Are you interested in becoming a professional organizer? (2017 update!)

6 September 2017

I originally wrote this post in 2011 and asked colleagues to add to it in the comments. It became my most popular post. I last updated it in 2014, so I decided it’s time for another update. I deleted links (and comments) that are no longer current and added some of the information shared in the comments into the body of the post. I’ve also updated some of the text.

I regularly receive emails from people who are interested in becoming a professional organizer, asking me if I am hiring. It occurred to me that I could save them the time writing (and be helpful to people too bashful to write), if I created a blog post with the information I usually write to these folks. That’s worked out well—I also suggest the people who do write me read this post if they haven’t already.

So here’s what I think you need to do to become a professional organizer:

Love people. In my experience, being a PO is more about the people and less about the organizing. Of course you should love organizing as well, but if you don’t love working with people (and if you can’t stop yourself from judging the organizationally challenged), this might not be the field for you.

Invest in professional association memberships. The first thing I did when I decided to become a PO was to join the National Association of Professional Organizers. (This year, NAPO changed its name to the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, while maintaining the acronym NAPO.) I would have joined a NAPO chapter instantly, but St. Louis didn’t have one back in 2005. But we do now. Joining NAPO not only gives you credibility, it gives you access to the knowledge of a thousands of organizers through its chapters and its online communities and conferences. If you live outside the U.S., you can join NAPO, but you might also want to check if there’s an organizers’ association in your country. The IFPOA is a good place to start.

NAPO has a Getting Started Guide with information on how NAPO can help people who are starting an organizing business. The information is free. Go to www.napo.net, scroll down to the bottom right and click on the box that says How can NAPO help you grow in the organizing and productivity industry?. That will lead you to a page where you enter your name and email address to be sent a link to download the free document.

Invest in training and education. The second thing I did was join the Institute for Challenging Disorganization (back then it was called the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization). I started taking their teleclasses, which were (and still are) a great educational value and also gave my confidence a boost. NAPO also offers excellent education for professional organizers through its NAPO University. They’re available both as live webinars and on-demand at your convenience. (The live webinars have the benefit of allowing you to ask questions of the instructor.) If you’re an aspiring organizer, pay close attention to the lower-cost two-hour class, Introduction to Professional Organizing and Productivity, which is also available in Spanish. I took two NAPO education classes my first year of business (PO104-Starting an Organizing Business and the equivalent of PO101-Fundamental Organizing and Productivity Principles and PO102-Fundamental Organizing and Productivity Skills) and the offerings have only gotten more extensive since then. NAPO’s membership structure has changed since I started out. Now, when you join, you are considered a provisional member until you complete three specific classes: PO101, PO102 and PO103-Ethics for Professional Organizers and Productivity Specialists. I applaud this emphasis on education!

Invest in conferences. I’m a conference junkie. I love them. There’s no better way to learn about the industry, in my opinion. I went to the first NAPO and NSGCD (now ICD) conferences that were available after I became a PO. And I’ve been to almost every one since. I even attended the Australasian Association of Professional Organizers conference in Brisbane, Australia, in 2009! Here are some conferences to take note of: The 2018 NAPO conference retreat will be near Chicago in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania April 27 to 29, 2017. And the 2017 ICD conference September 26 to 28, in St. Charles, Missouri. The 2017 Professional Organizers in Canada conference will be held November 2 to 4 in Toronto.

Think about a training program. A number of professional organizers offer training programs for new POs. I haven’t been through any of their programs myself, but here are some of the more prominent ones:

Get coaching from another organizer. One great way to get personalized help is to hire an organizer to work with you one-on-one with you, either in person or on the phone. It’s a great way to get all your questions answered, with a laser focus.

Get your website going. I think a good website is absolutely essential. (I rarely hire service providers who don’t have one.) I know for a fact that my website brings in the majority of my business. My fabulous web designer Nora Brown, is no longer working in this field, unfortunately. If you’re a DIY type, you might consider creating your own website—though I think hiring someone is a good investment. I created my other blog, Organize Your Family History, myself using Site Setup Kit to take me step by step through the process of creating and customizing this Wordpress blog. (That’s an affiliate link, which means that I am paid if you click on that link and then buy Site Setup Kit.)

