Why hire a Professional Organizer?

I belong to numerous behind-the-scenes chat rooms for Organizers. Some are hosted by my professional societies, some are convened for common interests around issues like hoarding, others are hosted by people selling courses they claim are sufficient for getting trained for the profession.


I’m going to quote a thread I’m on at the moment. I’m not going to point to its source, name any of the participants. But I’m posting it as an URGENT example of why you want to find people who belong to the professional society(ies) relevant to your needs, whether those are the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, the Institute for Challenging Disorganization, the National Association of Senior Move Managers or others. And even within the professional societies, there are bad apples, but thankfully few.


PLEASE, ALWAYS research your candidates. Check if they really are members of the societies they claim to belong to. Go through their online presences to see if you like what you read. Call them, interview them. If they give you an uneasy feeling for any reason, PASS. Ask for references if they can give them – some of us don’t because we are reluctant to ask for references, which feel like violations of their confidentiality. If they don’t seem predominantly concerned with your opinions, your mindset, your safety – PASS. I’ve worked with clients left in tears by the imposters, it’s always gut-wrenching.


So here goes – my commentary will be in blue, and I’m deliberately altering the content of each of these to make them difficult to trace. I’m indenting the start of each new reaction and adding space to make the answers more concretely separated from each other.


“Has anyone been hired to organize a home without the owner’s knowledge?” This is not an inappropriate question. This is probably someone very new to the  profession.

Here are some appropriate answers from the client’s perspective, as interpreted by Organizers – these are “Worst Case” answers, only so I can make my point:

“I did a personal job as a surprise , BUT it involved her fiance, and he asked if she would love something like this and she enthusiastically said yes. It went over really super well. But this is a close personal friend.
That being said, I might be all right organizing something, but I would never be all right downsizing things without the owner’s knowledge.”
“So I have a family member who has hoarding disorder and I can imagine that there could be family members that would think it was in the best interest of that kind of person to organize this for them…
Absolutely not, this would be a huge violation of boundaries and completely disrespectful…
It could also highly exacerbate mental illness as if that is the cause then it could lead to a total breakdown…”
“Don’t do it unless they approve. Some people have committed suicide because of this! It may be a huge shock for them and if they are not involved in the process you are not helping at all”
“No! It’s kinda like theft and can be emotionally damaging for the owners.”

Here are some appropriate answers from the business owner’s perspective:

“I would never agree to this. It could pose a serious risk to you and your business.”


Not a good idea. Talk about liability exposure! Really bad idea.”


“Oh heck to the no” – This was a colleague of mine, and I now like that person even more.


“I would never do this – too much potential liability if it turns out the owner does not actually want the work done.

There could also be criminal liability for entering a home and discarding things without permission.”
There were many AWESOME, educational, nonjudgmental answers to this innocent’s question.

And here are the answers which inspired this post.

“I guess this is directed at me. I’m doing it WITH X (and kids) who is someone. If X’s partner doesn’t like it, X’s partner can certainly undue it and go back go the chaos X’s partner had going on before. I trust that X is making a wise decision for X’s partner of 20 years. They are both judges and live pretty demanding lifestyles. By looks of it, this will help enhance the quality of X’s partner’s life for sure.” This is an extremely self-serving answer, but might, just might be a new person’s hopefulness that “what we do matters.”

“If I had no knowledge of how to do it myself, had previous discussions with my partner of what I wanted, and it was all delivered, I would be ecstatic to finally have that weight off my shoulders.” More of the same, from the same person.

I’m thrilled to say that by the end of the conversation, the person quoted above decided to decline the job unless she got the appropriate permission from the actual recipient of the services. VICTORY!!!!


The most terrifying answer came down to “Tough luck, I’m gonna take the money and run.” That person was always answered politely, but firmly. Dismayingly, she left the group rather than truly engage in the discussion.




About Lauren Williams

Lauren Williams, Certified Professional Organizer®, Certified Virtual Professional Organizer®

Any Comments are subject to Casual Uncluttering’s review and approval before being posted.  Casual Uncluttering reserves the right in its sole discretion to decline to post any comment and Casual Uncluttering may also decide to remove any comment at any time.