There they are, those areas of your house that haunt you – the piles of paperwork, the closet bursting with clothes and shoes you forgot you had, the garage packed so full of stuff you can’t even fit the car in anymore. Every weekend you say you’re going to clean it out but Saturday and Sunday come and go and it just never gets done – or you take a crack at it and find you barely made a dent. Time to hire a professional organizer.
Why pay someone to come in and clean out your messes? "Professional organizers not only help with clutter, but they set up a system so you won't wind up back where you started. That’s the biggest benefit of working with one,” says pro organizer Nonnahs Driskill of Get Organized Already.
Nonnahs and her team help people in the Los Angeles area with a wide variety of needs. ”Some are interested in one-time help with a room or project that they can't seem to tackle on their own. Some clients want a few sessions to get things in order or to get expert advice on how to store or display things. They may also want our help setting up a system or two for moving forward in their busy lives,” says Nonnahs.
She says many of her clients are repeat customers because when it comes to organization, you’re never completely done. New things come into the house, and old things need to go. “It’s like getting in shape, you have to watch your intake or watch what you buy, and you have to declutter and purge constantly. If you don’t do that, you’re not going to stay skinny or stay organized. I like to think of us as a personal trainer for your stuff!”
One down side to hiring any professional, of course, is the cost. Most pro organizers charge anywhere from $50 to $150 an hour. “Professional organizers cost about as much as a plumber or the cable guy. It's just a lot more fun!” says Nonnahs. “We save people a lot of time by keeping them focused during the sessions, by lending a hand (or four) to move things along more quickly, and by bringing our experience to the table to rule out organizing techniques that will not work in the long run.”
And Nonnahs herself is pretty savvy when it comes to organizing her own home. We visited to find she runs a tight ship, keeping her family of four organized in an intimate, 100-year-old house with little storage space.
To make it work, she listens to her family and finds ways to accommodate their preferences so that they are more likely to pick up their own gear. She supports her daughter’s preference for hanging clothes on wall hooks instead of hangars and her husband’s preference for keeping shoes and hats in a soft shelf organizer.
Nonnahs say she always had a knack for organizing and started out helping friends for free until someone told her she could actually make a career of it. Now she is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) and takes regular training classes to keep her skills up to date and to learn how to work with different personality types.
She specializes in helping small business owners and anyone who works from home, offering assistance in streamlining their office spaces and managing paperwork. She also sometimes teams up with other experts to help with big families, the elderly and those who have just moved into a new space. “I love the team approach, it moves faster and you have the homeowner and two organizers deciding on the best place to put something, and you’re going to come up with the perfect solution.”
Nonnahs says her grandmother laughs at the thought of people hiring help now for things they did themselves back in the day, but Nonnahs justifies the need for bringing in a professional organizer in today’s world, “As lives gets busier and stuff is so cheap to acquire, there will always be a need for extra help handling it all.”
What are the trouble spots in your home that could use some professional help? Leave them in the comments below.