Some homeowners have no time to get organized, while some just have too much stuff. People who realize they can't do it alone are often willing to pay a professional home organizer to bring order into their lives. Betsy Fein of Clutterbusters says online that the first step is to look for other organizers in your community. Knowing what they charge and what their skill set is gives you an idea where you can position yourself in the market.
Choose Your Specialties
All clutter is not alike, and neither are home organizers. Give some thought to what services you want to offer -- for example, whether you'll come in and physically arrange things or coach your client to do it. Depending on your skills and preferences, you can offer to organize home offices, collect and catalog family photos or work with extreme problem cases such as chronic hoarders. If you have prior experience with interior design or feng shui, you can incorporate them into your organization work. Offering specific services makes it easier to interest clients.
Training and Certification
Home organizing isn't one of the professions that require certification or continuing education. However, becoming certified may help you promote your business or substantiate your credentials. The National Association of Professional Organizers and the Institute for Challenging Disorganization are two of the groups that offer certification as well as training classes for professionals. The training they provide can help you improve your skills or learn new capabilities or specialties.
Home organizing is a relatively low-cost business to start: The National Association of Professional Organizers, or NAPO, says many pros start out with little more than a label maker. Professional organizer Julie Morgenstern says in her book "Organizing From the Inside Out" that "containerizing" loose or scattered items to organize them is essential to bringing order into a home. Depending on what you're working with, the containers may be file folders, creative shelving or plastic bags. Finding cheap supply sources for good storage containers will enable you to cover your costs without pushing your fees too high.
Learn to Listen
Home organization is a business to you, but it's deeply personal to your clients. Morgenstern says a lot of problems with organization have emotional origins. One client refuses to throw away an item because it's sentimental, while another clings to items because she might possibly need them someday. To succeed in the business, you have to learn to listen to their concerns and not just impose your recommendations. Your attitude toward your clients and their possessions should always be nonjudgmental, NAPO's code of ethics advises.
- Women Home Business: Betsy Fein -- Success in the Home Organizing Business
- "Organizing From the Inside Out"; Julie Morgenstern; 1998
- Seattle Chapter NAPO: FAQs
A graduate of Oberlin College, Fraser Sherman began writing in 1981. Since then he's researched and written newspaper and magazine stories on city government, court cases, business, real estate and finance, the uses of new technologies and film history. Sherman has worked for more than a decade as a newspaper reporter, and his magazine articles have been published in "Newsweek," "Air & Space," "Backpacker" and "Boys' Life." Sherman is also the author of three film reference books, with a fourth currently under way.