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Archive for Virtual Organizing

What does a professional organizer do?

POC Gold Leaf Member

Perhaps you are familiar with the Professional Organizer industry.  It is an unregulated industry.  Anyone can call themselves a Professional Organizer.  Professional Organizers in Canada  (POC) was established about 17 years ago and the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) the American organization is about 30 years old. Look for organizers listed on these directories.  Most Professional Organizers have their own business and specialize in areas of organizing. As you read their websites you will be able to see their years of experience,  type of training and continuing education.

What happens when I call an organizer?

Usually there is some type of conversation over the phone, Skype or email to discover what type of problem you want solved.  It might be to have a spaced organized, help with moving, develop systems to make things function more smoothly, downsizing, coaching or virtual organizing etc. Then there is a description of how the job will be completed. This is about the only common business practice.  Since we all own our own businesses we have varying ways of continuing.

When you contact Mind over  Clutter:

Can I get an estimate on the cost for the work to be completed?

Most times it is hard to estimate how long a job will take during the conversation.  I offer a free one hour assessment to see what the job entails and give you an idea of how long I think it might take and what we will do.   One of the biggest factors on how long a job will take is how easily and quickly you can make decisions on if items stay or go.  The second factor is, sometimes the job expands to include unforeseen work: filing papers, assembling shelving or bookcases, corners and areas not discussed during the assessment. I work on an hourly rate and offer a package of 10 hours at a reduced rate.

How does it work?

80% of my clients work with me to go through items and decide what will stay and what will be donated or recycled.  Then we discuss the best place and way to store the items so they can be easily found and used. Most clients like to learn  the skill of organizing and so working together helps them to learn where start, how to sort, how to decide what stays and what goes, how to store things in containers and where is the best location to store different types of items.

What if I don’t want to help or can’t help?

If you don’t want to help, I can work alone sorting items based on our conversation on what you want to keep and what you want to donate.  Then I create a donate pile  and a garbage pile and recycle pile.  Nothing leaves the house until you have looked through each pile.  If you can’t help you can sit with me and I can bring you things to do and you can answer my questions.

What if I need some guidance but can do all the work myself?

We can work together virtually.  You show me the space to organize over Skype and I send you a plan and you complete the work.  Here is more information about virtual organizing.  Or I can coach you through the process in a conversation in-person or virtually discussing what you want to accomplish and how you can accomplish it.

What happens with donations and recycling?

At the end of each work session I take the donations.  I will drop them at centers that will take your things.  I can take them to the donation center of your choice too.  I take non-curbside recycling at the end of each session. Usually that includes, batteries, paint cans, small electronics , small appliances, textile recycling, medications, and plastic bags.

Why wouldn’t I just do it myself after the one hour free assessment?

Some people do.  They have enough information and can continue with the job.  Most people feel overwhelmed and stressed by doing it on their own.  They find it easier to work with a professional who can guide them through the problem, help solve it and reduce the stress they feel about the situation. Working with someone makes you block time out for the appointment and helps you to stop putting it off.  It is always more fun working with someone than working alone.

Will you give me homework to do?

Only if you want it.  Some people like to keep going with the work and get it done quickly.  Some people don’t want to work alone or would feel bad if they didn’t get the homework done so I don’t that person anything to do.  There are some tasks that are very time consuming and if you can do it on your own it makes it more cost effective for you, sorting paper, going through books, CDs, VHS tapes, clothing.  However those tasks can be difficult to figure out what to keep and what to donate that you might it better for you to do it with me present.

Please post your questions in the comments.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 Twitter – @julieorganizer Facebook – http://facebook.com/mindoverclutter/  

Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space https://www.facebook.com/groups/1881280812154271/

Virtual Organizing – who, why, where, what

Who would use virtual organizing services?

For clients who:

  • wish to do the “hands on “organizing themselves
  • are uncertain about someone coming into their home,
  • want a cost effective way to get organized
  • need to manage their organizing appointments to fit a complex schedule
  • need a body double to stay focused

Why would you expand your business to included this service?

