How to Become a Professional Organizer

Organization is having a moment in mainstream media right now. Organizing Consultant Marie Kondo showed us just how satisfying organization can be through her social media channels and subsequent TV show in 2019. For many people, this sparked a new-found love of organization. But Marie isn’t the only one flying the flag for professional organization. A number of social media influencers and pages are dedicated solely to giving organizational tips and ideas and their engagement stats are truly impressive.

That’s not to say, however, that professional organization is by any means a new concept. On the contrary, professional organization has been a legitimate and respectable career for many people for years, but if you find yourself particularly interested in this line of work, now might be a great time to embark on your new career path and monetize your passion for organizing.

But how exactly do you become a professional organizer? Listed below you will find information about how to become certified, where to find training and classes, the equipment you might need to invest in, as well as tips for establishing a successful business in the professional organization field.

What Is a Professional Organizer?

A Professional Organizer is hired to recalibrate and bring order into various aspects of the client’s life. As a Professional Organizer, you might specialize in organizing closets or pantries; corporate organization for office or desk spaces; organizing paperwork, collector’s items, garage spaces, or entire homes.

Essentially, a Professional Organizer is an individual who is qualified to provide organizational services such as labeling, ordering, tidying, sorting, displaying and generally making the space more manageable, accessible and useable for the client.

Some Professional Organizers will work alongside the client, offering training and advice on how they can maintain an organized space. This kind of mentoring might come with an additional fee or it might be included as part of the service. Others will simply get on with the job at hand independently. The kind of service you provide as a professional organizer is likely to depend on you and your work preferences, the kind of jobs you undertake, and the specific needs of the client.

Is It Really Possible To Earn Money by Organizing?

It is absolutely possible to earn a respectable wage as a professional organizer. In fact, PayScale reports the average annual income for a Professional Organizer is more than $44,000.

The service is in high demand and many people are looking to have their spaces organized by professionals and maybe pick up some tips for themselves throughout the process. This is especially true in the current climate, where more and more people find themselves working from home and spending more time than ever in one space. Things can quickly become cluttered and disorganized; that’s where the professional organizer comes in.

It’s also worth noting that if you were to offer mentoring services to clients with tips and advice on how to organize a space, this can easily be done remotely via video call, so the work can be pretty flexible.

Cover
How to Start a Home-based Professional Organizing Business (Home-Based Business Series)
Born to Organize: Everything You Need to Know About a Career As a Professional Organizer
Cluttered Mess to Organized Success Workbook: Declutter and Organize your Home and Life with over 100 Checklists and Worksheets (Plus Free Full Downloads) (Home Decorating Journal) (Clutterbug)
Mastering the Business of Organizing: A Guide to Plan, Launch, Manage, Grow, and Leverage a Profitable, Professional Organizing Business, 2nd ed., revised
Title
How to Start a Home-based Professional Organizing Business (Home-Based Business Series)
Born to Organize: Everything You Need to Know About a Career As a Professional Organizer
Cluttered Mess to Organized Success Workbook: Declutter and Organize your Home and Life with over 100 Checklists and Worksheets (Plus Free Full Downloads) (Home Decorating Journal) (Clutterbug)
Mastering the Business of Organizing: A Guide to Plan, Launch, Manage, Grow, and Leverage a Profitable, Professional Organizing Business, 2nd ed., revised
Paperback
Kindle
Cover
How to Start a Home-based Professional Organizing Business (Home-Based Business Series)
Title
How to Start a Home-based Professional Organizing Business (Home-Based Business Series)
Paperback
Kindle
Get it at Amazon
Cover
Born to Organize: Everything You Need to Know About a Career As a Professional Organizer
Title
Born to Organize: Everything You Need to Know About a Career As a Professional Organizer
Paperback
Kindle
Get it at Amazon
Cover
Cluttered Mess to Organized Success Workbook: Declutter and Organize your Home and Life with over 100 Checklists and Worksheets (Plus Free Full Downloads) (Home Decorating Journal) (Clutterbug)
Title
Cluttered Mess to Organized Success Workbook: Declutter and Organize your Home and Life with over 100 Checklists and Worksheets (Plus Free Full Downloads) (Home Decorating Journal) (Clutterbug)
Paperback
Kindle
Get it at Amazon
Cover
Mastering the Business of Organizing: A Guide to Plan, Launch, Manage, Grow, and Leverage a Profitable, Professional Organizing Business, 2nd ed., revised
Title
Mastering the Business of Organizing: A Guide to Plan, Launch, Manage, Grow, and Leverage a Profitable, Professional Organizing Business, 2nd ed., revised
Paperback
Kindle
Get it at Amazon

It’s thought that some professional organizers who are currently at the top of their game and are providing the highest quality services to clients are earning well above $100 per hour, although if you’re just starting out as a recently certified freelance organizer, you’re likely to be looking at around $35 per hour (these numbers are based on completing certification, which will increase your earning potential). Again, this depends on the services you can provide and your level of training.