Do freebies if necessary. In my first six months of business, I did freebies for friends in exchange for testimonials and before-and-after pictures for my website. It gave me valuable, relatively low-stress organizing experience (we took these sessions very seriously) and it helped me build my website. That worked very well for me.

Don’t ignore social media. When I was starting out, social media as we know it wasn’t in existence, but I did start blogging fairly early on. Social media can drive traffic to your website, give you a presence outside (as well as inside) your local area and help build relationships with colleagues and companies in related industries. I think it’s worth the effort. At the very least, choose one social media outlet and try to create a presence there. I use Twitter and Facebook most, but I know that Pinterest also drives traffic to my two blogs.

Becoming a professional organizer is a fairly low-overhead proposition. But I’d urge you to invest in professional associations, conferences, training or classes, coaching and website development. I’m awfully glad I did.

If you’re wondering what you might get out of becoming a professional organizer, check out the blog post I wrote in January 2013, Why I’m a professional organizer. If you’d like to dig a little deeper, I have a series of Insider’s Guides for New Organizers, with more in-depth insights on what it takes to build a successful organizing business. There are currently four guides available, ranging in length from 6 to 12 pages. Each costs $9. Click here to purchase any or all of them.

I’d like to thank all the POs who have already enriched this blog post by adding comments (please be sure and read them). If you’re a PO, feel free to add your two cents if you haven’t already!

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Comments

Great post, Janine! I’ve just modified my standard reply to “I want to become an organizer” emails to start with this:

If you’re interested in becoming a professional organizer, I’d recommend reading the advice here:
http://www.peaceofmindorganizing.com/blog/are-you-interested-in-becoming-a-professional-organizer

Some other points I include:

1. Getting training from an experienced organizer can be a huge help; it’s what I did when I started out.

2. Reading is another way to expand your knowledge. You can see my list of favorite organizing books at http://www.squidoo.com/organize/.

3. You might want to read a bit about personal safety issues. There’s a book called Safe Home Visits that some have recommended; I haven’t read it myself. I have read The Gift of Fear – it was highly recommended to me, and I in turn recommend it to others.

Jeri Dansky 04/13/2011 10:45 PM

Jeri, you’re the best! (Folks, getting to know people like Jeri is one of the great benefits of joining NAPO or ICD.)

Thank you so much for adding those valuable resources. I’m glad you found the post helpful. You’ve made it even more so!

Janine Adams 04/14/2011 06:55 AM

The one thing I’d add to what you and Jeri have said is almost a sub-point. Yes, you should join professional associations and get education, which means attending not only the NAPO and ICD conference, but also (whenever possible) the NAPO chapter meetings.

But more than that, aspiring professional organizers need to build relationships with their colleagues, both via social networking, as you mentioned, Janine, and via those old-fashioned methods of speaking face-to-face and on the telephone. This is not an encouragement to squeeze a veteran colleague dry, but to do one’s due diligence and then approach people with a questioning and open mind.

There’s a vast difference between asking a colleague “How should I do X?” (which implies you want to benefit from all their labor without doing any of it yourself) and “My research has indicated X, but also Y. Do you have an opinion?”, which shows a genuine respect for the field of inquiry and the colleague with whom you speak.

And Jeri is so spot on regarding reading. Read everything, and not only about organizing. Read about psychology. About time management. About business practices and social trends. Read until your eyes are tired and your brain is full, then take a nap and read some more. Investing in yourself means investing in your intellectual growth, which I believe is the only way you can have professional growth.

So there. Nyah! ;-)

Julie Bestry 04/14/2011 12:47 PM

Love it, Julie! You’re absolutely right. One of the things I loved most about becoming an organizer was getting to dive into all the learning and reading. There’s so much to learn and it’s all so interesting!

