If you've decided to hire a professional organizer (or PO) to lend a hand with your organizing project, or if you're considering it, there are a few simple things you can do to be sure the experience is helpful and valuable to you. Read on for some DOs and DON'Ts that will let you make the most of your time with a PO.
DO set yourself up for success
Before I first meet with my clients, many of them ask me what they need to do to prepare for our appointment. Generally, my answer is "Not a lot!" as I know we'll have plenty of time to talk about organizing challenges and work on solutions once we get going. However, there are a few things I ask of my clients:
- Set aside time for our meeting that's as free of distractions as possible. That means choosing a time of day when you know you won't be repeatedly interrupted by phone calls, family needs, or tasks that must be done right away. This helps us focus on organization.
- Give some thought to what isn't working for you in your home or office, as well as to how you'd really like things to be. You don't need to come up with elaborate plans--or any plans, for that matter--but it helps me to know what's most frustrating to you and how you wish things could work.
- Make a commitment both to yourself and to me that you'll stick to the project as best you can. When you hire a professional organizer, you work together as a team and need to be able to count on each other.
Once our project is underway, I ask my clients to keep these guidelines in mind:
- Remember that disorganization doesn't happen overnight, and neither does organization. It takes time and some hard work!
- You're allowed to backslide every once in a while. There will be days when you don't clear the kitchen table right away, you don't open your mail, or you don't touch the piles on your desk. Cut yourself some slack, take a break, and resolve to get back on track tomorrow.
- Feel free to let your organizer know if there are things that just don't seem to be working for you. The idea is to create organizing systems that work for you, not to make you work for a particular system.
- Be good to yourself and be realistic! Take it slow when you need to, let yourself feel whatever emotions come up for you, and treat yourself well.
Avoid these success-busting DON'Ts
Steer clear of these four things when working with a PO:
- Don't worry about making your home or office "presentable" before your organizer arrives. POs see disorganization of all kinds, from the slightly messy to the truly chaotic; to create a system that's right for you, your organizer needs to see your space as it actually is.
- Resist the urge to skip appointments. Organizing isn't always fun, and there may be days when getting teeth pulled sounds like a better alternative, but remember your commitment to the project and to your organizing team.
- Don't despair if things change slowly. It may take several meetings with your organizer and many hours of work on your own before you really and truly see progress, but trust that things are changing for the better.
- Finally, don't fall back into old habits once your work with the PO is done. Even after the bulk of the work is done, remember the importance of keeping up with the good habits you've developed. You've worked hard to get organized, and you deserve to stay that way!
Whenever you decide to hire a professional to help you reach your organizing goals--or even if you just enlist an understanding friend or family member--keep these simple guidlelines in mind and you'll be well on your way to success.