional organizing certifications ADHD, chronic disorganization, virtual organizer, aging, residential
  1. They Offer Discovery Calls

It can be scary to hire someone you’ve never met to come to your house and organize your personal items. Before working with an organizer, you want to get to know them first, feel them out, and see if you click. 

Professional organizers who offer discovery calls understand that and want to ensure they are the right person for you. 

A free discovery call would cover these any of the following topics: 

  • What areas of the home do you need help with? 
  • What isn’t working in your space?
  • Your organizer’s experience or qualifications 
  • The organizer’s process vs. what kind of organizing you need (ex. organize independently or with you?)
  • Timeline and budget 

Discovery calls are a win-win for you and your organizer so you can get to know each other better. 

  1. Your Professional Organizer Asks Questions & Listens Intently

When you first hop on a discovery call, a professional organizer should also ask you questions.

Much like a doctor asking you about your symptoms and pains to give you the proper diagnosis and treatment, your organizer should do the same.  

By asking questions, they better understand your situation, goals, timeline, and everything else to create the best organizing plan for you. 

They take time to listen to everything you say and understand what organization needs you to have and how to create a space that reflects your goals and the lifestyle you want. 

It begins with listening to your concerns and the results you’re looking for. 

  1. Your Professional Organizer Is Patient  

Getting organized takes time. 

If it’s your first time organizing with a professional, it can take a bit longer because you’ll be deciding what items to keep or toss. If you’re indecisive, then the process can take a bit longer. But don’t sweat it; it’s part of the process.

A seasoned organizer understands that taking the time to decide and discuss is normal. They will work with you at your pace, so you feel most comfortable at the rate you’re decluttering and organizing. 

  1. Your Professional Organizer Looks at the Whole Person

It’s more than just stuff. 

Organization is not just about putting things back in place. It’s about creating a space in which you can thrive. 

An organized home streamlines your workflow so you can crush your day-to-day activities. To create an environment like that, a professional organizer will take the time to get to know you and learn about your career, habits, and much more. 

professional organizers to avoid and obvious red flags

5 Red Flags to Look Out for When Hiring a Professional Organizer

Red flags are signs that the professional organizer you’re looking at might not be the right person for you. 

Here is a quick list of red flags to look out for:  

  1. There Are No Photos

The internet is a huge space, and you don’t know if some business owners are legitimate or not. If there isn’t a photo of an organizer, steer clear because it can be a scam. 

  1. There’s Little to No Communication

Communication is a two-way street. And with such an investment and with the involvement of personal belongings, you want to know if the person will communicate well with you. 

If they aren’t communicating effectively during the inquiry phase, it can be hard to imagine how they will continue to keep you updated down the line. 

If your organizer doesn’t reply within a week or two, you might want to look for someone else to work with. Communication is key when it comes to organizing. If they don’t communicate with you and set expectations, you won’t know what’s happening and will be left in the dark. No one wants to be left in the dark!  

Note: If they are on vacation or there is a waitlist, then there may be a delay in messages, but most organizers note that somewhere on their website or in an auto-reply. 

  1. They Work Out of their Scope of Knowledge 

A true professional knows where their knowledge ends. 

If your organizer is not certified to work with someone with ADHD, chronic disorganization, or hoarding, (and these are some of the issues you face) then find someone who is. 

An organizer who claims they can help you but doesn’t have the specific knowledge and training required to provide the best service and care you deserve is a red flag. 

  1. They Wants to Organize Their Way, Not in the Way That’s Best for the Client

Organizing is a personalized situation, and it’s never the same for one person to the other, especially for those with ADHD, chronic disorganization, or hoarding. 

If an organizer sets up your home the way they want to just because it looks good, then that’s a huge red flag. 

An organized home should be functional and organized for the owner, not the professional organizer. 

  1. They Throw Things Away Without Your Permission 

If you notice items missing or thrown away without your approval, you may want to work with another professional organizer. 

Your belongings deserve to be respected, even if you don’t want them anymore. Unless you communicate with your organizer that they are allowed to throw things away, they shouldn’t do so without your permission. 

An organizer who does that is secretly speeding up the process and not allowing you to participate in the decluttering journey. Most clients need to let the items go themselves to build confidence in decluttering.  

At the end of the day, trust yourself. 

We’ve laid down a few green and red flags to help you identify good and bad qualities to look out for in a professional organizer. But when it comes down to it, if the person truly feels like the right match, go for it. While finding someone within your budget is best, finding a professional organizer you’re comfortable with and happy working with will bring the best results to your livable space.

Looking to get organized? 

Look no further. As a certified professional organizer from Institute for Challenging Disorganization®, I specializes in helping those with ADHD, chronic disorganization, and/or hoarding. If you’re in the Contra Costa and Alameda Counties area, let’s hop on a call and find out if I’m the right organizer for you or your loved one.



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