It’s not unusual for a new client to ask me what she should do before I arrive at her home for the first time. (And, yes, most—but not all—of my clients are women.) Most assume they need to clean up the house.
I almost always suggest that the client not clean up her home before our appointment. Piles and messy spots can be revealing. They reveal where the client and/or her family naturally tends to rest stuff. They typically reveal the stuff that’s actually in use. And they certainly reveal an absence of a working system for handling the mail.
There’s no need to be ashamed of piles and messy spots. It’s why you’re looking for help, after all. (And believe me, I’ve had professional organizers help me in my home, so I understand the discomfort of not cleaning up.)
There is something you can do prior to your organizing appointment that is really helpful: Spend a little type visualizing what you would like your space—and your life—to be once you achieve your organizing goals. Try to put that vision into words that you can share with your organizer. Knowing what success looks like is a huge part of achieving it. And being able to communicate that vision of success will really help your organizer.
So I suggest you put aside the notion that you have to clean up. Take that energy and put it into thinking and perhaps writing down what you desired when you decided to call in an organizer. And, please, be kind to yourself. Self-recrimination over a messy space doesn’t do you or anyone else any good.