What does a professional organizer do?



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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 businesses 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 of 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 at 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 a 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, and 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 in managing 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 julie@mindoverclutter.ca

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

 TwitterFacebook Facebook group Organizing Mind and Space

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  1. Janet Barclay on February 19, 2018 at 10:40 am

    I love that you take away donations. You did that for me, and I suspect that if you hadn’t, that excess piece of furniture would still be here after all this time.

    • Julie Stobbe on February 24, 2018 at 8:52 am

      I find that most people are happy when I take donation. It is nice for them to not have donations sitting in their car, garage or hallway at the end of our appointment.

  2. Seana Turner on February 19, 2018 at 10:44 am

    All of us operate our businesses slightly differently, but I think the basic model is very similar. What I love about this is you showing that we aren’t trying to come in and tell you what to do, or lock you into a big expensive contract. I only bill what they need, and if at some point a client says, “I think I’ve got this from here!” I think that is a real accomplishment.

    • Julie Stobbe on February 24, 2018 at 8:55 am

      I agree Seana, although the many organizing shows have helped lead publicity to the organizing industry there is a fear that we will make they get rid of stuff they want to keep. It certainly is about what they want not what we want. Thanks for your comment

  3. Sabrina Quairoli on February 19, 2018 at 10:48 am

    Great information! Questions and Answers posts are great to send to potential clients if they have questions. I have a Q&A page and it worked wonders over the years. Instead of reciting all my answers, I just redirect them to this page. It saves time for me, and they don’t feel pressured to make a decision right when we speak. It’s a win-win for everyone.

    • Julie Stobbe on February 24, 2018 at 8:59 am

      Thank you Sabrina for the idea. I don’t have a Q&A page. I never thought of using this as in that way for potential clients.

  4. Lisa Tonjes Moritz on February 19, 2018 at 11:07 am

    I love that you break down the process for potential clients!

    • Julie Stobbe on February 24, 2018 at 8:57 am

      I think there are alot of misgivings about what we do. Thanks for your comment

  5. Maria Pillitteri on March 7, 2018 at 11:56 pm

    Great post Julie. Important questions answered well.

    • Julie Stobbe on March 8, 2018 at 7:17 pm

      Thank you Maria for the compliment. It is nice to hear from you again.

  6. Jill Annis on March 15, 2018 at 7:33 am

    Excellent post Julie.

    • Julie Stobbe on March 20, 2018 at 8:21 pm

      Thank you Jill for your kind comment

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