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Our Profession
The professional organizing industry has grown steadily in recent years as Americans and others all over the world attempt to gain better control of their lives. Facing more and more demands with less and less free time, consumers are struggling to manage their days and conquer the clutter and chaos building up in their lives. Increasingly, they are turning to professional organizers for help. The amount of information available to people continues to grow at a rapid pace, as do the number of demands on our time. Organized people save time and money, and reduce their stress and frustration levels. Organizing systems help you deal with everything from your paper to your professional responsibilitIes and give you parameters on what to keep, what to toss, and where to take action.

What is the best way to get organized?
Experts in the organizing industry agree that there are no "cookie cutter" solutions for getting organized. There are many different personality types, work styles, and environmental influences, so each person must find the system that works best for him or her. The number of organization-related products and services is continually increasing. With the help of a NAPO member you can determine the areas in which you want to improve, such as filing, clutter control, time management, maximizing storage space, or juggling projects and priorities.

How long does it take to get organized?
Organization is a process, not a state achieved in one day. Think about it as "being organized" or "staying organized," not "getting organized." A NAPO member can help you set up an organizing system in a few days. After that, the challenge is to continuously maintain it and work on it one day at a time. The good news is, once you learn good systems, habits, and tools, change becomes easier, as does bouncing back from an unexpected detour or period of feeling overwhelmed.

What Professional Organizers Do
Professional organizers use tested principles and expertise to enhance the lives of clients. By designing custom organizing systems and teaching organizing skills, they help individuals and businesses take control of their surroundings, their time, their paper piles, their lives! An organizer's services can range from designing an efficient closet to organizing a cross-country move. For homeowners, he or she might offer room-by-room space planning and reorganization, estate organization, improved management of paperwork and computer files, systems for managing personal finances and other records, and/or coaching in time-management and goal-setting.

In business settings, an organizing pro can increase productivity and profitability with improvements in paper-filing and storage, electronic organizing, work-flow systems, employee time-management, space design, and more.

Some professional organizers work with specific populations, such as those with Attention Deficit Disorder, the chronically disorganized, children, seniors or students.

How to Hire a Professional Organizer
After many years of unrealized New Year's resolutions and failed attempts to get organized on your own, you have decided to really make it happen by hiring a professional organizer. After all, people hire personal fitness trainers, life coaches, and image consultants to help them achieve their goals. Why not seek professional help in getting-and staying-organized? You will be amazed how quickly your dreams of living and working in an orderly, clutter-free environment will become your new reality.

Finding and hiring a professional organizer is no different than choosing any other service professional. The "right choice" for you will be a professional organizer who has the expertise, skill set, and personality that best suit you and your goals. Consider the following issues before making the first call.

What kind of professional organizing services are you looking for?
Some professional organizers offer a wide range of services, while others limit their practices to a specialized niche. For example, some organizers prefer to work with corporate rather than residential clients; some specialize in creating custom filing or closet systems; others may specialize in preparing for moves or organizing collections and memorabilia. There are even professional organizers who specialize in working with clients who are chronically disorganized or have been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD).

How do you interview professional organizers and decide who is right for you?
You should speak to several professional organizers before choosing one to work with. This can be done easily by telephone or email. If you prefer to meet in person before making a decision, note that some organizers offer free consultations, some charge for the consultation and credit that fee toward services if hired, and others charge totally separately for assessments and services.

What fees should you expect to pay?
As with most professions, fees vary widely based on experience, geographic location, and competition. Many professional organizers charge by the hour, while others prefer value-based pricing and charge by the project. Some will give you options. You will need to establish a budget and decide what feels most comfortable to you.

Avoid choosing a professional organizer strictly by price. Instead, focus on value by finding an organizer with a personality you click with and a skill set that matches your needs. That person is most likely to deliver the results you expect in the shortest amount of time.

What questions should you ask?
One of the first questions you should ask is whether the organizer is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). Of course, NAPO membership does not guarantee the quality of the professional organizer's work, but it does demonstrate a commitment to continuing education and an industry code of ethics. Other professional associations directly related to the organizing industry include Professional Organizers in Canada (POC), the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization (NSGCD), and the Australasian Association of Professional Organizers (AAPO). Your relationship with a professional organizer will be a very personal one. An experienced professional organizer will ask a lot of questions about you, your work style, what you are looking for, and the issues you believe have thwarted your best attempts to get organized in the past. They want to get to know you, understand your objectives, and determine whether they will be a good fit for you. It is in your best interest to be as candid and clear as possible about what you want to achieve.

Divine Organization, LLC is a top professional organizer in the San Antonio, Texas Professional Organizers guide on