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How to Become a Professional Organizer

Three Methods:Prepare to be a Professional OrganizerGain Skills and TrainingSucceed as a Professional Organizer

If you're a brilliant organizer, you love working with people, and you have an entrepreneurial spirit, a career as a professional organizer might be the right one for you. Professional organizers help their clients create personalized systems to bring order to their rooms and office spaces, their paper and electronic files, and their approach to planning and executing goals. Read about how to prepare for a career as a professional organizer, receive the necessary skills and training, and achieve success in this quickly-growing field.

Method 1
Prepare to be a Professional Organizer

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    Be a problem solver. Professional organizers are hired by clients to tackle organization problems that require an outside perspective to solve. Some projects, such as de-cluttering a home office or facilitating a family's move to a new home, have a definite end date, while others, such as working with a business to implement a new filing system, may require ongoing attention. As you prepare to become a professional organizer, think about what type of organizing you are best at, and consider the following services you might offer your clients:
    • Spatial organization. Some professional organizers excel at making clients' homes more livable. They are able to look at a room and intuit the best way to maximize space and increase its functionality.
    • Systems organization. Professional organizers often help clients see a new system to organize their finances or files. In a business setting, the organizer's goal is to help the company increase productivity and profits by becoming better organized.
    • Planning and goals organization. Professional organizers are adept at seeing the big picture when their clients cannot. They teach people new ways to organize their life planning and meet life goals, whatever they may be.
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    Love working with people. Professional organizers are exceptionally organized, yes, but just as importantly, they love working with people. Professional organizers are called upon when their clients need help. The ability to listen carefully to people's concerns and be truly invested in helping them solve problems is essential. Part of professional organizers' job satisfaction is seeing that their work has tangibly improved their clients' lives.
    • Teaching, or coaching, is often central to a professional organizer's work. Professional organizers may reorganize a person's home, but they are also responsible for teaching that person how to stay organized.
    • Treating clients with respect and helping them feel heard is one of the best ways to get new client referrals; being personable and leaving a lasting good impression is an important part of professional organizing.
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    Think like an entrepreneur. Some professional organizers work for professional organizing companies, but most work independently, building their business through networking and client referrals. They often find their niche in the field by specializing in a certain type of organization, such as working exclusively on estate organization or reorganizing office spaces for businesses. Like other small business owners, they are adept at marketing themselves and staying on the cutting edge of their field by attending conferences and trainings.

Method 2
Gain Skills and Training

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    Join a professional association of organizers. Joining a professional association, such as the National Organization of Professional Organizers or the Institute for Challenging Disorganization, is a great way to learn more about the profession and start the important process of meeting people and networking.
    • Join the organizations' listservs for access to the knowledge of thousands of other professional organizers.
    • Ask a lot of questions, attend gatherings and conferences, and be as active as you can within the association. Making a name for yourself there will give you credibility as you move forward with your career.
    • As you get to know professional organizers, ask if you can assist with a project. This is a good way to prove yourself and learn more about professional organizing.
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    Get educated. Professional organizing associations offer in-person classes ranging from Intro to Professional Organizing to Transference of Organizational Skills to guide you forward in the beginning of your career.
    • Some associations offer teleclasses or webinars, which are conducted online. These are generally less expensive than in-person classes.
    • Keep in mind that the classes offered by organizing associations don't necessarily result in a degree; rather, they are designed to educate and build confidence.
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    Consider a training program. Some companies offer training programs, with classes building toward a certification issued by that company. Some specialize in business organization, and others in personal organization.
    • Be sure to conduct a lot of research before signing up for a training program. These programs can be expensive, and won't necessarily lead to more clients or a better career. It's important to make sure the training program you choose is recognized as a reputable program by other professional organizers.

Method 3
Succeed as a Professional Organizer

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    Start organizing. Once you've taken a few courses and feel confident you'll be an effective organizer for potential clients, dive in and take on a few jobs. Build rapport with your clients and let them know you're available to help their friends, too. Remember that fostering positive relationships is the key to a successful professional organizing business.
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    Market yourself. When you have a few successful jobs under your belt, it's time to officially spread the word about your new business.
    • Create a website. These days, having a website is one of the best ways to attract clients. Use concise web copy, professional photos, and tasteful testimonials to showcase your work. Make sure your contact information is clearly visible.
    • Use social media. Create a Facebook page and a Twitter account for your business. Update with musings on professional organizing trends and pictures from conferences you attend to show that you're at the top of your field.
    • Print business cards. Make sure to carry your business cards to conferences and trainings, and it doesn't hurt to have them handy for impromptu daily business conversations, either.
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    Get certified. After you've been in the business for a few years and are certain you want to make professional organizing your career, consider getting certified by the Board of Certified Professional Organizers (BCPO), which is recognized as the industry standard. This certification is not necessary to have a successful career in professional organizing but it could lend more credibility to your business. To receive certification, you must meet the following qualifications:
    • Have a minimum of a high school diploma or an equivalent level of education.
    • Have 1,500 hours of documented paid work as a professional organizer, 250 hours of which can be substituted with hours spent earning a college degree or other educational training.
    • Agree to adhere to the Code of Ethics for Certified Professional Organizers.
    • Pass the BCPO certification exam.


  • Professional organizing can be a very flexible career. Many start organizing as a part-time or side business.
  • If you're just starting out and need to get your business on its feet, consider doing a few organizing projects for friends for free. Ask them to spread the word about what an excellent job you did.

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Categories: Administrative Careers