Worth repeating (again): Why I'm a professional organizer

19 November 2015

In 2013, I wrote a post that explained why I became a professional organizer. I’m celebrating the tenth anniversary of Peace of Mind Organizing, and the works continues to pay off. I feel so fortunate to still enjoy my work after ten years in business. If you’ve ever wondered what a PO gets out of her work—which to some people looks decidedly unglamorous—read on.

Often when I meet folks who learn what I do for a living, they’re keen on learning how I became a professional organizer. I explain the training I took and how I went about starting my business. (That’s all detailed in my blog post, Are you interested in becoming a professional organizer?)

But seldom am I asked why I became a PO, rather than how. I thought I’d spend a little time today exploring that question.

In my observation, there are two sorts of folks who become professional organizers:

  • Those who do it because organizing comes so naturally to them. Being organized is like breathing. It’s their passion. So why not make a living doing it?
  • Those who enter the field because of their own struggles in getting and staying organized. They’ve spent a lifetime seeking solutions for themselves and want to share those solutions with others.

I fall into that second camp. As I’ve mentioned over and over, I’m a naturally messy person. I’m pretty organized in my space and I’m definitely organized inside my head, but I’m a bit messy and unruly. I sought solutions for my time management and clutter issues throughout my life and I learned a lot. I felt it was time to start sharing.

When I first contemplated starting my business, I was a freelance writer. I’d been writing about pets for ten years and had written hundreds of articles on various aspects of pet care. I’d had seven books published (a couple of which are no longer available) and contributed to several others. I was working on my last book, an ill-fated venture called Jane Goodall’s Return to Gombe co-written with the famed primatologist. The process of that book about killed me (and was never published) and I knew that in order to get through writing that manuscript I had to know it was going to be my last book. So I started looking for other things to do.

As I considered becoming a PO, I thought of several very important things that being a professional organizer would offer that being a freelance writer was not delivering:

  • The ability to help people directly and tangibly
  • Respect for my expertise (I was being very disrespected during the whole Goodall book experience)
  • Payment at the time of service

That was very appealing and a big part of why I became a PO. But why do I keep doing it, now that I’m in my eighth year of business?

Those initial three reasons did prove to be powerful. In addition, here are some other things I’ve found to so rewarding:

  • I get to help people transform their lives.
  • I help people feel better about themselves as I normalize (and empathize with) their messy behaviors.
  • I can help my clients go from striving (and failing) to be perfectly organized to reveling in being organized enough.
  • I get to effect vast, fast change by bringing in a team of organizers to help my clients.

Being a professional organizer is life-changing work for me. And its results can be life changing for my clients. It is easily the most rewarding work I’ve done in a career that’s spanned almost three decades. And as long as it continues to be this rewarding, I’ll keep doing it.

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Hi Janine,

Like you, I also fall under the second category. I like to believe that I can be under the first category, but my OCD inside my head doesn’t usually reflect on the outside. I am organized, yes, but only under certain circumstances. I would like to take up your advice on being a professional organizer myself to learn how it is to be organized. I hope I will have the same fate as you.

I will bear this in mind to at least start my journey to being more organized. Thank you so much for this post!

Office Mall | Office Supplies Online Store 12/03/2015 01:48 AM

Thank you for your generousity. I really appreciate you taking the time to help others explore possibilities.

NANCY WOLSKE 03/22/2017 01:13 PM

I’m glad you found this helpful, Nancy!

Janine Adams 03/27/2017 01:39 PM

How interesting that you found yourself organizing when you don’t feel like you’re a natural at it! It really hadn’t occurred to me that people who aren’t natural organizers would enjoy helping others organize. I’m curious, do you enjoy the actual organizing at this point, or is it more the sharing and helping others that keeps you going and organizational techniques are just a good catalyst for that?

Shona 10/23/2017 12:58 PM

Shona, I do enjoy the actual organizing of certain areas of the home. I have team members who will do the organizing of areas I’m not as good at (like toy rooms and tool benches). I definitely also enjoy the sharing and helping others!

Janine Adams 10/23/2017 01:46 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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