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Serving the entire San Francisco Bay Area | Gayle Grace, 510-654-7983

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Choosing a professional organizer

Q: How do I choose a Professional Organizer for my project?

A: There are many things to consider when you are hiring a PO for a project: professional experience, stellar professional references, business credentials, proven ability to solve problems, proven ability to "think outside of the box", proven ability to relate to you and your situation, and proven ability transfer organizing skills.

As there is no official "schooling" for organizers, you have to question their experience. In my case, I came out of the womb always looking for ways to organize everything. Drove my mother crazy! I went to college and majored in accounting as a way to channel my need to line things up and keep everything in place. I spent years as a bookkeeping consultant, but was way more interested in organizing my client's desks, files and offices than I was in the actual bookkeeping. Many of my bookkeeping clients were interior designers, so I learned a great deal from them. In addition, I have formally studied the culinary arts - which reinforced the importance of "mise en place" - organizing a kitchen for efficiency and flow of work. I organized zillions of spaces before I dropped my bookkeeping and moved solely to organizing.

It is extremely important that anyone coming into your home to work have all the proper business credentials - a business license, liability insurance and bonding insurance. In addition, professional references must be available and you should be checking them. Professional references are those from other reputable business people, not just clients, who could easily be friends and family members.

Your professional organizer should be that - a true professional, who solely earns their living in this field. A person whose sole interest is in the success of your project with the ability to offer you a range of options to solve your issues, and yet, be able to zero in on what will and won't work and be able to explain why. Just shopping at the Container Store, as good as that store may be, is not necessarily the best solution to your particular organizing issues.

Certainly you should feel comfortable with your organizer - an organizing session should not be a wrestling match! Nor should it be a psychotherapy session, although, your organizer needs to understand how you live in your home so that they can tailor organizing solutions to suit your particular style. And they may need to be able to accommodate your style with your spouse and/or your children, (even your pets) - to create a smoothly running household.

Organizing solutions are not "one size fits all". Each solution should be customized for you and your house and that's why experience counts for so much in this profession.

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