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Q. I’ve been disorganized for a long time and don’t know where to begin. How can a Professional Organizer help me?

A. A Professional Organizer can see the big picture and envision the end result, no matter how bad things may seem to you. We have the ability to break down large projects into manageable chunks. We keep you on track so you can focus and you’re not bouncing from one thing to another, never completing anything. Working with a Professional Organizer is similar to working with a personal trainer to get in shape. In the same way, when you work with a Professional Organizer you exercise your “organization muscles” by creating organized systems, learning new skills, and practicing them until they become habits.

Q. I feel embarrassed to have anyone come to my home. Do I have to clean up before our first appointment?

A. No, you don’t have to clean up beforehand – as a matter of fact, it’s helpful if we see how you typically live or work so we have an accurate picture of they way things really are. We’re accustomed to seeing all kinds of environments and we’re there to support you in your goal for improved organization, not be critical or judgmental. A NAPO-affiliated Professional Organizer abides by a professional Code of Ethics concerning client confidentiality so you can rest assured that your identity and our work together will remain confidential.

Q. How long does it take to get organized?

A. It depends and can vary greatly. When we do the initial consultation, we discuss organizing goals and do a walk-through of your home or office. Factors that affect how long it takes are the scope of the project, size of rooms, volume of clutter, level of organization, how quickly decisions are made, your health/energy level, distractibility, and interruptions. During the consultation, we give an estimate of how long we think it will take based on your goals and other factors.

Q. Will I be able to do it all myself?

A. People who are highly motivated and already pretty organized may be able to follow through on our suggestions and do it all themselves. However, the vast majority of people who inquire about our services need hands-on assistance and multiple organizing sessions to accomplish their goals. There are many organizing books in the marketplace with ideas and tips on getting organized, and we often find them in our client’s homes. However, we’ve found that most people need more personalized direction, help and accountability than any book could provide.

Q. How do I select a Professional Organizer to best meet my needs?

A. Many people find Professional Organizers by doing an internet search, through referrals and word of mouth. Professional Organizers affiliated with the National Association of Professional Organizers have made a commitment to continuing education and an industry Code of Ethics. Other related associations include the Institute for Challenging Disorganization and the National Association of Senior Move Managers.  A professional always strives to improve their knowledge so they can better serve their clients. This takes time, commitment and money. A professional is someone who spends the majority of their time working at organizing and gets paid to do so. Many organizers dabble at it part-time, as more of a hobby than a profession.

Q. How much does it cost?

A. It varies, as no two situations are identical. During the initial consultation, we give an estimate based on the services you need and other variable factors. Professional Organizers in the Atlanta area typically charge anywhere from $45-$125 per hour. Factors that may influence rate are experience, specialties, accreditations and professional memberships. Choosing a Professional Organizer strictly by price may be a mistake. You’ll most likely get the results you want if you focus on value and choose an organizer with a personality and skill set that matches your needs.

Q. What does CPO® mean after an organizer’s name?

A. CPO® is the acronym for Certified Professional Organizer. It recognizes Professional Organizers who have met specific standards, and proven through examination and client interaction that they possess the knowledge and experience required for certification. The program recognizes and raises industry standards, practices and ethics of Professional Organizers. While the CPO® designation is not an endorsement or recommendation, certification maximizes the value received from the products and services provided by a Certified Professional Organizer.

Q. I’m interested in getting help for someone I care about. How does that work?

A. The million-dollar question is, “How does the individual feel about getting help?” Are they open and receptive or resistant? I’ve found that as much as you may see the need and want to help, if they aren’t emotionally ready and don’t think there’s a problem, then they will likely be resistant. There may be a better time later on when they are ready to make the changes necessary to become more organized and let go of excess possessions that may be contributing to the problem.

Q. Do you work with hoarders?

A. Our company policy is that we will not work with hoarders unless they are actively engaged in therapy and there is a collaborative (three-way) relationship between the client, therapist and organizer. Even then, progress can be extremely laborious and slow. We usually refer clients who are hoarders to an expert at the Atlanta Hoarding Task Force or Institute for Challenging Disorganization, who are better equipped to handle those types of situations.

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