What to Look for when Hiring a Pro Organizer
Guest Post By Veronica Bishop

As professional organizers, we often get asked whether all of our homes are meticulously tidy (um...no. There is a toddler living in mine). While some organizers live in ultra-neat homes, the reality is that we all face a certain amount of clutter in our lives. It's how we handle it that makes us organized. 

But here's the rub. Just being organized is not enough to make you a good pro organizer. Sure, you have to LIKE organizing in order to find joy in the job, but that's just the starting point. To be a great professional organizer, you must have a number of other even more important skills in your knowledge toolkit. Hiring an organizer is a bit like hiring a good therapist or finding the perfect food cart; it has to be the right fit. 

This is what we look for when we hire our employees, and these points haven't failed us yet. If you are thinking of hiring an organizer, you should experience the following traits within the very first session:

Empathy and listening skills. A good organizer is able to put themselves into the shoes of their client, while still remaining grounded in the task at hand. They will ask meaningful questions to keep the project going, and will check in with you periodically to see how you are doing. They will be empathetic if you are experiencing an emotional response to letting go of items, and will keep the conversation light and focused on the work. If you get distracted, they will bring you back to the task at hand, but with kindness and understanding.

No drive-by organizing. I heard this term at a recent National Association of Professional Organizers Oregon chapter meeting, and loved it. Drive by-organizing is when an organizer works with a client, makes the house look spectacular, and within five minutes of leaving, it's back to being a mess (eg: legos organized by color - UGH!). Organizing systems MUST work for the client, and honor the client's ability to stick to it. Sure, labeling is great, but what's the point if it doesn't make room for change? A good organizer will understand this and ask you questions about your routine, habits and abilities before putting new systems in place. 

A non-judgemental approach. I can't stress this point enough. Most organizers have this in spades, since we got into the business to help people. A good organizer will never roll their eyes, sigh or make any comments about your stuff - good or bad. If you ask us for an opinion on an item, we will give it freely but with a detached, open-ended response. You should be the one making decisions about your stuff, not the organizer.

Ability to scale the project. Organizing projects can take on a life of their own. For example, someone might call our office asking for help cleaning out and organizing a basement. They send us photos, and we make an estimate of how long that job will take. But depending on the client's budget, energy-level, availability and goals for the rest of the house, that project may need to go on longer or be shortened to fit what the client needs. A good organizer will recognize this and make recommendations for next session goals, give homework and help you keep on track so that you can finish on time and on budget. 

So how will you find an organizer with these traits? We encourage you to interview a couple of organizers and get a feeling for how they work with their clients. Trust your intuition - you will likely feel a "click" when it's the right person. 

If you think you have some of those traits, love organizing and are in the Portland area, consider applying to work for us! We are looking for just the right person to join our team. 

Happy Organizing!

Portland Resources and Events

A Tip From Missy

If you are cooking for the holidays, remember that you don't have to be Martha Stewart! Delegating is key to maintaining life balance during this busy season. Check out our blog post on the topic, which comes with a free printable to keep track of who is bringing what.  

Book Review: The Little Book of Tidying

When a professional organizer gets the chance to write a review for a book with the word "tidying" in the title, they jump at the opportunity. At 94 pages,  The Little Book of Tidying  by Beth Penn is indeed little - but packed with wisdom, tips, and the cutest illustrations you've ever seen. 

Free Leaf Disposal

In an effort to help reduce neighborhood flooding and keep roads safe, Clean Water Services in Hillsboro and other Portland areas will be hosting a leaf disposal and food drive. Bring up to 50 lbs of leaf debris to locations provided, and remember to bring some food for the canned food drive!

You can view partnering local cities in the link below, including Beaverton, Tigard and Tualatin. 

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