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What does a Professional Organizer do?

J. Beam
J. Beam

Millions of people struggle with chaos from a lack of organization in their homes, their office, and their various systems of life. A professional organizer is a an individual who helps people organize the various areas of everyday life by coaching, training, and offering tips to help control clutter and chaos. Much like a personal trainer helps people with their weight and health goals, a professional organizer helps people organize both their physical surroundings and their lifestyles when they have become too overwhelmed to tackle the job themselves.

An individual who becomes a professional organizer is often drawn to the idea through a combination of a desire to help others and through their own desire for order, structure, and organization. There is a large clientele base for organizers because there are many people who struggle with organizational skills, which can eventually wreak havoc in their lives.

Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone

Someone may choose to hire a professional organizer to help them sort out their homes or offices when clutter, paper and record systems, and disarray begin to interfere with day-to-day living. Often times, major life changes such as marriage, children, or divorce prompt people to become better organized. The offers their services to help people become better organized and regain control of their lives.

When a professional organizer comes into a home or office, he or she may assess the surroundings and ask questions about their client’s daily activities and long term goals. The organizer then begins the process of creating organized space and making suggestions for modifying behaviors that will help keep their clients organized long after they are gone. Professional organizers are usually skilled at identifying problem areas and providing solutions to eliminate clutter.

If you decide to hire a professional organizer, you might ask for references, inquire about professional memberships, and ask what their full range of services include. Fees for services vary depending on the area, the services being offered and the scope of the job. Many people feel the expense of a professional organizer is worthwhile because they can reclaim their lives and their time.

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Discussion Comments


I've hired three "professional organizers" and none were any good. Two of them stood around asking me where things should go and the other just condensed the mess into smaller heaps. Long story short: none of them organized anything or offered any suggestions. If I knew where things go I wouldn't have hired them!

Disorganized people need practical help, not someone just shoving things into drawers without a system. These were NAPO people too and I am very discouraged.


I hired a "professional" decorator/organizer late in December 2012. We really hit it off when she was here to look at my art studio. Her claims made me so very happy, but I warned her I had a brain injury and was very overwhelmed with this organizing task. She assured me it would be fine.

Long story short, the shelving got hung, and a wall painted, but the organization did not happen. That had nothing to do with my brain injury.

So my warning here is: if you are working with a brain injured client, be sure to do the organizing you promise!

If there are any delays or interruptions due to your contractors/staff, and this job does not get finished., A brain injured client can be devastated. I'm mot talking disappointed; I am talking devastated!


If you have someone in your life that is overwhelmed in their home, hiring a professional organizer to help them can be a fantastic gift.

My mother was recently injured and over the past few months the organization in her home has really gotten terrible. I try to help clean, but found things in the oddest places. She explained to me it was just easier to put things wherever.

I had a professional organizer come in and they set up oodles of easily accessible storage so now my mom can keep her place neat with ease.

I think professional organizers are really skilled at making a place work for both the people using it and the objects that need to be stored there.


I must admit to loving reality shows on television that feature horrible messes that must be cleaned up. I find it exciting to watch professional organizers at work making huge transformations happen. It is amazing how much people are impacted by the space around them and it really seems to me that the more work goes into a person's home, the happier and healthier they are.

Even for myself, I find giving my home a massive cleaning and reorganizing to be invigorating. Does anyone else get a thrill from neat places? Or am I just weird?

I can honestly say that if I am bored, nothing gets me more psyched than tidying up the space around me.


@Suntan12 - I wonder how difficult it is for a professional organizer to work with a client that is ambivalent to give up their stuff. You always see these television shows about people that are hoarders that don’t want to give up anything. How do you handle challenges like this?

I know it is hard because you want to help the client become organized so that they can have a better quality of life, but some of these people that need help organizing their stuff also need to be able to part with things, if not they will be right back where they started.

I think that this would be a challenging and rewarding career when you can get people like this to make a change for the better.


@Sunshine31 - That is a good tip. I have looked into learning how to become a professional organizer and I am considering taking certification classes with the National Association of Professional Organizers. I think that this will add more credibility and help me make some contacts in the industry.

I also think that it is important to take advantage of nonprofit groups like SCORE that offer business mentoring advice and can match you up with a business counselor that has had experience operating or owning a professional organizer business. I think that this is the best professional organizer training that anyone can receive.

I am also thinking of doing a few projects for free to get my name out and then I can use these testimonials to get my business off the ground. I have a lot of ideas on how to get started, but actually getting started is the hard part.


@bhutan - Wow! That is a lot of money. I read that a professional organizer can offer an assessment and either complete the entire project themselves with the guidance of the client or they can tell the client what they suggest and then the client will fix their closet according to the organizer’s instructions.

This is more for clients with smaller budgets that really can’t afford the organizer for the entire project. I was also reading that a common professional organizer tip is to get rid of anything that you haven’t worn in a year. Chances are these items are cluttering your closet and really are not that meaningful. People don’t realize how much stuff they have in their closet until they actually go through it.


@JaneAir -I think that is a great idea. Sometimes when you break into a new field that you have no experience in it is always a good idea to go slow especially if you are considering opening a professional organizer business.

Some people find that they love the field while others may decide it is not for them after working in a part time position. I have to say that professional organizer jobs can be lucrative because most professional organizers charge between $45 and $150 per hour on average.

They also charge for the project and offer various options for their customers. The more hands on the certified professional organizer is the more they charge for the project.


@ceilingcat - It sounds like this job would be a really good fit for your Mom! But I can understand why she's a little hesitant to go into business for herself. Starting up a business can be extremely challenging and definitely take a toll on your persona life. The rewards can be well worth it though.

Maybe your Mom could see if there are any existing professional organizer services located in your area and try to get hired with them first? She could get valuable experience and also get a first hand look at how a small business is ran!


I have been trying to convince my Mom to go into business as a personal organizer for a really long time. She is so organized I know she would be great at it.

She does a lot of temp work and whenever she goes to a new office she usually makes it a point to work on the filing system. Nine times out of ten they beg her to stay on full time!

I've always been so disorganized that I really think having organizational skills are a gift. It's really exciting there is a profession out there that allow people to share their gift with the organizationally challenged!

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