Frequently Asked Questions About Working With Mary and Her Team
Feeling anxious? See if these are some of your concerns.
I feel guilty getting help. Shouldn’t I be able to do this myself?
You are not alone if you are struggling. That is why there are over 4,000 Professional Organizers and a National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization. Many of my clients can organize and have been organized before, but life has thrown them some curve balls, and they are “drowning in stuff.” Calling me gets them quickly back on track.
For some of you this has been a long-time struggle, and organizing is not one of your strengths. Don’t beat yourself up. You can do many things I can’t. As in other areas of life, you may decide it’s time to call for help, learn organizing solutions, and be ready to move on with your life and free up the time and pleasures the lack of organization is costing you.
I can understand how someone can have several bookshelves of organizing books and still not be organized. I have all the gardening books, but to make things look right I need hands-on assistance. Somehow I can’t translate a gardening book into reality, so I can understand how organizing doesn’t flow for others even if they own many organizing books.
What will people think about my needing organizing help?
My work is completely confidential! If you want to tell others about working with me, great; they will probably envy you. BUT I will not discuss my work with you with ANYONE. Of course, any personal items will NEVER be disclosed! I have worked with lawyers, doctors, and CEOs of companies and my personal ethic is to keep client information totally confidential.
It would embarrass me to have Mary see my home/office. How can I get over that fear of being so embarrassed?
Remember, this is what I do every day. I, more than anyone else, know not to judge people by their quantity of “stuff.” I probably have seen it all, and yet I enjoy each one of my clients. When clients are embarrassed by rolling dust bunnies, I tell them, “Dust is good; it means we’re working on areas that haven’t been touched in a long time.”
Where are you located, and do you travel?
I am located outside Morristown, Tennessee. I consider my local area to be from Knoxville to the Tri-Cities area, and to Asheville, North Carolina. I frequently work in the Amelia Island and Jacksonville, Florida, areas, which gives me the opportunity to go back where I was raised. Yes, I will travel to accommodate my clients’ needs and I do work with clients virtually.
What if I’m not comfortable with someone in my home or office? Is Virtual Organizing an option?
Virtual Organizing can be used to accompany on-site organizing or as an alternative strategy. By telephone, email, photographs or video conferencing, I can work with you to accomplish your organizing goals either in your home or for your business. The client, or their helper, provides the physical work while I offer direction. As organizing solutions are developed, my goal is to teach clients organizing skills that they can continue to use on other projects.
Questions About Hiring a Professional Organizer
Who hires a professional organizer?
Companies and individuals who are ready to move forward. Usually they have attempted to organize themselves and not been successful. Some have tried to work with family and friends, which frequently creates more stress. At this point progressive-thinking individuals call for help and are ready to get organized and more forward in their businesses and lives. I am certainly willing to talk with you to see if hiring a Professional Organizer is the right solution for your situation.
I have talked to several organizers; how do I know which one to hire?
There are several things to consider. First and foremost, do you feel that the organizer understands you and your situation? Next, do you feel comfortable with this person? Does the organizer have the training and experience to meet your needs?
What qualifications are there for Professional Organizers?
- Is he or she a member of the NAPO – National Association of Professional Organizers, and if so, for how long?
- Is he or she a member of the NSGCD – National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization?
- If so, has he or she done any certification?
- Does he or she attend NAPO and NSGCD National Annual Conferences to continue her education and see the latest products at the Organizing Expo? If so, for how many years has she done so?
- How long has he or she been in business?
- Does he or she have business insurance that covers her as a Professional Organizer?
How do I know if I am really ready to hire an organizer?
- In your own mind do you describe yourself as “overwhelmed,” saying you feel like you are “drowning in stuff”?
- Are you wasting valuable time looking for things?
- Do you not want people to come into your home or office because of all the stuff you have scattered around?
- Do you feel like the clutter is affecting your thinking? The benefits of becoming clutter-free is not just about your space; it will clear your mind.
- Do you have dreams and aspirations that you are not living out because you “need to conquer” your disorganization?
- Do you deny yourself pleasures to stay home and get the clutter under control weekend after weekend?
If you answered “Yes” to two of these questions, you are probably motivated to take control of your life by getting organized. If this situation has existed for awhile, yes, it would benefit you to hire a professional organizer. Call me at 423-581-9460 and let’s talk.
What happens on the day you come to work with me?
Will you as a professional organizer make me let go of items I care about?
No! I always want you to make the best decision for you. Being a sentimental person myself, I want you to keep items that truly have meaning. I will never pressure you to discard items.
What will we do on the first day when you come to work with me?
If you’re not sure where to start, part of my work when I arrive is to help you discern what area is a priority.
Then as you and I examine the project, I analyze what I call people’s “organizing personality,” so I can design a system for you individually. Thus, it will be easy for you to maintain.
One of the reasons people struggle with organizing is that they are trying to use systems that don’t match their organizing personality. If the system is individualized you are much more likely to maintain it over the years.
Next, you and I will sort through the items in the area, deciding what is important to keep and finding “happy homes” for the other items.
When I am working with you, I am always teaching my “CFO (Clear, Fast, Organizing) System” so you will have skills that make a permanent difference in your life.
When you and I finish working, the focus area will be organized.
How much will we get done?
This depends on two factors:
(1) The quantity of things in the area. Sometimes the first thing we do is find the carpet on the floor.
(2) The difficulty of decision-making. It is important that the client make all decisions, though I know the right questions to ask to make it easier.
What do I need to do to prepare for my first organizing session?
Remember I am not going to judge you by your stuff–yes, even if it is a whole room or house full. Just leave everything as it is, as that makes it easier for me understand your challenges and to design an organizing system that will work for you. What I do suggest is that you get a good night’s sleep and eat some breakfast. Have something ready for your lunch so lunch time won’t take long.
I understand how stressful it is for you to have me come the first time. Some clients have met me at the door in tears because they were so embarrassed, but within a few minutes they were smiling again, and we went on to have a successful day.
Do I need to buy any organizing supplies before you come?
No, purchasing is my last recommendation. If you are like many of my clients, you have bought different organizing tools over the past years. I will try to use what you have first. I also have a few inexpensive organizers with me if needed. If you have a particular need for a product, I can help you find it. One of the advantages of going to national organizing conferences for almost ten years is I have seen all the newest products.
Other Frequently Asked Questions
What if I have health issues?
Many of my clients have fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, or other issues that sap their energy. I will be your arms, legs, and energy when necessary.
Do you have a convenient way to pay?
Since there are several ways I can work with you—from hands-on to phone coaching or including you in my teleclass series—it is best if you and I talk to discuss which type of work best matches your needs and thus the cost. I do accept Visa and MasterCard, and payment is made the same day we work together.
What do you think of the TV organizing shows?
I am always glad to hear people talking about organizing and think the TV organizing shows help people to see there are a lot of individuals struggling with clutter. However, I am very uncomfortable with the image of organizers pulling items out of people’s hands, and I certainly don’t work that way with my clients. Through the use of questions I help my clients make intelligent choices on what to keep and what to let go, but the choices are always belong to my clients!
Take my short organizing quiz below. Jot down your answers on a piece of paper. (For a printable copy, CLICK HERE)
Three areas where lack of organizing causes you stress.
List five improvements getting organized would bring to your life.
If you were organized, what dreams and goals would you accomplish?
A Note from Mary:
Thanks for visiting our website. I’ve worked everywhere from large businesses to individuals’ home offices and have organized entire homes as well as a single closet. I look forward to working with you! Be sure you check out the Before-and–After Pictures.