If you do choose to go freelance, the amount you can earn really depends on you and the time and resources you are able to put into your training and work. This kind of job can be pretty flexible, in that it’s totally up to you whether it will be a full or part-time endeavor.

Where To Start?

So now that you have established that you have a passion for organization and wish to pursue a career in this field, it’s time to think about how you’re going to get started. There are a few different routes you could go down, including various different training and professional development programs. It’s important to do plenty of research to find a path that suits you and will enable you to fulfill your career goals.

Let’s look at the basic necessities required of a successful professional organizer, and the potential routes you could follow to become a professional organizer:

Basic Skills and Requirements:

A Passion For Organization

Maybe this one goes without saying, but first and foremost, you’re going to need to be extremely passionate about organization and take great pride in your work.

As a freelancer, you are likely to undertake jobs that challenge you and possibly force you out of your comfort zone. While it’s incredibly important to set boundaries and only take on jobs that you are comfortable with, you might also have to overcome some difficult situations within your work.

For the right person, this job can be extremely rewarding and satisfying while also enabling them to earn a highly respectable income and improve the lives of their clients.

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A People Person

This kind of work will almost certainly require you to work alongside the client or at least confer and liaise with them at some point throughout the process. When entering someone’s personal space and handling their own belongings it’s incredibly important to be sensitive, empathic, and respectful. You will need excellent communication skills and the ability to understand the needs of the client.

Equipment

In terms of equipment, what you need will vary greatly depending on the type of work you do and the services that you offer. Most organizational jobs will require you to use a label maker of some description, so it could be worth investing in one of these.

Photo
DYMO LetraTag LT-100H Handheld Label Maker for Office or Home (1749027), Colors May Vary
Brother P-Touch, PTD210, Easy-to-Use Label Maker, One-Touch Keys, Multiple Font Styles, 27 User-Friendly Templates, White
Brady BMP21-PLUS Handheld Label Printer with Rubber Bumpers, Multi-Line Print, 6 to 40 Point Font
Name
DYMO LetraTag LT-100H Handheld Label Maker for Office or Home
Brother P-touch, PTD210, Easy-to-Use Label Maker
Brady BMP21-PLUS Handheld Label Printer with Rubber Bumpers,
Current Price
$15.95
$34.99
$91.35
Photo
DYMO LetraTag LT-100H Handheld Label Maker for Office or Home (1749027), Colors May Vary
Name
DYMO LetraTag LT-100H Handheld Label Maker for Office or Home
Current Price
$15.95
Get it at Amazon
Photo
Brother P-Touch, PTD210, Easy-to-Use Label Maker, One-Touch Keys, Multiple Font Styles, 27 User-Friendly Templates, White
Name
Brother P-touch, PTD210, Easy-to-Use Label Maker
Current Price
$34.99
Get it at Amazon
Photo
Brady BMP21-PLUS Handheld Label Printer with Rubber Bumpers, Multi-Line Print, 6 to 40 Point Font
Name
Brady BMP21-PLUS Handheld Label Printer with Rubber Bumpers,
Current Price
$91.35
Get it at Amazon

If you are going to be organizing paperwork or office spaces, you’re likely to need some filing tools, whereas if you’re organizing a closet space you might need clothes hangers and drawer inserts. Most professional organizers will provide all of the necessary equipment, rather than expecting the client to do so. The cost of such equipment is generally factored into the overall price of the service, although you might choose to add it on as an additional charge.

This doesn’t fall under the category of physical equipment, but going into any job you will need to be adequately insured in case of any damage, loss, or other unforeseen circumstances that might leave you liable for any additional costs.

For more money-making ideas, please see:

Professional Accreditation and Training Options:

Official Certification

This is not necessarily essential. It is absolutely possible to offer organizational services without formal qualifications. However, having some form of certification gives your clients the peace-of-mind that they’re working with a true professional and that the services you provide are likely to be high-quality.

