Ballpark estimate: $40 to $150+ an hour (a typical room can take about 10 hours)
Does your home feel like a haven where you can relax and unwind, or do find yourself overwhelmed by clutter everywhere you turn? If the latter sounds familiar, you don’t have to be buried under all your possessions indefinitely. Instead, it might be worth investing in the cost of a professional organizer who can help you dig your way out and ultimately make your home more functional again.
Assessing Your Needs
Professional organizing comes in many different forms, so this means you’ll need to determine your specific needs up front. For instance, some people hire organizers to help them weed through the attic and basement and determine what to keep, what to toss, and what to give away. Others want a professional organizer to help them design the best use of their living space and storage capacity and figure out how best to group the things they use in the most effective way. Further, some look for organizers with different specialties to meet specific needs, such as to help store paperwork efficiently, manage inventory for a business, prepare for a move, or design a custom closet or storage unit. Organizers can also set up your space to function for special needs such as mobility challenges or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
What to Look For
When shopping around for a professional organizer, you can look to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and use their searchable directory to find an expert in your area. You can compile the results by professional designation and by location, if you desire. NAPO also offers a Professional Organizer Certification for qualified experts, so looking for someone with this designation can help you narrow in on an organizer who has been in the business for a while and comes with more qualifications than those just starting out.
Before you hire anyone, it can help to start with a vision and a list of goals, as well as a tentative budget, so you can communicate your needs and expectations to the organizer and make sure you are both on the same page. Beyond all of the logistics, though, one important step in selecting the right professional organizer requires finding someone with whom you have a good rapport and also strong trust, since you are allowing someone in your personal space in a very intimate way.
Once you find someone you like, it’s a good idea to get the organizer’s rate, estimate, and policies in writing. Also ask for references so you can get some insight from other clients to help you make sure you are selecting the best expert for your job.
Cost for a Professional Organizer
How much do you expect your organizer to handle? Do you want him or her to manage every detail of your organizing project from start to finish, or do you really just want the organizer to develop a master plan or strategy that you can implement yourself? The answer to this question will have a big impact on what you can expect to spend on the cost of a professional organizer. While every professional organizer is different, some of them offer package deals that include an introductory needs assessment and follow-up visits to your home to continue working with you and helping you to reach your goals. Others charge an hourly rate, which can range from about $40 per hour to $150 per hour. To put this into context, a small project or section of a room (such as your kitchen drawers or file cabinet) might take four or five hours of work to organize, while one full room such as the kitchen might be about 10 hours of work or more. So you can expect to spend around $160 to $600 for a small organization project, or up to $400 to $1,500+ for a full room.
The more an organizer charges an hour, the more experience they likely bring to the table. This is an important point to consider since a very experienced organizer may be more efficient with his or her time, which could pay off in a savings on your total bill.
Keep in mind that in addition to your organizer’s costs, you may also need to buy some storage solutions, such as Rubbermaid containers, plastic bins, and file cabinets. Investing in these tools can add a few hundred more dollars to your total bill.
Decluttering your home and making it more organized can be an important way to reduce your stress and help you function better on a daily basis. But this alone is often not enough for people who hire an organizer, since over time you can find the same mess reoccurring again unless you take steps to address the system (or lack thereof) that got you into this mess in the first place. Therefore, one of the most important things when hiring a professional organizer is not just to clean up your home but also to develop a system to prevent the clutter from happening again. For most people, this strategy is key to improving their quality of life and efficiency and makes the cost of a professional organizer well worth the expense.