As I have mentioned before, professional organizer Melissa Smallwood of Organized Life by Design volunteered her services to help the Consumer Queen organize her garage. Now that the Consumer Queen's garage is decluttered, she was able to send Melissa her garage dimensions and a better idea of what needed to go in the space. Melissa was then able to start to put together a detailed organizational plan for the garage. As she started this process, I was able to ask her a few questions to get a better idea of what professional organizers do and how they tackle a customer's organizational problem.
1. As a professional organizer, when you first talked to the Consumer Queen about organizing her garage, what information did you need to know?
I needed to know the scope of the problem (she was able to provide me with a video and pictures), I need to know how the clutter became an issue, what the client's goal is for the space and more practical things like the dimensions of the space, budget, time frame for project, etc.
2. What is an organizational plan that a professional organizer will give you?
This will vary according to the professional organizer. There are more and more of us offering virtual organizing services similar to the services I am offering the Consumer Queen. The plans I provide my clients include my insight into how the area became disorganized (or why organization is lacking in general), ways to improve organization generally and then specific steps for organizing based on the individual client's needs and preferences. I also provide a maintenance plan and follow up so that once someone has invested the time, money and energy in becoming more organized they don't turn around 3 months later to find the space a mess again. The plan will also include product recommendations within the budget guidelines the client has provided me with.
3. What were you thinking about when you were drawing up the Consumer Queen's garage plan?
Her husband's health issues and the fact that kids play in there means that safety needs to be in the forefront of the design. My biggest goal is getting room for the car in there
4. What was the most challenging aspect of creating a design for the Consumer Queen's garage?
The many purposes the space needs to accommodate versus the space available
5. What should a plan from a professional organizer include?
Again this will depend on the organizer and the type of services you are receiving. When I worked with local clients (hands-on) my plans were less involved and less specific because I was implementing them. With virtual organizing clients the plan is much more detailed and "user friendly" so that the client can easily make the changes called for. Any basic plan should be specific to the client's needs, situation and goal for their space.
6. What makes plans effective?
Effective organizing plans are NOT canned. Everyone has a different organizing style or personality. Any plan needs to reflect the unique desires and style of the client and their situation. Organizing is not a one size fits all field.
7. Why should people consider hiring a professional organizer instead of doing the project themselves?
A professional organizer can look at the clutter/disorganization objectively and can assist with insight into how the problem came to exist in the first place. A professional organizer can also narrow the focus and set realistic goals to make sure a project is successful from start to finish.