You and I are both conference enthusiasts and I know we agree on the value of that face-to-face interaction with our colleagues. For me, it’s absolutely essential.

Thank you so much for improving this post by commenting.

Janine Adams 04/15/2011 06:17 AM

Thanks Janine for a great post and everyone else for these great comments! Janine, you are so right that it’s about people first, and organizing second! Lots of people are good at keeping themselves organized, but helping another person to get and stay organized is a completely different skill set.

I would also add to take advantage of resources such as the Small Business Administration and SCORE to bone up on business and marketing skills. If the thought of marketing yourself churns your stomach, (as it did me!) don’t despair! You can find ways that work for you and it becomes a seamless part of your existence.

Caroline Totah 04/15/2011 08:45 AM

Professional Organizers in Canada also has a yearly conference, which will be in Toronto this November. It’s worth checking out, whether you’re Canadian or not!

Janet Barclay 04/15/2011 11:05 AM

Thank you Janine, Jeri, Julie and my other colleagues for your combined input, great post! I’m drafting a list of educational resources for our NAPO-WDC chapter meeting guests and was hoping to gather more outside sources for training – so thanks for helping me out! I would also add that I’ve seen great classes offered by A Red Bench. Anyone else have another good source to add? I’ve been emphasizing to prospective organizers (in my role as Membership Director) that developing relationships with others is key. Just like we tell our clients, there is no quick way to sucess…it takes time!

Jackie Kelley 04/15/2011 03:09 PM

I agree with the great tips above and would like to add one more thought/reality check. I believe that the success of my business has been due to the fact that I wanted to own a business first, and be an organizer second. I work face-to-face with clients 16 – 20 hours a week. I work 35 – 40 hours a week total. Do the math. There is so much finance, strategy, sales, administration, and marketing that goes into running a successful business.

I caution those interested in becoming a PO to make extra sure they want to be a business owner. You don’t get to “practice your craft” 100% of the time, and if you neglect the non-organizing pieces of your business, you won’t have one. I took a night class for entrepreneurs at my local university before opening my business and that was invaluable.

Melissa Gratias 04/16/2011 07:35 AM

Thank you for that very important point, Melissa! Actual organizing with clients is just a small part of what I do for my business. Like you, I spend at least as much (if not more) of my time running the business than I do working with clients.

I appreciate your comment!

Janine Adams 04/16/2011 07:41 AM

This is so great! It was just this week that I finally decided to save a draft in Word of my response to inquiries from interested maybe-one-day-organizers! Very good advice! I agree!
I also stressed that they will need to work hard to be sure their website comes up in a search that their potential clients would do. I, too, get a large percentage of my business from internet searches! After helping friends if they still love organizing tell everyone they know, hand out their cards, speak (if at all possible), participate in a GO Month project and join a chamber or network group!
Love your site, Janine.

Tracy @ Simply Squared Away 04/22/2011 12:56 AM

Hi, Tracy! Thanks so much for your comment. I hadn’t even touched on marketing on this post, but of course that’s so important. In terms of SEO, I think that blogging regularly helps my website come up on internet searches. But it takes awhile to get there. Networking is essential! Thanks for pointing that out.

Janine Adams 04/22/2011 06:36 AM

Glad you posted this! Excellent list. I get the emails too.
I’d add a little perseverance to the list. You might be able to make a living but it will take some time to build a solid reputation and expertise. Leaving a lucrative job and beginning an organizing company is a leap of faith.
Decide also what will be the measure of your success. Is it a monetary number? Mine is paychecks,(of course) but also hugs, and control of my personal schedule which I didn’t have in my previous career.

Melanie Dennis 06/01/2011 07:27 AM

Excellent points, Melanie! Thank you so much for contributing them!

