Apr 19, 2022

What is a professional organizer?

Nat Miller

As we’ve covered in one of our most popular blog posts to date, a professional organizer is one of the many trained professionals who can help make your move as easy and efficient as possible. Our readers were so excited to learn about how professional organizers could help them move, we got a ton of other questions related to professional organizers, like: what else can a professional organizer help me with? how much does a professional organizer cost? what sort of training do professional organizers receive? Given all the curiosity about professional organizers, we thought it made sense to do a whole post starting from square one explaining: what is a professional organizer.

What do professional organizers do?

At a high level professional organizers do exactly what their name implies - they’re trained professionals who help organize your life and your possessions. Yet while many people probably understand that the role of a professional organizer is of course to help you get organized, people sometimes misunderstand the exact role that a professional organizer plays in that process. While some people think that a personal organizer’s role is to simply clean up your things and put them away in a neat fashion, the role of a professional organizer is actually broader than that and includes providing you with strategies and methods to keep your life organized long after you’ve stopped working with the professional organizer. So while many professional organizers are more than happy to roll up their sleeves and help pack or move boxes, their main goal is often to teach you proven methods for staying organized and for tackling new challenges in an organized way. In this way, many professional organizers describe their work akin to a consultant or other trained professional you would turn to for advice, and less like a moving service that is simply putting things in boxes for you. 

Many people tell us they love the tips and tricks they learn when they work with a professional organizer. This is the reason many people turn to professional organizers even when they don’t have a full relocation to plan or a big home to declutter. In fact, many people hire professional organizers to assist them in their professional as well as personal lives, helping them to implement systems to keep their work life organized.

Professional organizers can be incredibly helpful for planning a move or relocation, but can be equally helpful organizing your day-to-day life.

What qualifications and training do professional organizers have?

Formally, there are no legally required certifications or licenses that an individual needs to receive in order to become a professional organizer, and there are many individuals out there who do an amazing job despite never having taken any professional courses. Along with self-taught individuals, there are a variety of online and in-person classes that will give professional organizers an amazing start by teaching them all the fundamentals of maintaining and providing systems for organization.

That being said, the industry standard for training and qualification is a certification from the Board of Certified Professional Organizers (BCPO). The Board of Certified Professional Organizers is the national certifying body of the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and follows the accreditation guidelines set forth by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. We know that sentence is a mouthful, but what it means in simple terms is that a BCPO-certified professional organizer will have received the most rigorous and up to date training of anyone in the professional organizing industry. Because NAPO certification is the industry standard for professional organizer certification, Sunbound is a proud business partner of NAPO. 

Not only must professional organizers pass the BCPO’s rigorous examination in order to become a Certified Professional Organizer, but they must also have documented 1,500 hours of paid work as a professional organizer in the five years before the exam before they can even apply. Needless to say, NAPO-certified professional organizers are incredibly well-trained and know exactly how to deliver value. 

How much do professional organizers cost?

People are often surprised to learn how affordable professional organizers are, particularly when compared to how much value they can bring to your everyday life. Generally, professional organizers charge by the hour and so the total cost is going to be determined to a great deal by how long you’ll need their help. While some jobs like organizing a closet or a kitchen may take an afternoon or two, larger jobs like preparing an entire house for a move may take up to, or over, a 40 hour work week, often involving more than one professional organizer. And while hourly rates differ around the country, a good benchmark is to expect to spend roughly $50-$150 per hour for a professional organizer.

How do I find a professional organizer?

The easiest way, and the way we’d recommend, to find a professional organizer is to start with the NAPO Professional Directory, which helps you easily sort by region to find a Certified Professional Organizer near you. Their tool not only lets you search by distance from your location, it also provides options for a wide range of specialities related to business and residential organizing and productivity such as move management, seniors, and downsizing. Along with the NAPO professional directory, websites like Angi and Thumbtack help you find professional organizers in your area. These websites not only help you find professional organizers nearby, they also help you vet the quality of their work by showing such things like how many times they’ve been hired, and whether or not they’ve had their background checked.

Professional Organizer Blogs

Another request we’ve gotten from a lot of people is where to find good blogs to follow on professional organizing, and so we detailed a few of our favorites below:

The Home Edit - The Home Edit is a nationwide professional organizing brand offering services in 9 cities, from New York, to Los Angeles, to its home city of Nashville Tennessee, that also maintains a great blog on all things professional organizing featuring updates from organizing tips to good, timely deals.

A Bowl Full of Lemons - Another favorite is A Bowl Full of Lemons, which offers a similarly comprehensive blog on things like organizing tips and tricks, as well as the best products to purchase to keep you organized. In addition, A Bowl Full of Lemons provides access to online groups and other resources to help people connect and share information, as well as helpful guides and other printable materials.

Polished Habitat - Polished Habitat is another great blog to check out, particularly if you’re curious about how interior decor and professional organizing can come together. Founded in 2013 by Melissa George, Polished Habitat brings together Melissa’s abilities in both decor and professional organizing, and gives great tips for adding function and style to your home. Her work has even been featured in places like Better Homes & Gardens, HGTV, and Buzzfeed.

And of course, don’t forget to keep checking out the Sunbound blog if you want to continue to learn more not only about professional organizing, but everything related to relocation and retirement. We’ll keep bringing you weekly updates with news stories, insights, and tips and tricks on how best to handle all that comes with a big move like a relocation. If you want to learn more about how Sunbound can help you move, shoot us an email at info@sunboundhomes.com, we’d love to hear from you!

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