As well as this, professional certification will generally require you to undergo some form of training or testing, which gives you the opportunity to develop your skills and knowledge in this area. This will give you a definite edge over any organizers without certification or training and will help you provide the best service possible.

Become a Member of a Professional Body or Association

Again, this isn’t a fundamental requirement for becoming a professional organizer, but it will definitely help. There are a number of associations you could join, the most notable being the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO). By joining an association such as NAPO, you are likely to gain access to further training resources, conferences, and networking opportunities.

This is an investment and you will need to pay a membership fee for most professional associations, but it is an investment that will hopefully reap many rewards for your business and give you some much-needed credibility – vital when just starting out with a new business venture or career path.

Take Part In Classes or an Official Training Program

The Institute for Challenging Disorganization is a professional association offering a number of virtual classes to members. The classes cover a huge range of specialized topics and are accessible to all members. Many other associations offer similar programs, including NAPO, The National Association of Senior Move Managers, and the Association of Personal Photo Organizers.

A number of colleges and universities also offer online courses that culminate in you receiving an official organization qualification. One example is IAP Career College and their Professional Organization Certification Course. This is a part-time course which spans six weeks in total. It does come with a fee but covers various topics and after completing the course you will be a fully qualified professional organizer. 

Getting Started As a Professional Organizer

Carry Out Some Market Research

When starting out as a professional organizer, the best way of understanding the kinds of services that are in-demand within your area and in this sector in general, is by carrying out some basic market research.

To do this, you’ll want to identify other professionals offering organizational services within your locality and take a look at the specific services they offer, their pricing, and any customer testimonials or evidence of their work.

This doesn’t mean that you need to copy their business plan or model your business off of someone else’s purely because they appear to be successful. On the contrary, you want to use this research to develop your own new ideas and develop a business that is unique and tailored to your target client-base.

Social media is a great tool for seeing what’s out there and finding out what type of content and services audiences are engaging with. Take a look at some of the top organization pages to gain an understanding of up-to-date trends and services you could provide.

Doing some initial research is also likely to give you a clearer idea of the type of organization that interests you the most and fits in with your skill-set or area of expertise. It may be tempting at first to offer all kinds of organization to all kinds of clients, but by narrowing down your target market it becomes much easier to refine your skills, build a solid reputation within your chosen area, and get lots of enjoyment and satisfaction from your work.

Market Yourself and Your Business

Now that you have established what kind of organizational service you wish to provide to clients, and you are fully trained or certified, it’s time to get to work.

As with any freelance work, you will need to be strategic and dedicated when it comes to the marketing of your business. This might be a particularly competitive field in your local area, so you’ll need to find ways of standing out from the crowd in order to build your own client base. Alternatively, there may be very few professional organizers located nearby, so you’ll need to inform potential clients of the services you are able to offer and why these could be so beneficial to them.

Again, social media is a great tool for marketing and advertising your business. Setting up social media pages and advertising on local groups or pages is a great way of engaging with the local community while building awareness of your business.

Client testimonials and word of mouth are also likely to be invaluable when it comes to growing your business and gaining more work. Perhaps consider offering some discounted services to start off with in exchange for online reviews or referrals.

It’s likely that you have invested both time and money in your training and qualifications, and now is the time to invest your efforts in the building of your business and your work in general.

Conclusion

There are lots of things to consider when you’re looking to become a professional organizer. It’s certainly not as simple as purchasing a label maker and heading off into the world of work. To establish a successful business and client base, you’ll need to refine your craft and establish the qualities that make you stand out from the crowd.

By investing in some initial training and professional certification, and carrying out adequate research, there is no reason that you can’t capitalize on your passion and earn a highly respectable income offering organizational services. All while helping your clients to create a more manageable and organized lifestyle.

How Long Does It Take To Become a Professional Organizer?

It’s possible to get started right away on a freelance basis. There are several different courses and certifications that you could pursue, which might require anywhere from a few weeks to a few years depending on which one you choose.

How Much Does a Professional Organizer Make Per Hour?

According to PayScale, the average hourly rate for a Professional Organizer is $25.81. If you have a certification, you may be able to exceed the average hourly rate.

Are Professional Organizers In Demand?

Yes, there is a strong demand for clients who are looking for help with organizing their home or office.