Janine Adams 06/01/2011 10:56 AM

Hey guys, this was very helpful. I am interested in learning more about becoming an organizer, but need help finding classes that are interactive (webinars or in class). I still am working in the corporate world and want to make sure I really enjoy professional organizing as much as I think I will before joining associations (if possible). I live in NJ. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Jill Maso 06/07/2011 08:25 AM

Great to read all these comments and to see how everyone supports each other, that’s the best thing for a healthy field to work in. I got referred to this page by C Lee Cawley and I’m new to the Arlington VA area. Just starting up as a full-time PO when recently moved from San Diego CA. Looking forward to my first DC chapter meeting to introduce myself and meet the people in this field.

Stephen Bok 10/30/2011 06:15 PM

I reached out to Janine and she mentioned I should post about our business in the comments section, so here I am! My wife and I run ProfitableOrganizer.com, which provides everything you need to get started as a professional organizer. This includes training, the forms you need, your website, marketing strategies, and support. Everything is based on my wife’s experience as a professional organizer over the past several years as well as our guest professional organizer trainers. You can watch her story about becoming a professional organizer at http://www.profitableorganizer.com/m/presentation.php if you’re interested in learning more.

Adam Murray 11/13/2012 06:21 PM

Great info Janine. Great idea to have a post like this one. I started by joining NAPO National and taking the 001 and 101 classes which gave me amazing insight and all I needed to start safely, then my local NAPO chapter in DC where I made great friends and finally, ICD. I recommend hiring an well-known, well trained and trusted organizer who helps new organizers (I hired Geralin Thomas). I also hired a few other business coaches and to expand our horizons with programs like Denslow Brown’s. In addition, I advise new organizers to start reading blogs written by POs. My personal favorites are Unclutterer by Erin Doland, I Heart Organizing by Jen Jones, Simplify 101 by Aby Garvey, Just Organize Your Stuff by Cathy Anderson and Linda Samuels’ Oh so Organized, just to name a few. And, last but not least, consider hiring a Virtual Assistant. A good resource for that is Virtual Assistanville. They can help with all the stuff you aren’t good at. All the investment, both in time and money pays off with a full calendar, happy clients and a better understanding of our industry, clients and our business.

Helena Alkhas 01/04/2013 02:38 PM

Helena, thank you for adding so much fabulous information!! I think your advice and recommendations are spot on. I appreciate your taking the time to contribute to this post.

Janine Adams 01/04/2013 08:35 PM

Such a great and informative post about getting organized. This will really help busy people. Thanks for sharing and keep posting.

Maria 02/25/2013 10:11 PM

Well said, Janine!!

Carla Saavedra 05/07/2013 02:37 PM

Janine, I just read your blog post via a link in the NAPO chat. What great information! I passed the link along to my office manager who receives many calls from wanna-be POs. Thanks for sharing this great time-saver.

Katherine Trezise 05/08/2013 11:29 AM

I recently launched OrganizingU.com, which provides professional organizers with online, on-demand training, education and resources to start, run and grow successful organizing businesses. All of our courses and business forms are downloadable, so you can learn on your own time! Please spread the word, we are adding new information every day! Thank you!

Sarah Buckwalter 09/04/2014 09:05 PM

Spot on as usual, Janine!

If you have a local NAPO chapter, get involved! If you don’t have a local NAPO chapter, consider joining the virtual chapter (http://napovc.com/). Don’t just join – volunteer! Find a need in your chapter and fill it, or better yet, get on your chapter’s Board of Directors. I love the relationships I’ve created with my colleagues through collaboration on volunteer efforts and I’ve learned so much about organizing and leadership.

Also, I cannot agree more with Janine’s advice to be coached by an organizer. I’ve been coached by both Margaret and Geralin and both experiences caused an impactful and positive shift in my business. Also, don’t be afraid to invest a little money in helpful tools offered by other organizers: having some structure when you first start out is a nice confidence builder! I bought my forms from Sara Pederson (www.timetoroganize.com) when I was a brand new organizer and though they look nothing like the originals now, they gave me a great starting point when I was new. I also bought Jodi Granok’s (www.organizingmagic.com) expense tracking spreadsheet which served me perfectly right up until I hired a bookkeeper a few months ago.

