Getting Started

Now that you've chosen a pro (yay!), it's time to get down to business. Follow these tips to keep the process smooth:

• Get over the mess. Before the hard work begins, the organizer likely will schedule a consultation in order to get an overview of the task. And just like the frantic urge to clean before the housekeeper arrives, it's tempting to embark on a sorting spree as you imagine him recoiling at your tornado of a house. Resist. He needs to assess your clutter in its normal state in order to lay out the best plan of action. Trust us: He's seen worse.

• Prepare to put in some effort after hours. Many organizers give clients "homework" — small jobs that allow you to road-test techniques and practice processes. This is also an excellent chance to pinpoint things that you think might not work well for you and ask for alternatives.

• Invest in the tools that your organizer suggests. If she provides a list of recommended products, such as bins, files or shelving, don't skimp. Spending the money now will pay off down the road.

• Commit to personal change. A well-organized room isn't going to stay that way on its own. Your pro will coach you on improving your skills, figuring out new approaches and devising ways to circumvent bad habits.

Following Through

Congratulations: The toughest part is done, and it's time to sit back and marvel at your newly flotsam-free space. But before you get too comfy, keep in mind these guidelines to ensure that it stays that way:

• Give yourself time to get used to the new process. It may not feel natural at first, and that's okay. Just stick with it until it becomes routine. If weeks go by and you're still struggling, call the organizer to troubleshoot.

• Don't beat yourself up for slipping back into old habits. It's inevitable: Sooner or later, your carefully orchestrated system is going to miss a few beats. Mail will pile up on the hall table. Hats and scarves will blanket the mudroom floor. It's okay. Take a deep breath, then take stock. Does the problem simply lie in a lack of discipline, or has it been an unusually busy month? Or is the scheme not working as well for you as you'd hoped? If necessary, the pro can help you fine-tune the process. And some are even happy to schedule regular "checkup" calls or visits in order to keep your home at its well-organized peak.

​article by:  
Lisa Frederick February 13, 2012
Houzz Contributor.