How to Become a Professional Organizer
There is something satisfying about entering a well-organized pantry full of shelves lined with labeled baskets, assorted jars and color-coordinated cans. Sure, a trip to the Container Store or a scroll through Amazon’s most popular organizational products can help you turn a cluttered mess into Insta-worthy space, but the easiest way to get that look you covet is to hire a professional organizer. And while it is truly a luxury to hire a professional to handle the work, a survey of 830 Good Housekeeping readers have found that 52% of people would hire a professional organizer for their home, given the occasion.
To be clear, your friend who follows a few organizational profiles on Instagram (think: The Home Edit or NEAT Method) and who likes to label things for fun is not a professional. However, there are over 3,500 members of the National Association of Organizational and Productivity Professionals. But if you think your before-after projects deserve a professional title, follow this guide on how to become a professional organizer, including tips and tricks from people who have done it themselves.
Many professional organizers, including Anna, Punaise Pro and founder of Sorted by Anna, see if their passion deserves a career pivot with a provisional membership to ONAP. Membership in education, which costs $ 299, includes three mandatory online courses – basic organizational theory, practical skills for practical organizational work and review of the ONAP code of ethics – as well as additional professional development options, such as networking events and industry conferences.
But the lessons are just the beginning: if you are trying to become a pro, contact your family and friends and ask if you can use your organizational skills. You never know where that experience can lead – for Anna, it has propelled her business. After her friend posted photos of her newly organized closet, a Facebook friend noticed and booked a session – and the rest is history.
During the early stages of launching a career as a professional organizer, you can hone several skills.
Know what type of organizer you want to be.
The organization is not universal: there are different methods depending on the space you work with. Jeffrey Phillip, a New York-based organizer and interior designer, specializes in spaces that prioritize function and fashion. “Some people prefer to focus on business organization, or even work on more technical projects with clients who are hoarders or have specific needs,” he says. Whatever type of organization interests you the most, Phillip says that all projects – whatever their size – are sort of a headache. “It’s creative problem solving at its best. You are always trying to figure out how to improve something and what is the new solution.”
Take advantage of social media.
There are currently more than 2 million posts tagged with #organization on Instagram – and that number is increasing second by second. The Home Edit, a professional organization duo appreciated by celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, Khloe Kardashian and Reese Witherspoon, is part of the equation and has 1.5 million followers on Instagram. While their rainbow pantries are seemingly everywhere these days, social media dominance was part of their strategy when they started their business in 2015. “We wanted to make our work as Pinterest-worthy as possible, so we put an aesthetic turn on a functional practice, “says Clea Shearer of The Home Edit. “When we started, we offered our services to certain celebrity contacts as part of a strictly promotional effort.” And it worked: when The Home Edit finished a project, they asked their famous clients (ahem, Gwyneth) to post a photo on their Instagram account in exchange for the service, thus increasing their total number of subscribers and opportunities customer.
Consider the emotional aspects of the organization.
While it may be easy for you to see someone else’s treasure as rubbish (sad but true), it’s important to remember that even your client’s cluttered drawers are full of sentiment. And even if you think you know your client well, you will discover even more about his life by delving into his business. “While going through things, try to understand their habits, body language and routines and find out how you can make a difference,” says Phillip. “Sometimes you have to read between the lines to help customers reach their ultimate goal.”
Discover your brand – and run with it.
You may be specialized in filling closets with baskets from floor to ceiling. Or add transparent acrylic tubs in all possible rooms. The Home Edit says that part of their success came from knowing the look they wanted to achieve and its consistency from house to house. “We wanted a smart way to put our mark on our work. Clea wanted to label everything by hand, but as we evolved, we had to find a way to get our labeling consistent across different projects across the country,” Joanna Teplin of The Home Modifier reflects. “Later, we turned Clea’s handwriting into police, and now we have a Signature aesthetic – literally. ”
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