An acquaintance recently asked me for help in finding an organizer near where her mother lives, in another state. It is a situation that I cannot help with “virtually” (via telephone, email, or Skype), nor is it one where they can afford my travel expenses to go help hands-on.
Since my goal is to help everyone get organized anywhere, at any budget, here’s what I recommended, and what I tell anyone who asks:
- Feel free to give me your zip code (or that of your loved one). I will take a look at the NAPO member directory for the area in question. If I know someone personally I will simply recommend them to you.
- If I don’t know any of the local organizers personally (which I didn’t in this case), go to www.napo.net (National Association of Professional Organizers).
- Click where it says “Click here to find your local NAPO Organizer or Productivity Professional”.
- Enter the zip code and choose a radius. (In this case, because I had already seen there were none closer, I suggested she start with a 25 mile radius.)
- Choose “Residential Organizing” (or Business, if that’s what you need).
- Under “Optional”, find “Special Populations” and choose “Seniors”. (Or whatever special requirements you think you may have. In this case it was an elderly mother who was being moved to an assisted living facility. There are many other specialties available.)
- You will end up with a list of candidates. Now, click each candidate and look for the following: How long have they been in business? Do they have a website where you can learn more? (etc.) The more experience they have, the more they probably charge. And experience might be what you need, but newbies are not necessarily to be avoided. (In this case I advised looking for someone who specializes in seniors, and who has some actual experience in that area, keeping in mind that “specializing” can range from simply having an interest in, to having some actual experience in, to also having special training in an area of expertise.)
I find, when looking at someone’s website, that there is usually something that tells me “YES” or “NO”, whether it be something they said about themselves in their “About” section, how kind they look in their photo, their testimonials, the design of the website itself, or their organizing philosophy. Some publish rates, and some don’t. Choosing an organizer is a highly personal decision.
I hope this helps someone.
Have YOU had a good (or bad) experience in choosing a professional organizer? What do you look for?
Copyright 2014 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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