How To Become a Professional Organizer

Every week, I respond to a fun assortment of career-related inquiries from people all over the world. They want to know if becoming a professional organizer is the right career path for them. Questions range from the basic “How much money can I make?” and “What do you pack in your take-along bag?” to the more complex “How long does it take to organize a kitchen?” and “How do you stay safe in a stranger’s home?”

While I am happy to answer basic inquiries, I usually recommend that these folks start by reading my book, Born to Organize. It will answer nearly all of a career explorer’s business start-up questions. Then, if someone wants to go more in-depth, I offer in-person, phone, and email coaching. I love chatting with prospective professional organizers and sharing everything I’ve learned!

But, of course, you may have some questions that you want to be answered right now. So, here are a few of the most frequently asked questions and my answers. I hope they point you in the right direction.

How to become a professional organizer
  1. Complete training and education. Not all professional organizers have certifications or any training. …
  2. Earn a CPO certification. …
  3. Gain clientele. …
  4. Skills you’ll need for the job.

5 Steps to Become a Professional Organizer | Checklist for New Organizers

What does a professional organizer do?

While the duties of a professional organizer differ with every client, there are some standard responsibilities you can expect from working in the field. Some of these responsibilities might include:

Sometimes, organizing personal space can mean moving, donating or recycling items that hold emotional significance. A trained organizer should have the skills to comfort their client and help them navigate the offloading process. Sentimental items can be difficult to part with, so you need empathy to understand their position and come to a compromise. This often involves working closely with the client to figure out whats best for them and formulating an action plan to help them reach their goals.

Even businesses sometimes need help organizing their spaces and may hire a professional organizer to create a more harmonious work environment. In a business capacity, an organizer can act as a consultant or actively participate in the organization process.

What is a professional organizer?

A professional organizer is a person who has gained significant skills in organization and applies that knowledge to helping others become more organized. A professional organizer helps their clients create a more efficient and effective approach to organization and downsizing. The organizer analyzes the organizational needs of the client, including the number of items, how much needs to go and where they can make more space. This can be in the clients home or accomplished by using a storage unit. Many organizers act as independent consultants or contractors, but some find work in a professional capacity working for one or more businesses.

How to become a professional organizer

Follow these steps to start a career as a professional organizer:

1. Complete training and education

Not all professional organizers have certifications or any training. Some of them are simply people who have a talent for organizing and want to lend their skills to help others. However, the minimum requirement is usually a high school diploma. That being said, there are other routes you can take to earn a professional certification and legitimize those skills.

2. Earn a CPO certification

To get a certification, you typically need a school diploma or equivalent. NAPO requires prospective organizers to submit proof of at least 1,500 hours of paid work in the last five years as an organizer in a professional capacity. A professional organizer must also adhere to a strict code of ethics and pass a written exam, which consists of 125 multiple-choice questions.

Individual members are expected to pay an annual membership fee to NAPO, which is around $275. Remember that this is optional, but is also something that may help with future prospects.

3. Gain clientele

Once youve completed your training and earned a CPO certification, you can offer your skills to new clients. Maybe you have a family member or friend whos in dire need of organization. You can start by establishing a name for yourself with free consultations. This is a good way to connect with new clients and show them what skills youre offering.

Skills youll need for the job

Prospective organizers will want to bring a set of basic skills to the industry, which include:

Job growth and salary prospects

As the countless shopping opportunities grow and online shopping continues to rise, the need for professional organizers has grown. Many organizers enter the field as independent contractors or consultants, which means limited access to benefits packages, but with greater flexibility and room for expansion. Many of the countrys top professional organizers have created an entire brand from their organizational skills.

Benefits of pursuing a career as a professional organizer

Becoming a professional organizer offers many benefits, including:

Many organizers choose the field to put their unique organizational skills to use helping others.

FAQ

How long does it take to become a professional organizer?

To get a certification, you typically need a school diploma or equivalent. NAPO requires prospective organizers to submit proof of at least 1,500 hours of paid work in the last five years as an organizer in a professional capacity.

What training do you need to be a professional organizer?

To become a professional organizer, you don’t need any special certification or specific training. Of course, there are helpful teleclasses, webinars, websites, and books that you’ll want to explore.

How much money can you make as a professional organizer?

Average Salary for a Professional Organizer

Professional Organizers in America make an average salary of $76,337 per year or $37 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $143,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $40,000 per year.

How much does a professional organizer charge per hour?

Expect to pay between $80 and $140 an hour, though some organizers offer packages, such as a closet clean-out for $250 or a garage sorting for $350. If you’re already relatively organized, a small kitchen tidying session might run you $200; a full-house effort for a downsizing senior might cost more than $1,000.

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