Shelly Collins 09/05/2014 07:01 PM

See Adam Murray’s comment above. Adam and his wife Cynthia have created a comprehensive professional organizer training program at www.profitableorganizer.com. Check out their free intro video. I am honored to be a guest expert on their live training webinars. I have see many training programs in the 13 years I’ve been a professional organizer and their program is truly the best.

Sarah Stitham 09/30/2014 03:30 PM

I am a former Office Management Specialist with the U.S. Department of State and I recently re-located back to the civilian life. An almost perfect transition from my former profession to the regular non-federal life, would be to become a professional organizer! BUT, my fear is once I start organizing homes- my day job may infiltrate into when I’m off-the-clock. For instance, do you ever find yourself at a cocktail party that is supposed to be a relaxed atmosphere, but because you’re organizationally minded (and funded) the OCD cleaner/organizer comes out and suddenly your mind goes to that “job” rather than holding a casual conversation. Am I way off? I don’t know that if I did do this full-time, I would turn into an OCD organizer 24/7.

I tend to put my all into a job, so if I get into it as much as you have (which by the look of the blog looks very extensive and passionately)- wouldn’t this be a difficult profession to “turn off”? Your clients would be able to turn it off once the job is done, but you as the expert would always be examining, analyzing spaces. Does this ever hinder your peace of mind?!

Thanks!

Sarah 10/06/2014 01:10 PM

Sarah, what an interesting question! That has not been a problem for me, but I don’t have an inner OCD cleaner/organizer. Beyond the occasional thought about how I would reorganize certain public spaces or processes, I don’t think I have trouble leaving my work during off hours. It doesn’t interfere with my ability to partake of casual conversation. :) So for me, it’s not an issue. I encourage you not to let that particular fear get in your way of becoming a PO!

Janine Adams 10/07/2014 05:57 PM

If you’re reading this and thinking of becoming a professional organizer, may I suggest starting on the on NAPO.NET website? NAPO is an excellent resource for education about the organizing industry and I’m privileged to teach two of their classes.

Introduction to Professional Productivity and Organizing NAPO-001W is a class which requires no pre-requisites. It’s a 2-hour webinar and is available live and on demand. It is also offered in Spanish and Portuguese.

In addition, Starting an Organizing Business NAPO-104 is a 4 hour webinar; (2) two-hour sessions. It's available live and on-demand. It's a blueprint for starting an organizing business and, like NAPO-001, no prerequisites are required.

You do not need to be a member of NAPO to take their classes or attend their conferences however members of NAPO receive a discounted rate for both.

Geralin Thomas 10/10/2014 09:48 AM

Hi everyone. Thank you so much for all the good advice. I’m a newly retired teacher and have found that I’m in need of additional financial income. My good friend brought an Organizing endeavor into our conversation one day and a light bulb went off in my head! I love to organize! Why not help others? So I began my journey by reading some books and started to research webinars and did a few. I came to realize what a huge endeavor this is. I decided to start small. I live in a 55 and over community so for now this will be my focus area. I had business cards and flyers made. I am doing some organizing for friends for testimonials and to get my feet wet. It’s very exciting and a lot of work. I do need to take a class, join an organization and get a website going. All in due time. I feel good about how all is going. I’m okay with taking it slowly. I feel very positive and I know that this positive energy will help me through. Thanks again and I’ll be in touch.

shelley a salerno 01/30/2015 08:26 AM

Thanks for the great tips! Were just starting to add organizing services to our already existing cleaning service and this has helped with the learning curve tremendously. Especially in concentrating more on the client than the home so a PO can fit their needs. Have you ever found that organizing wasn’t enough for the person and that they require a sort of therapeutic outlook in maintaining their environment in an organized fashion? (an extreme albeit)

Mike S. 03/09/2015 03:06 PM

Thanks for your comment, Mike. Many chronically disorganized clients who have a special attachment to their possessions benefit from the help of a therapist. Ideally, organizers work in tandem with the therapist (collaborative therapy) to help the client. The Institute for Challenging Disorganization has lots of great information on working with clients challenged by chronic disorganization, as well as collaborative therapy.

