15 Questions to ask before hiring a professional organizer

Home Organizing and related questions to ask before hiring a professional.

Before hiring a professional home organizer, consider asking the following 15 questions to make sure that you get the assistance that aligns with your values and needs.

On the 01st of September 2021, about one year ago, we provided our professional home organizing service to one of our very first clients. We had “clients” prior, but they consisted mostly out of family, friends and neighbors who supported me during the initial phase of building my own business. Walle Declutter celebrated its first year of existence in June 2021. 

At the beginning of April 2020, like many other people, I found myself stranded at home due to South Africa’s hard lockdown during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Frustrated, feeling hopeless and distraught about confronting and accepting a new reality of a deadly virus disrupting the very way we live, had me question everything I have associated as meaningful before the pandemic. I started questioning myself if I liked my career and if I derive meaning from it. I contemplated long about my relationships with family and friends and asked if I have invested enough time and energy to build lasting relationships with the people I care for most. By asking these questions I was able to reflect on my life, enabling myself to ask the tough questions about one’s existence. Sounds like I had hit an existential crisis right? I did, I have, I still do but I have also gathered insightful life experiences during this last year.

Among some of the most profound realizations about my journey of finding meaning was that we are all equipped to adapt, to take on new forms, roles and ask important questions.  As a result, I did the following:

  1. I quit my professional job.
  2. I sold all my possessions, appointed a letting agency to rent out my house and moved back to my home town. Being truly inspired by The Minimalist approach I did exactly what they advocate by surrendering all my worldly possessions in my pursuit to find something that felt real and meaningful to me.
  1. I discovered meaning in the minimalist movement.
  2. I took the time to read as much as possible about decluttering and professional organizing. See, due to my newly established existential crises at the time, I was drawn to the idea of decluttering my mind and finding meaning in new experiences. I expanded on my knowledge of being a business owner of which I had little knowledge at the time when I started out. I started reading a couple of books! Books by Nic Haralambous and John Brooks to name a few. Perhaps one of the books that had the biggest impact on me is by Mark Manson. His book titled, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a fuck continues to inspire me. It also reminds me that real experiences, real people and truly meaningful things are out there waiting to be discovered by those willing to go through some hardships and multiple existential crises for more meaningful endeavors.
  3. I started my own business.

Second to the “I quit my job” part, point six is the shortest but the most exhilarating, exciting, hardest and most difficult task I have ever taken on and in that process, the ME of Walle Declutter became a WE. Walle Declutter has grown into a pretty cool small business with an awesome team of professional organisers that helps to make sure we deliver an intimate, compassionate and professional service to our clients. This is where all the meaning is derived from, from our interactions and relationships with you, among ourselves and those we will meet in the future. In short, it is the people that makes everything worthwhile.

Discovering what that ‘something’ is that truly makes you happy, that brings you a profound sense of meaning might be as close as starting your own decluttering journey, of your mind, your life and your physical space. We would love for you to experience your own decluttering journey in whichever way suits you.

The actual decluttering process might be experienced as overwhelming and daunting at first. This is completely normal by the way. But as with everything in life I urge you to give it a try. Start small as mentioned in our previous blog, be your best self by following these 6 steps to declutter your clothing wardrobe and simply experience it. You might enjoy the process and start incorporating organizing methods in everything you do daily. It will change your life for the better, I promise.

You should ask these 15 great questions before hiring a professional home organizer if you don’t feel up for the task of starting the decluttering process by yourself.  Not everyone succeeds in their first attempt to declutter and that’s okay. Luckily a whole new industry of professional organizing has emerged in South Africa to help you with your specific organizing challenges. There are several Professional Home Organizers in South Africa that individually offers different organizing methods and includes various services in their portfolio to assist you to get organized.

As a professional home organizing company that values our relationships with clients, we thought it suitable to inform you that although the professional organizing industry is novel, you can ask questions before hiring a professional organizer. Here follows 15 great questions you should ask yourself before hiring a professional organizer.

15 Questions to ask before you hire a Professional Home Organizer

Question 1: Can anyone take on the process of decluttering?

15 questions to ask before hiring a Professional Organiser

We say absolutely. You can start organizing your home or office by applying organizing methods that are shared online by various professionals in the field. Step-by-step guides to start the decluttering process are available at your fingertips. This question is valuable to ask if you aim to hire a professional organizer to get started but that will also equip you with the skills and knowledge to maintain your organized space.

Question 2: What is Professional Home Organizing?

By asking this question you’ll get an oversight into the understanding of what organizing entails and how the professional home organizer fits into delivering organizing services that fit your values and needs. 

Question 3: Is it a daunting task to get organized?

