Do you get excited going to The Container Store, Crate & Barrel, and Bed Bath & Beyond? Do you constantly find yourself decluttering, organizing, and unpacking? Do you take pride in your personal organizing aesthetic? Are you looking to get a job that puts this to use? Chances are you are part of the rising trend of people turning personal organizing into a professional career.
So where should you start to get a professional organizer job? It’s a relatively new field so it takes some creativity to get started. My interest in organizing sparked about a year ago and these are the tips I used specifically to get my career off the ground. Here’s the 4 best tips to become a professional organizer:
1. Create a Portfolio
Getting a job as a professional organizer starts by showcasing your skills. You have to start somewhere, why not your own house/apartment? If you are interested in this career path, you probably have done some organizing on your own. It doesn’t have to be perfect right now, focus on organizing and tidying up your own areas with the intent of taking some example photos.
Some possible areas to include in your portfolio could be: closet, pantry, under your sink, in drawers. Make sure to take pictures before as well as after and document any organizational items you have purchased or used. I suggest starting with at least 10 photos. Here’s some beginner examples for inspiration:
Also, here are some polished Instagram portfolios and examples to give you additional inspiration:
2. Tell your story and create your brand
Telling your story is a major part of personalizing your business. Believe it or not, people care about your story. So expressing your passion for the profession or how you, “just fell into organizing” is an essential aspect to creating your brand.
My initial interest in professional organizing was sparked by my sister. She and her husband have very demanding jobs that prevent them from creating a organized household that is both functional and flowing. I offered to organize the guest room, but before I knew it I organized their entire house and garage. They kept coming back to me for tips and ideas, then later she recommended my help to her friends that came over and saw the progress. I had so much fun getting her house in order that it became my new hobby that I shared with my family and friends.
I share this story with new clients and those who are just getting started in professional organizing. My brand is essentially, “The sister who comes over and helps you organize.” Getting to know who you are on a personal level and understanding your “why” builds trust and rapport with clients. It also gives you a unique identity compared to the next organizer.
3. Promote your work and find clients
You can promote your work in many different places, but if you are just starting out I would suggest asking for personal referrals from friends, family, and acquaintances. Mention your new career and ask if they or anyone they know could use some help in this area.
Starting with your immediate circle (those you already have built trust with) will boost your portfolio, leading you to new potential clients. For example, my sister recommended my services to her coworker shortly after I had organized her house. Make a specific point to ask for referrals from your early clients, and be sure to reach out and follow up.
Social media should be your second source of clients. I would suggest the platforms worth focusing on are Instagram, Facebook, Yelp, and Nextdoor. Post your portfolio pictures, your story, and some testimonials from past clients on each of these outlets. Habitually posting organizing related material and before and after photos on these profiles will help attract potential clients from your extended network.
4. Get started with an organizing company
Because of our beloved Marie Kondo, there has been a burst of new organizing companies that can provide you with structure and clients to start out. Using the same social media platforms provided above, search for local organizing companies in your city. Do your research, find out what makes that company unique, and understand how they operate.
Create a cover letter to introduce yourself. Briefly describe your skills and interest in the company and a professional organizing position. Attach your portfolio along with your cover letter and resume, then wait for a response. Don’t be afraid to follow up. If you haven’t heard back from the company you’ve reached out to, send a friendly reminder that you are interested in joining their team.
Bonus: What should you charge?
Professional organizing companies typically charge $60-$100 per hour, with minimum hour commitments. These are for advanced organizers with years of experience, so If your just starting out on your own I would suggest $50 an hour as a baseline, depending on location and cost of living. Raise your rate as you gain experience and more clients. For example, after 6 months of organizing, move your rate up to $60 an hour. After a year, test your pricing at $70 an hour.
Setting your minimum hour commitment is an important part of time management. Including a 2-3 hour commitment will guarantee that your time traveled or worked is worth the time paid. Another recommendation is to offer packages of 3-4 hours for a slightly discounted price or set a minimum amount of hours for a consultation, i.e. minimum of 2 hours at $50 an hour, or a 4 hour package for $175.
Now that you know what it takes to start the journey in your new career of professional organizing, go for it! Best of luck!