Virtual organizing allows organizers to:

  • spend less time driving, the organizer is in their office working with the client online or providing support to the client through prearranged online meetings
  • have clients all around the world
  • keep working with clients that move away
  • move to a new location and  keep working with clients from their previous location
  • transition to less physical organizing while still coaching, teaching, supporting and mentoring clients

What would a virtual organizing session look like

There are probably as many ways to do virtual organizing as there are organizers.  Here are 2 formats.

Format 1 for the DIYers = 3 conversations, a plan, follow up support

To keep the process simple, only one room will be discussed at a time.

The process consists of:

  1. After the client contacts you, book an intake conversation over the phone, Skype or e-mail to describe the process to the client.   Have the client send you photos or a video so you understand their situation clearly and to use them as reference
  2. Book a Virtual Appointment using Skype, Face Time, Google Hangouts or Facebook to see the room and discuss the client’s organizing goals.
  3. Develop a step by step plan and send them their customized organizing plan
  4. After they have had time to read the plan, book a virtual  question and answer session to allow the client to clarify the plan and establish a timeline for the project.

Once a timeline has been established for the project one of two follow up options may be selected.

Support Option A – This works well for people who manage their time well and are motivated to get the job done. 

The client will work on the project and e-mails pictures or sets up a Skype call as needed to help:

  • solve problems,
  • clarify the next step,
  • receive storage suggestions.
  • receive donation and recycling information.

 Support Option B – This works well for people who are easily distracted or procrastinate in getting the space organized.

  • The client will e-mail the day and time they will be working on the job.
  • You will e-mail, Skype, text or call each hour to see what assistance they need in order to successfully complete the work scheduled for that day.

In Format 1 most of your time is spent on the process of building the customized plan.  Set limits on how long the Intake Conversation, Virtual Appointment and Virtual Q & A will last. The billing  for the plan will include the time spent on the 3 conversation and the time to write the plan.  You will also be billing for support options.  You may want the client to pay a retainer that covers a specific number of minutes or hours.  If they need a lot of support they can purchase additional retainers.  If they don’t use all the minutes they purchased, reimburse them.

Format 2 for the Body Double Clients = This process is very similar to working with the client in person. 

  1. After the client contacts you, book an intake conversation over the phone, Skype or e-mail to describe the process to the client.   Have the client send you photos or a video so you understand their situation clearly and to use them as reference.
  2. Book a Virtual Appointment using Skype, Face Time, Google Hangouts or Facebook to see the room and discuss the client’s organizing goals and begin organizing. You will be on your computer for the entire length of the appointment.  You will be their body double teaching them skills, keeping them focused and supporting them. Coach them through the process of sorting, reducing, establishing a space to store things, containers to use and evaluating if they met their goals for the session.  The sessions may include: where to donate items, how to sell items, where to recycle items and any services you would like to include in the package.
  3. Book the next appointment and continue working with the client until the job is completed.

Billing for Format 2 is simple.  Determine what your virtual organizing hourly rate is and bill them for the number of hours you worked together.

You don’t need to limit your virtual organizing to rooms.  I have done a virtual time management session with a client.

If you want to discuss these formats, contact me and let’s learn from each other.  

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

 

Virtual Organizing-Is it for You?

Sarah Buckwalter

Sarah Buckwalter

Certified Professional Organizer®, Sarah Buckwalter, has over 17 years of experience running an award-winning organizing business, Organizing Boston. With a desire to help everyone get organized, Sarah developed Organizing U. Organizing U offers a professional organizer directory, online courses and virtual organizing programs to help people live more organized lives. Organizing U also offers training programs for Professional Organizers.

organizingulogo-1

Virtual organizing is a new field for the Professional Organizing industry in Canada.  How well established is virtual organizing in the United States?

Virtual Organizing is a new field in the US as well. While there are a handful of organizers who are offering virtual organizing in the US, many are just learning about it and starting to explore it.

