Spruced Up Spaces Ann Arbor


What is a Professional Organizer?

A Professional Organizer is an independent consultant who works with clients to help them achieve order in various aspects of their lives or operations. Professional Organizers assess their clients’ needs, recommend solutions, assist with implementation, and educate their clients along the way.

How can you help me?

If you’re tired of living or working in a cluttered environment, feeling burdened or overwhelmed by your stuff, or if you want to take control of your time and to-do’s, I can help. I’ll step into your situation as a neutral party and lend a fresh, objective perspective. I’ll offer ideas and recommendations to help solve your organizing challenges. I’ll also teach you principles and skills that will help you maintain organization over the long term. And very importantly, I’ll bring energy and enthusiasm to our work that will make it feel less like a chore and more like fun! If you’re interested, you can read a more detailed description of how I can help you.

Do you work with hoarders?

Hoarding is a diagnosed mental health disorder that requires the help of professionals who have been specially trained. I have not chosen to pursue this training. I can, however, refer you to other organizers who specialize in helping individuals with hoarding disorder; feel free to get in touch. You might find the “Hoarding Information & Support” links on my Resource page helpful, and you may also wish to visit the American Psychiatric Association website for more information.

I’ve tried to get organized before. Why will this be different?

First, I work really hard to understand you – how you think, learn, and process information. Using that information, I will focus on helping you to design systems and solutions that are tailored for you and realistic for you to maintain over the long term. Second, I use a unique and effective approach to organizing based on the framework of spaces. Third, I will transfer skills to you through hands-on teaching, which improves your organizing literacy and equips you with the tools necessary to stay organized. Finally, I’ve got your back. Think of it this way: if we make up an athletic team, you’re the athlete and I’m both the coach and cheerleader. I’m there to help you develop strategy, to offer technical guidance, to provide inspiration, and to root you on to the finish line.

Will I have to get rid of my things?

It’s up to you. I often find that clients often have more stuff than will reasonably fit into their space. And despite well-intentioned efforts to organize, a volume of stuff like this usually results in long-term clutter. To help you avoid that outcome, I will encourage you to consider getting rid of some things and I will gently guide you through a decision making process toward that end. I understand that your belongings are special to you for sentimental, intrinsic, and practical reasons and that parting with certain items is just not possible. Rest assured, however, that I will never force you to get rid of something; you will be the only one with the authority to decide what ultimately stays or goes.

Will I have to buy a lot of new things?

Generally, no. I find that many people already have great resources in their homes and offices. More often than not, we can creatively re-purpose your existing things in order to achieve your goals. This helps to keeps costs down for you, and it can feel great knowing you’re exemplifying the “reduce-reuse-recycle” ethic. In some cases, however, new items are needed. In these instances I can provide you with recommendations about where to find the items at good prices. I can also assist you with the shopping if you wish.

How much time is it going to take?

The length of a project depends on the scope of the job, how quickly you are able to make disposition decisions about your possessions, the level of quality that you desire in the outcomes, and whether or not you are able to work independently from me and complete “homework assignments” in between our sessions. At the end of our initial meeting, I will be able to give you an estimate of how long the project will take.

How much is it going to cost?

My rates are outlined for your review. Please keep in mind that cost correlates to time, so the more homework you can do between sessions without me, the more you can keep costs down. If you have a fixed budget for your organizing project, I will be happy to come up with a scope of work that I think is achievable in a corresponding number of hours.

Should I tidy up before you come over?

No, please don’t. You may experience the urge to clean up a bit before an organizer comes into your home but I ask that you try and resist. If you tidy up first, I won’t get a full and realistic understanding of your situation. I am better able to assess your needs and recommend effective solutions if I see your space in its natural state.

I’m embarassed. Can we keep this quiet?

Yes. Client confidentiality is a priority. I understand that you might not want other people to know you’re working with an organizer. I will never share your name or other identifying information about you with anyone.

Why don’t you have before-and-after pictures?

I adore photos and photography. They can tell wonderful stories. But, as they relate to organizing, I find that before-and-after pictures generally fail to capture the magnitude and sensation of the change that occurs during the course of an organizing project. Put another way, the end result isn’t about what the space looks like (although I don’t discount the important of aesthetics), it’s about how the space functions for the client. As the expression goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but in this case I believe that a thousand words do more justice to my job, which is why I offer the words of my clients as the narrative for my work.

Do you offer gift certificates?

Yes. However, please be mindful of the fact that receiving a gift certificate for the services of a Professional Organizer might strike some people as an insult. In an effort to avoid hurt or awkward feelings, you might gently ask your intended recipient if they’ve ever considered working with an organizer. Their response will let you know whether or not to proceed with the idea. You can call or email me to arrange for a certificate.

What do you like about your job?

So many things! Here’s a partial list. Helping people overcome obstacles. Learning from my clients ~ they are an amazing bunch of people! Sharing the fun and phenomenon of organization with others. Watching people get jazzed and gain confidence as they learn to organize. Standing and looking at a freshly organized space, and knowing how far we’ve come. Utilizing my native skills to earn a decent living. Being my own boss. Being part of the local economy and small business community.

What are your qualifications?

I am a Certified Professional Organizer (CPO®). This credential recognizes professional organizers who have met specific minimum standards and proven through examination and client interaction that they possess the body of knowledge and experience required for certification. The CPO® program recognizes and raises industry standards, practices, and ethics.

I am a member of the following organizations, I participate in their classes and training opportunities, and I am bound by their Codes of Ethics: Institute for Challenging Disorganization (ICD); National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), National Association of Professional Organizers Southeast Michigan Chapter (NAPO-MI).

I currently serve as Director of Communications and Technology for NAPO Southeast Michigan, a position I also held in 2014-2015.

I currently volunteer as a Teleclass Handout Editor for ICD.

I am currently enrolled in a coach training program and working toward becoming a Certified Organizer Coach®. I believe that integrating coaching into my work will allow me to help clients to realize even greater outcomes.

Do you have references?

Yes. I’m happy to put you in touch with clients who have agreed to be references, and I’ll do my best to connect you with people who had projects similar to yours. Please get in touch.

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