What is a professional organizer?

The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) says “Professional Organizers use tested principles and expertise to enhance the lives of clients.  By designing custom organizing systems and teaching organizing skills, they help individuals and businesses take control of their surroundings, their time, their paper piles, their lives!”  Organizers help you to decide what items you love and want to keep and others that you don’t love so much, sort them all out and find homes for them, so you know where they are when you need them.  We will also work with you to maintain the system and skills after the initial organizing sessions.

What is a certified professional organizer?

A certified professional organizer has taken extra training from organizations such as the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD).  This training includes extensive reading, classes, and testing to ensure the organizer is knowledgeable in different areas of organizing and the challenges that face disorganized people.

Why hire a professional organizer?

Being disorganized reduces productivity and leads to higher levels of stress.  Getting organized helps you to get things done more efficiently.  Think of hiring an organizer as the extra hands to motivate you to accomplish your goals and live life.  Circumstances in life can cause you to have disorganization in your home and life, or you may just have a specific project you want to take care of like setting up a room to repurpose or cleaning out a closet or attic.  Some people, especially those with ADD, it would be beneficial to schedule and commit to a block of time weekly or monthly to work with an organizer to reach and maintain goals.

Are there benefits to hiring a professional organizer?

Absolutely!  A professional organizer works with you, at your pace, to help implement systems and homes for your items.  While your family and friends are often willing to help, they sometimes tend to feel free to criticize or make decisions for you.  Organizing professionals realize this is a very emotional and difficult time and are there to help coach you through this and not to judge.  When needed they will help push you and step back at other times - all along providing you with support and inspiration.

How long can I expect my project to take?

Every organizing session is different as each person is different.  Much depends on the space or project we are working on and how quickly you can make decisions.  Hands-on organizing sessions are scheduled for a minimum of 3-hour blocks of time.  Some projects may require only a session or two, or additional sessions may be required over a longer period.  Keep in mind that we customize our services to fit your needs, so we are unable to be specific on the time your project will take.  However, your budget and schedule are important so often we will give you “homework” to complete between our scheduled sessions, so our working-together times are more productive and efficient.

Will you make me throw away my things?

It is totally your decision of what gets thrown away.  We will never throw away anything without permission.  If your home is cluttered, for you to reach your goals, you will have to eliminate those items that are unwanted, unneeded, unusable and taking up your precious space for living.  We will help you identify those items and guide you in making that decision but won’t make you get rid of anything you don’t want to. 

Can a professional organizer help me with the moving process?

Moving is a tough job – not only physically but mentally.  Many people cannot afford to hire a moving company that offers the full services.  If that is you, a professional organizer can help you downsize, sort, categorize, and possibly even pack and label boxes for the move.  Even if you are going to hire professional movers, it would be beneficial to prepare for your move in advance by having things sorted of what you want to take and what does not make the move.  Some organizers will also help unpack and set up once the professional movers have delivered your items to your new home.

We have too much stuff, and we are moving to a smaller home.  Will you help us downsize?

Yes, we can help you with this very special yet emotional time in your life.

I have a family member or friend that is a hoarder.  How can I approach them to get help from a professional organizer?

The most important thing is to show them you are concerned about them (not their stuff) and be supportive.  A book that has more specific information is Digging Out: Helping Your Loved One's Manage Clutter, Hoarding & Compulsive Acquiring by Michael A. Tompkins, Ph.D. and Tamara L. Hartl, Ph.D.

What is the process to hire a professional organizer?

Start by looking for organizers located in your area.  A good place to start is the National Association of Professional Organizers or Institute for Challenging Disorganization websites.  You can look for organizers that fit your specific needs. 

What can I expect when I hire a professional organizer?

Professional organizers will not judge you, and they will keep your information confidential.  You can expect a respectful and friendly conversation about your items, questions to learn about what you want to accomplish, your daily habits and learn about you and your family and friends.  You need to be prepared to work because this is a process that you are totally involved in.  Please do not expect your professional organizer to clean, unless this is a service offered.

How do I prepare before your visit?

There is no need to organize or clean before our visit even though many people are embarrassed about their clutter.  Please don’t worry!  We have seen it all, and that is why we are here to help.  Be sure you eat a healthy meal and dress comfortably before our session.   Get ready to make those decisions and start enjoying the things that make you happy!!

What is the process to hire you?

You can contact me at Mary@HeartsDesireServices.com or call me at 804.387.9658.  Then we have a phone consultation where we will discuss your needs and challenges.  We will talk about your goals, priorities, timeframe, budget and from there we can schedule an In-Home consultation.  During this initial meeting, we will review your space, develop a plan to reach your goals and provide an estimate of time to complete the project.  We will also discuss fees and packages and answer any questions you have.  If we decide to move forward, we can either begin working or schedule our first working session.  (Please note that there is a $50 In-Home Consultation fee,)


Is working with a Professional Organizer confidential?

Absolutely.  You can be assured that your privacy and our work together is strictly confidential.  We adhere to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) code of ethics.

What areas do you service?

We primarily serve clients residing in the Richmond, VA, Metropolitan area.  There may be additional travel fees if you are located beyond 50 miles (from my home base in Powhatan, VA) is charged at $.55 per mile.

Can I check references?

Definitely.  Some testimonials can be found on my website or just ask me.

Is it worth the money?

Hiring a professional organizer you are making an investment in your future.  Your time has a value to it.  If you are spending time looking for things and sometimes end up going to rebuy an item that can get expensive.  Just think what you can do with that time spend looking for things.