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What does a professional organizer do?

By Julie Stobbe / June 14, 2022 /



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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 23 years ago and the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) the American organization is about 40 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, Zoom or email to discover what type of organizing dilemma you want solved.  It might be to have a space 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 my in-person clients to see what the job entails and give you an idea of how long I think it might take and what we will do.  I also offer a 30-minute assessment to my virtual clients.  One of the biggest factors on how long a job will take is how easily and quickly you can make decisions 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?

My virtual clients have 4 ways of working with me.

  1. A series of mini sessions
  2. Be there with you online as you work on your project to support, coach and mentor you
  3. Complete plan is developed for you to do on your own timeframe
  4. Develop routines and systems to help manage your time

80% of my in-person 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 Zoom 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 by discussing what you want to accomplish and how you can accomplish it.

Maybe you don’t want me to see your home.  You can purchase my online course, Create an Organized Home and use the step-by-step videos, worksheets and checklists to complete your project.  You will have access to me through a Facebook group.

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.

My virtual clients find that working with me makes them accountable to themselves and to me, especially in the mini-session program.  We work together weekly, biweekly or monthly.

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, so it might be easier for you to do it with me present.

Let’s chat

If you need more information book a complimentary 30-minute virtual chat with me, whether you want to work in person or online.  I hope to hear from you soon.

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Please post your questions in the comments.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She has been working with clients since 2006 to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She uses her love of physical activity to reduce clutter, in your home and office. She guides and supports you to manage your time. If you’re in a difficult transition Julie can coach you to break-free of emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. Online courses are available to help instruct, coach and support your organizing projects. Get started by downloading Tips for Reorganizing 9 Rooms.

Contact her at

Click here to learn more about her online course Create an Organized Home.

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Organizing my continuing education, take a fresh approach to conferences

By Julie Stobbe / December 17, 2018 /

I support continuing education for everyone in whatever field you are interested in.  I know that you agree because you are reading blogs to learn more about organizing and to improve your skills.  I continue to do that too.

This year I attended 3 conferences.Conferences help you to expand your horizons, learn new information, meet new people, travel to new places and improve your skill set. Click To Tweet

Association of Professional Declutterers and Organizers Conference

This is the professional organization in Britain.  It was held in London England in March.  I had a chance to learn from and share ideas with Professional Organizers from Scotland, Wales, Dubai, United States and the Netherlands.  I enjoyed the sessions on Minimalism, Chronic Disorganization,  learning about the brain- executive function system, making videos with your cellphone and becoming a better speaker.  Not so enjoyable but very necessary was a session on the new information privacy policies in Europe which also affect us in Canada. At the conference they were organizing their yearly Spring Clearing Week.  I really liked the idea of Spring Clearing instead of Spring Cleaning  and started using this term in my information.   We really don’t do a big spring cleaning anymore because our houses, furnaces, air quality and society are much cleaner. In the past it was important to clean thoroughly after being shut inside with fireplaces burning, dirt floors, wooden walls, unpaved streets.  Now it is important to take control of the clutter that develops as we move from season to season changing clothing and activities. Clutter affects our well-being so remember to do spring and fall clearing.  Lastly, the food was delicious and networking fantastic.

Association of Russian Professional Organizer Conference

Association of Russian Professional Organizers

I was contacted to be a surprise North American speaker for their conference in April.  We connected over Skype and they interviewed me about how I operate my business and how the industry of Professional Organizing runs in Canada. Russia is a big country.  To give you a feel for the size, it has 10 time zones, Canada has 5 time zones.  There were 84 participants from many parts of Russia and Japan.  It was a fun experience and so rewarding to see their smiles and hear their gasps when I was introduced.   The conference organizer would ask a question in Russian, the interpreter asked it to me in English, I answered in English, the interpreter translated to Russian and then the audience laughed.  They run their businesses very similarly to the way most organizers in North American setup their businesses.  They have the same difficulties as we do  marketing effectively and  getting clients.  I was so excited to learn from their enthusiasm, joy and dedication.

Professional Organizers in Canada Conference

This year the conference was in Kelowna, British Columbia in November. The theme was Renew and Recharge. Many of the presentations built on each other.  We started with a session about dealing with fears that hold you back from taking the next step.  Write down your fears, determine how to overcome them and what steps you will take.  This theme continued in a marketing session and a session on Minimalism about taking steps to change your lifestyle.  In a session on bullet journaling one of the things that was touched on was about how to reflect on success and failures.  It was a interesting thread that carried through a number of sessions, accidentally.  This year I went to conference as a presenter for the first time.  It was nerve racking but rewarding and fun.  I talked about how to make your office  more productive, creative, inspired and healthy but making small changes to the workplace environment.  Make conscious decisions about the type of lighting, paint colour , room temperature, drinking water, having plants in your office. Stop multitasking, use music to help you focus on tasks, identify productivity pit-stops, things that draw your attention away from the task you are doing.  Apply good ergonomic design concepts in your office, get enough sleep, change you working position every 30 minutes from standing to sitting, change the type of task you are doing to avoid repetitive strain injuries  and change the location of where you are working because your posture will change and that causes you to use different muscle groups. The food was fantastic and it was fun to start each morning with a yoga class.

Take a fresh approach to conferences

A common thread in my conference experience is great people, food and information. But going to conferences in your professional field may start to feel unproductive after a number of years. I took a fresh approach this year.  Focus on the participants and share ideas and learn from each other. Watch how other people network and improve your networking skills.   Look at presentations with a new eye and learn how to improve your presentations and speaking style. Conquer a fear, become one of the presenters at your national conference.  It will help you grow in knowledge and expertise. Combine your conference experience with travel.  I enjoyed traveling on the tube and exploring London, England and seeing the Harry Potter movie set.  Kelowna is a lovely town to walk around, hike up a local mountain or go on a wine tour. Expand your horizons learn new information, meet new people, travel to new places and improve your skill set.

Tell me about your conference experience. 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer and Lifestyle Organizing Coach 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. Julie can coach you to break-free of the physical or emotional clutter constraining you from living life on your terms. 

Contact her at

 Twitter FacebookFacebook group Organizing Mind and Space

Click here to learn more about working with a Professional Organizer?


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