Virtual organizing will be the perfect solution for some people but not for others.  Who do you think benefits from virtual organizing as compared to working with a professional organizer in person?

The people who get the most benefit out of virtual organizing are those who are able to do the physical work themselves, but just need (or want) the direction and expertise of a professional. Virtual organizing is great for those who need some accountability while they work through their organizing project. If someone is unwilling or unable to do the work themselves then they will not benefit from virtual organizing.

When you are communicating with your virtual clients do you like to use the telephone or some other technology?  Which technologies have you found to work well for communicating with your clients?

I prefer to use video because you can see the space first hand. I think it allows you to achieve a greater connection with the client because it feels as though you are there with them. I find Skype and FaceTime to be the best platforms. Skype works on any device, so that would be my first choice.

When a client has hired you to work with them, what are your next steps in helping that client become organized?

My first step is always to create an organizing plan with the client. This helps outline the scope of the project for the client and is great to be able to refer to as we go to gauge progress and help stay on track. The next step is to set up a regular meeting schedule to see the process through. Then, we get started and work through the plan.

In all organizing jobs some clients are more successful with organizing and other clients continue to struggle. What tips do you have to make your clients’ organizing projects a success?
1. Have a written plan. It helps the client through the process to be able to check things off as you go.
2. I have a signature process that I apply to every organizing project. I find that organizing is more effective if clients can follow specific steps and apply the same process to each space.
3. Keep a consistent schedule. Don’t end the session without scheduling and creating a plan for the next session.
4. Go above and beyond. Clients will respond well to your extra efforts.

If you feel virtual organizing is something you would like to try, contact Mind over Clutter and discuss it with Julie.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Do you need organizing solutions for your home office?

MIND OVER CLUTTER is offering a free 30-minute Virtual Organizing Session.

Mind over Clutter logoHere’s how it works:

1. We book a virtual appointment with video chat: Skype, Face Time, Google Hangout, Facebook video or send me photos or a video and chat on the telephone
2. You show me your home office.
3. I recommend solutions for  your organizing dilemmas.

Contact me to take advantage of this free introductory offer via JULIE@MINDOVERCLUTTER.CA

Virtual Organizing maybe the Solution to your S.P.A.C.E.

  For clients who wish to do the “hands on “organizing themselves I offer support services through virtual organizing.  In order to keep the process simple only one room will be discussed at a time.  There will be an initial session cost for each room to be organized.

Initial Session

The initial session costs $100.00.  It consists of an intake conversation,  about one space, over the phone or Skype or e-mail lasting about 15 minutes.  It is followed by or at the same time, sharing with me a visual look at the space to be organized.  The client can e-mail me pictures or can show me the space over Skype.  If the client wishes, they can send me a description of their challenges.  I will e-mail a plan of action to the client.  After the client has studied the plan a question and answer conversation will occur to clarify the plan and establish a timeline for the project. This session will last about 15 minutes. Once a timeline has been established for the project one of two options may be selected.

Option 1

The client will work on the project and will e-mail me pictures or set up a Skype call as needed to help them solve problems, clarify the next step, receive storage suggestions or donation and recycling information.  This system works well for people who manage their time well and are motivated to get the job done.  The cost of option 1 is $10.00 for each half hour consultation requested by the client.  A retainer of $30.00 is paid in addition to the initial session cost at the beginning of the job.  Additional retainers can be purchased as needed.

Option 2

The client will e-mail me the day and time they will be working on the job.  I will e-mail, Skype, text or call each hour to see what assistance they need in order to successfully complete the work scheduled for that day.  This systems works well for people who are easily distracted or procrastinate in getting the space organized. The cost of option 2 is $5.00 for 5 minutes each hour.  For example if the client is planning to work from 12:00-3:00 on the job then I will contact them at 1:00, 2:00, 3:00 and the cost of the session in $15.00.  A retainer of $30.00 is paid in addition to the initial session cost at the beginning of the job.  Additional retainers can be purchased as needed.

Residential Organizing Services for the Region of Niagara, Hamilton, Halton-Peel and Surrounding Area