It is an empowering and rewarding experience to declutter. Many people experience the decluttering process of their homes as therapeutic and emotionally uplifting. As it may, many people find it difficult to start organizing their homes and that is why Professional Home Organizers can be hired to assist you with getting started with the decluttering process. If you pose this question, make sure not to get gaslighted. Don’t buy into the typical sales pitch that “all will be well and easy”. Know what you are getting yourself into before embarking on a decluttering journey and choose your service provider wisely.

Question 4: When should I consider hiring a Professional Home Organizer?

Our physical environments have a notable influence on our ways of thinking, how we behave, how we feel and how we engage with other people. If you don’t experience your home as a sanctuary it might be time to consider decluttering your home. The best time to consider hiring a Professional Home Organizer is when the idea of organizing your home by yourself makes you anxious or uncomfortable.

Question 5: What exactly do Professional Home Organizers do?

Professional Home Organizers are experienced and creative problem solvers that will assist you with evaluating your space, gauge your emotional stance on your current clutter situation and advise you on a feasible and structured plan to get organized. A Professional Organizer will guide you through your journey step-by-step to find systems and implement them to ensure that you stay organized and perform optimally.

Question 6: Should I do all the heavy lifting myself?

Thankfully, no. When Hiring a Professional Home Organizer, make sure to ask if they are hands-on with the decluttering process or if they only provide guidance while you go through the process. At Walle Declutter we follow a participatory approach when rendering our professional organizing services. You won’t be left unassisted.

Question 7: Should I be involved in the decluttering process?

The client needs to participate in the decluttering and organizing of their spaces. Systems planned by Professional Organizers should be designed and implemented with the client at the center thereof. Decluttering, as daunting as it might seem is fun and good for your mental and emotional health and you can only benefit from the experience by participating.

Question 8: What can I expect to feel from the experience of having other people go through my personal belongings?

All experiences are personal.  There is no direct answer to this question. Clients that hire Professional Organizers experience a variety of emotions from pure relief to embarrassment.

Question 9: What do I do when I feel self-conscious or embarrassed about the state of my home and don’t want anyone to see it?

Reach out to a Professional Home Organizer. You should never feel embarrassed or ashamed of the condition of your home. No one is perfect and we all go through different life cycles. Seeking assistance to improve the state of your home should be received with compassion and understanding. Find a professional organizer that values relationships with clients and keep all interactions confidential with no judgement.

Question 10: Do Professional Home Organizers take before and after pictures?

Most professional organizers do. Pictures sell. It tells a story and it also serves as a portfolio of work that has been done by the professional home organizer. But pictures should only be taken with the permission of the client. Looking at before and after pictures are rewarding and sharing the transformations with others can serve as inspiration.

Question 11: Do Professional Organizers force clients to discard belongings?

No. You should never be in a position to be told by someone else to discard anything you care for. If an item sparks joy or makes you happy, keep it! Professional Home Organizers, should remain unbiased and will have no attachment towards your belongings which makes it easier to ask you questions about the items you are hesitant to part ways with. The decluttering process requires professional organizers to categorize items into three main piles namely: Keep, Donate or Discard. It is during this process that your professional organizer will gain an understanding as to what items you value most.

Question 12: How do Professional Organizers determine their cost for a project?

Many professional organizers have individually set fees. The Professional Organizing industry in South Africa is not regulated and no standard fees are applicable.  This can work in your favor when you are in the market of hiring a professional organizer as you can compare pricing and service offering by asking for quotes from a couple of service providers.

Question 13: Can a Professional Organizer help me get in touch with reputable organizations to donate stuff to?

Most professional organizers have a network of people they work with. This network usually encompasses several service providers that complement the work of a professional organizer such as plumbers, builders, interior designers and other skilled professionals you might need to get organized. Donating items to a charity and getting the stuff to the correct place will normally be done by the professional organizer you hire.

Question 14: Must you meet with a Professional Organizer first before hiring them?

In our experience, organizing and decluttering your home isn’t as simple as hiring a professional organizer and expecting results in an instant. You can expect to meet with professional home organizers through a first consultation first. This is a great opportunity to meet the professional organizer and establish if you will be comfortable working with the person before hiring them. A credible professional organizer would normally insist on meeting with you first before taking on a project.

Question 15: Must I supply the hired Professional Organizer with any resources?

Most professional home organizers source all the resources like baskets, containers and organizing tools that are required for the project. Normally, you aren’t required to supply the service provider with anything but you can be expected to be billed for resources sourced on your behalf.

If you have asked yourself these 15 great questions before hiring a professional organizer and feel comfortable going ahead with the process of getting professionally organized, make sure to ask similar questions to the candidates you consider hiring and if you would like to have our team at Walle Declutter render our professional organizing services reach out or subscribe to our newsletter to receive more insightful organizing tips and knowledge of the organizing industry in South Africa.

The article was written by Riaan Saayman – Founder of Walle Declutter, a professional in-home organising company.

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