Janine Adams 03/10/2015 05:59 AM

I have been doing research on becoming a PO, and just curious if I specifically wanted to specialize in one certain area if that would be financially feasible? I am also having trouble with coming up with a business name, I have most everything mapped out but need a name to get started.

Tracy Kelch 04/15/2015 04:56 PM

Hello, I would like to shift into professional organizing specifically with older folks trying to downsize. I am a natural, born an only child of depression era parents with a solid background in counseling including in addictions. Older folks are my favorites and I have the gift of understanding how they see preciousness in long held articles. I live in the Kansas City area and am interested in whatever you recommend to get me started.

Sally L Williiams 04/17/2015 01:25 PM

Hello,
I am actually in shock that I could possibly turn my organizing abilities into a profitable business. Honestly, I don’t typically think of being extremely organized as a talent though my husband tells me it is. I’m not artistically talented in any way and always feel inadequate compared to people who are, so this is a great boost. At any rate I would love to do this as a part time job but have a couple of concerns and would love your opinion.

First, can this be done as a part time job? I home-school my children ages seventeen and nine along with being the choir director for my church so I stay fairly busy and couldn’t put forty plus hours into being a professional organizer.

Second, I have two chronic pain illnesses, endometriosis and interstitial cystitis. I have to be careful about how I plan out my day and what I spend my energy on otherwise I end up in extreme pain instead of just a two or three out of ten level of daily pain along with being utterly exhausted for one to two days afterwards. Do you think this would be too much of a hindrance to be a successful organizer? Please be honest, I can take it. I had to quit my job as a personal trainer due to my illnesses.

Thanks for taking the time to read and answer this. I hope you have a wonderful week.

Wendy Louie 06/22/2015 11:40 PM

Tracy, absolutely specializing is financially feasible. It’s a way to differentiate yourself from your competition and do the work you enjoy most. I encourage you to give it a try!

Janine Adams 06/23/2015 11:00 AM

Sally, there’s a real need for organizers to help older people downsize. You might want to check the National Association of Senior Move Managers for further information and training on doing that.

Janine Adams 06/23/2015 11:02 AM

Wendy, if you start your own organizing business, you can set the hours and the pace. I know other homeschooling moms who have successful organizing businesses.

The question of your chronic pain is a tough one to address. Organizing for others can be both physically and mentally draining. I will say that most of my clients expect a certain amount of physical involvement. But you could design business that works with your physical capabilities. You could work in short appointments with phone coaching. You could specialize in working with folks who also have chronic pain who would want short appointments and appreciate your empathy. If you’re good with finances, you could look into becoming a Daily Money Manager which would, I think, be less taxing. (Check out the American Association of Daily Money Managers.

I hope that’s helpful!

Janine Adams 06/23/2015 11:10 AM

I’m interested in becoming a professional organizer. Can you please help me with the right resources.

Tanji Canada 07/19/2015 11:48 PM

Tanji, I encourage you to check out the resources listed in this post, as well as in the comments. Best of luck!

Janine Adams 07/20/2015 03:32 PM

Thanks for all the useful and encouraging information, Janine! It is such a pleasure to meet other organizers through the Professional Organizers Blog Carnival!! One idea I have used to start my business is to offer a free one hour presentation “Organizing ABC’s: 26 Amazing Organizing Ideas” as my signature presentation and a way to introduce myself to new groups and audiences.

Olive Wagar 07/20/2015 05:48 PM

This was extremely helpful. Thank you very much for sharing.

Kenny 03/02/2016 05:17 PM

hi, I am really interested, but have no clue on how to start. Another challenge is i am based in Nigeria. thanks

chartreuse 06/09/2016 08:26 AM

Hi, chartreuse: I’d suggest you reach out to Pine Tree Organizers in Nigeria for advice on getting started there. Also, I know that Geralin Thomas of Metropolitan Organizing (link in the main blog post) counsels new organizers from all over the world. Best of luck!

Janine Adams 06/09/2016 10:42 AM

This was amazing! I feel even more inspiration to begin! Thanks everyone! :)

Lisa 07/03/2016 06:21 PM

This is more of a comment about the career field and its potential. As I learn more about how to become a certified organizer, I see all the steps that are needed. I did see a couple sources that mentioned the salary range to be from $25-$30 K. I understand any field of expertise takes time, training, a few hoops to jump through, and costs to succeed, but it just seemed like a great deal of steps and work for that salary level. Could anyone share if this is accurate in your experience? I am not one that has to seek that huge fame and fortune and fame, but to just live in a humble simple small low income 2 bedroom home in our area of SOuth FLorida, you do need to still make salaries at least twice that amount.

Jay 01/17/2017 11:30 AM

I’m a former primary teacher and LOVE organizing classrooms, centers/activities, games, new curriculum materials, files, etc.! The only problem is, teachers don’t get paid enough to pay someone ELSE to organize their things for them. Any suggestions/tips on how I could get a business started in the “classroom organization” field and have it be successful? I’m a newbie at this. Thanks for your help! (In CA East Bay Area)

Daniella 01/17/2017 07:47 PM

do I have to have a license or a degree or any training to be organizer?

porscha 01/20/2017 09:43 AM

Jay, there is definitely income potential beyond $25-$30k for professional organizers. The nice thing about owning an organizing business is that you can set your rates and decide how many hours you want to work. Therefore the income range is very wide. I can’t speak for others, but I make more than $30k a year. I don’t have any sense of what employees of organizing companies make, however.

Janine Adams 01/20/2017 07:29 PM

Daniella, I think it depends on your definition of success. One thought would be to do a variety of types of organizing and perhaps discount the classroom organizing if in fact it’s true that those in your target market don’t have money to spend on organizers. Perhaps via your classroom organizing you could meet parents who wanted help in their homes.

If you’re serious about starting a classroom organizing business, it might be worthwhile to hire a coach, like Geralin Thomas, to bounce ideas off of. In a one-hour session, you might get some actionable ideas to get you going.

Janine Adams 01/20/2017 07:33 PM

Porscha, there is no degree required to become a professional organizer and the only license I know about is a local business license. You can become certified through the Board of Certification for Professional Organizers, but that is something you would do after you’ve been an organizer for several years.

Janine Adams 01/20/2017 07:40 PM

Thank you so much for all the resources! I have two questions – first, is it a good idea to hook up with a few of the companies, like Frugi, that do a rep in the company thing to get experience and leads then venture off into your own company? (Not to steal leads or anything, more to see the clientele you need to market to or maybe find a specialty your better at) and then I find very few resources that can give me an idea of what to charge in the beginning? I would certainly be doing some for free for the photos and some discounted or coming to an agreement with the client but I don’t even know where to start to work on an agreement. I live in Denver and besides calling companies here for their pricing (which I don’t feel comfortable with and usually I get “we do pricing when we see the room/project to work on”). Any suggestions on just a basic hourly price until I’m more comfortable in the field? Thank you again for all the resources!

Karen Sorensen 02/09/2017 08:47 PM

Karen, I don’t know anything about Frugi, I’m afraid, so I can’t weigh in on that. I suggest you follow your instincts on whether it seems like it would be a good start for you. As far as figuring out your hourly rate, I’d suggest you consider hiring a coach who can help you figure that out. Geralin Thomas of Metropolitan Organizing is one.

Janine Adams 02/13/2017 09:03 AM

Hi! Love reading this article and the comments. I finished my undergrad in 2016 and am now going for my Masters in Business Administration. I currently work in the corporate business world but have a passion for organizing and interior design. Do you have any advice for young organizers ready to kick-start their passions into a start-up business?

Niki deQuintal 07/11/2017 11:02 AM

How do you get repeat business from the same client? Assuming once you’ve solved their clutter problems…they don’t need you.

Ashley 08/07/2017 12:21 AM

Ashley, when people’s lives change, they often come back for more help. I have clients I’ve worked with on and off for years and years. But it’s also important to keep attracting new clients, of course.

Janine Adams 08/28/2017 11:18 AM

Please can someone telll me how to get registered in Texas for LLC in another State without filling out that form 304 that cost $750

Johnnie 09/05/2017 12:27 PM

I currently work in the corporate business world but have a passion for organizing and interior design.

arun singh 09/07/2017 12:16 AM

Thank you for putting these resources together. Organizing is something I enjoy doing but am not good at. I would love to learn to become the best at it that I can be, and then turn my skills around to help people put their environments together. One day I suddenly came up with the idea without any prompting that I wanted to be a professional organizer. I googled “how to become a personal professional organizational consultant” or something of that matter and this was one of the first links I found, your blog :) and I reference it every-time I read up more about becoming one. I have no experience with it whatsoever, but this is what I want to do. Please email me with tips or where I should start first. An online class? Seek organizational training at my university? I am a Psychology major, and want to minor in foreign language as well. My Email is blyssing@gmail.com

Jen 09/20/2017 10:14 AM

Jen, I’m replying to your comment here, rather than emailing you, so that others can benefit. As I mentioned in the blog post, NAPO and ICD are excellent places to start for learning about organizing and helping others organize. NAPO has a new Getting Started Guide, which you can get by going to www.napo.net, scrolling down to to the lower right corner and clicking on the NAPO Can Help You Grow section. Enter your name and take advantage of those free tips.

I encourage you to read the comments as well as this post for lots of ideas of ways to get started.

I have four Insider’s Guides for New Organizers available for purchase for $9 each that you might find helpful. You might also find my Organizing Guides (for the general public) interesting in terms of organizing advice.

Best of luck to you!

Janine Adams 09/20/2017 03:54 PM

I am currently more of a clutterer than an organizer, but I am often told I have an exceptionally gentle, patient, tolerant, & calming demeanor and I love to help & support others at their literal & figurative messiest. I have set my intention to work my way through my own clutter, and if I can, I imagine then I would like to help others to work their way through theirs as well. From your networking experience, have you met many other PO’s that are reformed clutter-bugs, rather than just those with natural pre-dispositions to neatness & order? Also, what is the best way to find an affordable PO (I currently only make $15/hr working online part-time & am in my 30’s still living with my dad) who would be able to help me declutter and coach me in what’s going on behind how they operate at the same time?

Jameela 11/16/2017 10:13 PM

(P.S. THANK YOU so much for your generosity of spirit in compiling such a comprehensive collection of resources to share your knowledge & expertise in the field to help countless others who find their way to this post and for all of your other attentive replies to the posts listed above!)

Jameela 11/16/2017 10:22 PM

Jameela, I think there are a number of professional organizers who weren’t born organized. I’m one of them. I don’t know how many of those would have described themselves as clutter bugs (I call myself naturally messy), but they’re out there.

As far as finding an affordable PO goes, I’d suggest searching at www.napo.net and also searching the website of the local NAPO chapter (which you can find at napo.net). Look at how long the people in your area have been NAPO members. Newer organizers tend to be less expensive, though they might not be in as good a position to explain the business side to you.

When I started the practicing I did on family and friends (and myself) was invaluable to me for learning how to be PO. I hope that’s helpful!

Thanks for your kind words about this blog post!

Janine Adams 11/17/2017 02:30 PM

Thank you so much for this piece! Becoming a professional organizer is a dream I’ve had for years but never knew where to start. Your post gave me the roadmap and confidence I needed to finally go for it. Thank you!

Jen 11/19/2017 04:33 PM

You’re welcome, Jen! Best of luck to you.

Janine Adams 11/19/2017 07:20 PM

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About Janine

Janine Adams

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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